Categories
Charter Operations Charter Sales General

Meridian Celebrates 30 Years of Jet Charter

The flight operations team of Meridian Air Charter poses with the original air carrier certificate to celebrate its 30th anniversary.

Meridian is proud to celebrate the 30th anniversary of its jet charter business. General Aviation Flying Service, as the charter company was originally known, was formed in 1983. In September 1989, it added its first jet, a Citation SII, to its fleet of piston aircraft. In 1986, General Aviation Flying Service became Million Air Charter Teterboro when its FBO joined the aviation franchise. In 2004, the company evolved into Meridian Air Charter, as it is known today.

“We officially entered the jet age in 1989 when the owner of one of the piston aircraft we managed acquired a jet,” said Ken Forester, Meridian’s CEO. “From there we continued to grow and add additional aircraft, as well as open our FAA-approved repair station.”

In 1997, the company began operating a Gulfstream II, marking its entry into the large-cabin charter business. Today, Meridian Air Charter has a diverse fleet of aircraft, ranging from ultra-long-range to midsize and light jets. “We’ve seen a lot of growth over the last 30 years, both with our charter division and with the rest of the company,” added Forester. “I’m proud of what we have accomplished and look forward to serving our customers for many years to come.”

Meridian currently manages a wide range of aircraft types that are available for private charter. Our extensive fleet includes the Global 5000, Gulfstream G550, Falcon 7X, Gulfstream GIV-SP, Falcon 900EX EASy, Challenger 650, Challenger 605, Challenger 604, Falcon 2000EX EASy, Gulfstream G200, and Hawker 900XP. In addition, other aircraft types are available through Meridian’s extensive network of qualified operators. 

Categories
General Private Air Charter

Dennis O’Connell Celebrates 30 Year Milestone at Meridian

Dennis O'Connell (right), President of Meridian Air Charter, celebrates 30 years at Meridian. He joins the prestigious Meridian "30 Club" along with Ken Forester (left), Aida Libiran (2nd from left), and Betsy Wines.
Dennis O’Connell (right), President of Meridian Air Charter, celebrates 30 years at Meridian. He joins the prestigious Meridian “30 Club” along with Ken Forester (left), Aida Libiran (2nd from left), and Betsy Wines.

Meridian is proud to celebrate Dennis O’Connell’s 30th anniversary as a member of our team. Dennis, who is President of Meridian Air Charter, joined Meridian in 1986, when the company was still known as General Aviation Company. He had spent the two previous summers working for the company, and after graduating from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, he returned as a full-time employee. Dennis joined the company as things were beginning to really grow. In 1983, a new charter company had been formed and then in 1984, a new hangar and terminal were built. The following year, the company began selling jet fuel, and in 1986, became part of the Million Air FBO franchise network. Dennis assumed the role of Manager of the FBO.
Dennis has been involved in almost every facet of what is today Meridian. He worked with the flight school, when it was active. He also flew some of the charter trips, and is type-rated in the Gulfstream II/III/IV and Cessna Citation. In 1990, he became Director of Maintenance for the charter company and in 2001, moved fulltime to the charter side of the company and served as Vice President, then President of Meridian Air Charter.
When asked about some of the significant changes during his tenure, Dennis commented that what really stuck him was how much the company had grown, both in terms of its size, the number of employees and the overall business areas of the company. “I always knew that we would grow,” he said, “but if you asked me to look ahead 30 years, I wouldn’t have believed that we would have grown this much.”
Over the years, the company has pursued a measured growth strategy, which Dennis says has been “very manageable” and has made Meridian a great place to work. He also is appreciative of the longevity of others in the organization. “There are several of us who have been here 25-30 years, which is somewhat unusual in the aviation industry.”
Dennis is excited about the future. Meridian’s expansion to the West Coast is the latest example of the company’s growth strategy. The new facility at Hayward will serve as West Coast base for Meridian Air Charter and Meridian Aircraft Management. Dennis says the physical presence is important as the company grows its managed fleet out there, which in turn will increase charter opportunities.
Of his 30 years at Meridian, he says, “I really enjoy the work, and have been fortunate to have experienced many facets here—flying, maintenance and management, to name just a few activities. It’s been fun. No two days are the same.”
Congratulations Dennis on your 30-year milestone with Meridian!