Last week, Meridian sent a team of five down to West Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) to represent the company at the first NBAA Regional Forum of 2019. The forum again broke attendance records hosting nearly 2,900 attendees, 250 students, and over 150 exhibitors.
Being the first regional forum of the year, West Palm Beach has set a great precedent for the others to follow and serves as a barometer for the business aviation industry as a whole.
While the business aviation industry constantly breaks attendance records, year after year, NBAA CEO Ed Bolen stressed the need for the industry to push for greater awareness with younger workers and recent graduates: “There’s a big shortage in aviation right now, for not only pilots and mechanics, but basically all facets of the industry, and we need to bring in the younger generation to fill those positions. Our industry gives young people the opportunity to experience life in many different ways. We’re a high-tech industry, so we can meet their expectation in that area too. Young people want to be part of a community and know they belong, and business aviation offers all of that.”
The importance of NBAA regional forums also extends to the future of the industry, with students from nearby Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) and elsewhere coming to talk with attendees and exhibitors to learn what business aviation may offer them in terms of career options, as well a forge crucial connections within the industry.
Meridian had a great showing at the forum and took advantage of the opportunity to make considerable connections, as well as meet with our friends within the industry. We thank everyone for making this event a great success. We hope to see everyone at the next Regional Forum in Houston on March 14th!
Meridian, the award-winning private aviation company, is pleased to announce the addition of a new 2018 Challenger 650 (N562RT) business jet to its ever-growing managed fleet. The aircraft is based in West Palm Beach, FL, and conveniently serves our South Florida and New York City-area customers. This heavy jet is impeccably maintained both inside and out, and contains the modern amenities that discerning passengers require when choosing a business aircraft. It is immediately available for charter (Certificate IMJA053F).
The Challenger 650 claims the widest-in-class cabin, which can accommodate up to 12 passengers and can fly a maximum distance of 4,000 nm (7,408 km) under certain conditions. The aircraft has a typical cruise speed of Mach 0.80, and can reach a top speed of Mach 0.85. The flight deck features Bombardier Vision, an avionics system designed aesthetically and ergonomically for pilots.
This aircraft is well-equipped with modern technology, including complimentary high-speed domestic Wi-Fi, inflight satellite phone system, Airshow® moving maps and display, and a multimedia entertainment system with USB and iPad connectivity. Other essential amenities that are offered include a full galley with sink, microwave and convection ovens, coffee maker, and private lavatory with sink. The cabin is berthable and can sleep up to five people, making this aircraft an ideal option for both domestic and international trips.
“We are really excited to offer our clients based in Palm Beach and South Florida a brand-new charter aircraft that is perfect for trips to the Northeast, or any domestic destination in the continental US,” said Chris Battaglia, Director of Charter Sales. “This 2018 Challenger 605 is equipped with the latest technologies and amenities, ensuring a productive and comfortable flight. It is the perfect complement to our fleet of heavy jets.”
Meridian currently manages a wide range of aircraft types that are available for private charter. Our diverse fleet includes the Global 5000, Gulfstream G550, Gulfstream GIV-SP, Falcon 7X, Falcon 900EX EASy, Falcon 2000EX EASy, Challenger 650, Challenger 605, Challenger 604, Challenger 601, Gulfstream G200, and Hawker 900XP. In addition, other aircraft types are available through Meridian’s extensive network of qualified operators.
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.
Meridian, the award-winning private aviation company based at Teterboro Airport, proudly participated in the first National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Regional Forum of 2015. The show was held at Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) in West Palm Beach, FL. The one-day event was held on Thursday, Feb. 19, which featured 128 indoor exhibits, 21 aircraft on static display, and attracted more than 2,000 attendees. The company sent four representatives from its Headquarters in Teterboro, NJ, including Andrew Ladouceur, VP of Charter Sales, Bob Platten, Aviation Sales Executive, Nora Jacob, Customer Service Representative, and Kirk Stephen, Marketing Manager.
West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio toured the static display and thanked NBAA for choosing West Palm Beach as a site for its 2015 regional forums. “I want to welcome the NBAA to West Palm Beach,” the mayor told attendees.“Aviation is very important for our city, and we are very proud of our airport. In fact, our airport is only five minutes from downtown, making it easy for business people to come to our city and not only do their job, but also enjoy downtown, which was voted the No.1 city in Florida for business and jobs.”
Steve Brown, NBAA’s chief operations officer, updated attendees on the Association’s efforts to support business aviation’s interests in Washington, DC and around the country, including in Florida. “We just filed a bill that will eliminate sales tax on planes purchased in Florida,” added NBAA Jenny Showalter, a director at Showalter Flying Service, and NBAA Member Company in Orlando, FL, and a member of the Florida Aviation Business Association.
One common thread throughout the presentations was the importance of NBAA and the work it does in support of the industry.
“Flight departments need to be more active in groups like this, said Jeff Ramsden, president of NBAA Member Company RamJet Aviation, Inc., of Ft. Lauderdale, FL. “They worry about advocacy and have the resources to help you take the necessary steps. We all need to stay connected.”
“We are a vital industry and everyone from the bottom up needs to advocate for what they do, stay connected and use the resources available,” added Showalter. To underscore that need, NBAA prominently displayed the voices and resources the association has produced, through the No Plane No Gain advocacy campaign, which educates policymakers and opinion leaders about the importance of business aviation to citizens, companies and communities across America. NBAA jointly sponsors the advocacy campaign, with the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.
On hand at the forum was NBAA’s most recently produced advocacy resource, “Business Leaders on Business Aviation,” a highly popular booklet featuring 25 of the nation’s most respected business leaders detailing how business airplanes help their companies compete and succeed.
In addition to business aviation industry representatives, aviation students from Florida-based universities were on hand to attend a student session where they had the opportunity to meet and hear from successful industry experts in all facets of the business.
With much enthusiasm, these future pilots and business experts were able to tap into the information sessions and talk to experts for advice on their career objectives. Key players in the industry – from pilots, to aircraft brokers, and maintenance and repair operators – all expressed their enthusiasm for business aviation, reinforcing for the students that there are a variety of aviation career opportunities available.
Other topics discussed during the forum’s information sessions included updates on state and federal advocacy efforts, including strategies for managing Florida’s aircraft sales and use tax system; the latest in in-flight connectivity, and options for increasing insurance coverage, while reducing risk and minimizing liability when full-time business aviation pilots fly on their own time.
The next NBAA Regional Forum will be Thursday, June 25, at Teterboro Airport (TEB) in Teterboro, NJ. Meridian will be hosting an evening cocktail party on Wednesday, June 24, the night before the event. Look for more information coming soon.