Meridian, the award-winning private aviation company based at Teterboro Airport (TEB), proudly exhibited at the NBAA Regional Forum in Boca Raton, FL, on Thursday, January 30, 2014. The company sent a small delegation to exhibit in the strategically important region. Kirk Stephen, Marketing Manager, says, “South Florida is a big market for both our FBO and Charter businesses, and it’s important for us to be represented here and to be in front of our customers.” NBAA’s first Business Aviation Regional Forum of 2014, a show dedicated to highlighting the legislative and regulatory issues for the year ahead, attracted more than 1,400 people to Boca Raton Airport (BCT).
The No Plane No Gain message was front and center at the Boca forum with Ed Bolen, NBAA President and CEO, delivering an inside look into the Association’s advocacy work in Washington, DC and across the country. “The real question is whether the federal government will help or hurt our industry this year,” said Bolen, noting that while federal budget standoffs may have been disruptive in 2013, ongoing advocacy efforts have achieved several long-sought successes in recent years – as just three examples, he noted that Congress passed an FAA reauthorization bill in 2012, directed the FAA to resume allowing operators to “opt out” of public flight tracking, and opposed unilateral imposition of the EU-ETS.
All the speakers stood by a banner featuring the faces of the No Plane No Gain campaign’s “Top Ten” initiative, which highlights 10 great CEOs from 10 great companies, each of whom has a great reason for using business aviation. “NBAA is working everyday on Capitol Hill and in federal agencies to represent the needs and interests of business aviation,” said Bolen. “The success of our advocacy efforts, however, depends on the active engagement of our Members – real people working in the industry. That’s why it’s so important for us to connect with Members at events like the Boca Forum.”
In addition to Bolen’s advocacy message, industry experts presented in-depth information on cabin connectivity, advances in aviation safety, aircraft valuations and the FileSmart initiative for filing flight plans early and accurately.
“We had very strong local involvement,” said NBAA Southeast Regional Representative Harry Houckes, who opened the sold-out Jan. 30 program. “Many of our Members, and many of the local regional groups, were exhibiting or in attendance.” Houckes opened the forum alongside Janet Sherr, deputy executive director of BCT and Geoff Heck, senior vice president of the host FBO, Signature Flight Support. Houckes, who is retiring this month, was presented with the Association’s Silk Scarf Award for his 12 years of advocacy work in the Southeast.
The Boca Raton forum also featured 89 exhibitors and 19 aircraft on static display, including a Gulfstream G200 and Falcon 7X, reported NBAA Vice President, Conventions and Forums Administrative Affairs Cheryl Padilla. “The event definitely exceeded our expectations,” she said. “I talked to many of the exhibitors, and they said it was a great show for them. A lot of them have already made plans to exhibit at our other forums this year.”
NBAA’s next Business Aviation Regional Forum is set for June 26 in Van Nuys, CA, followed by a Sept. 18 forum in Dallas, TX. Meridian will also be exhibiting at both of these forums.