Meridian, the award-winning private aviation company with locations at TEB and HWD, is proud to have exhibited at the first NBAA Regional Forum of 2017 at Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) on Thursday, January 26. The company sent representatives from Charter Sales, Customer Service, and Marketing to meet and greet visitors at its booth. The Meridian team was happy to see many familiar faces while also meeting new people in the industry, many who were exhibiting or attending for the first time.
According to Kirk Stephen, Marketing Director, the NBAA Regional in West Palm Beach is an important event in which to exhibit. “South Florida is a huge market for us, so it makes perfect sense for us to be here. In addition, we are continuing to create awareness of our new and recently opened FBO located at Hayward Executive Airport in Hayward, CA. Anyone flying a business jet into the San Francisco Bay area should know they now have another option, Meridian Hayward. We hope our presence at West Palm Beach reinforces our commitment to our customers, vendors, and friends in the region who have given us so much support.”
It was an event featuring strong participation, a robust lineup of products, dozens of airplanes, and local policymakers on hand to recognize the industry’s value. The forum set a record for the venue, with more than 2,400 attendees, a sold-out floor with 145 exhibitors and a static display featuring 28 aircraft and six ground vehicles.
“As evidenced by the significant turn-out of attendees and exhibitors, Palm Beach continues to be one of the most important markets for business aviation,” noted Mike Nichols, CAM, NBAA vice president, operational excellence and professional development. “The mood was positive, and a lot of business connections were made at this event.”
The timing and location for the forum were also important, given that the business aviation community learned last week of the Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs) now scheduled to take effect when President Donald Trump is at his Mar-a-Lago residence, located 2.1 nautical miles from PBI. NBAA added a special pop-up education session to discuss the changes operators could expect.
The forum also served as a kick-off of for NBAA’s 70th anniversary, and association President and CEO Ed Bolen said the milestone was a time to reflect on the past and look toward the future. In the past year, the industry has lost aviation leaders such as Arnold Palmer, Bob Hoover, Gene Cernan and John Glenn, reminds reminder “that a torch is being passed, and we have an opportunity to carry on their legacy by getting involved,” Bolen said.
The forum also played host to Jerry Allen, Palm Beach International Airport; Jeff Ramsden, South Florida Business Aviation Association and Shawn Rowan, Business Development Board of Palm Beach County. Additionally, Palm Beach County Mayor Paulette Burdick, who came by to lend her support to the industry. “As a county we are committed to the industry,” she said. “It’s an important part of our economy.”
And, as always, the forum provided an invaluable opportunity for companies to meet current customers and connect with new ones, as well as network with industry peers. “It’s very important for us to get face time with all of our clients,” said Ivette Pla, director, Jetex. “There are always new customers coming into the market, so this is a good way to tap into those clients.”
Meridian is planning to exhibit at the next NBAA Regional Forum, which is scheduled for Thursday, March 23 at Fort Worth Meacham Airport (FTW) in Texas.