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.