Meridian Names Third Generation Family Member to Board of Directors

Kelly Forester Pappas

Meridian, the award-winning private aviation company, is pleased to announce that Kelly Forester Pappas is joining its Board of Directors. Pappas, who for the past eight years has strategically focused on Aviation Sales and Business Development, specifically in the Bay area, has been involved with the business since she was a teenager, when she worked as a Customer Service Representative.

Meridian, the longest-established FBO and maintenance operation at Teterboro Airport, evolved from the business founded by Pappas’ grandfather, John Kenneth Forester (known as Ken Senior), in 1946. Today, the company operates FBOs at Teterboro Airport (TEB) in New Jersey and Hayward Executive Airport (HWD) in the San Francisco Bay area, as well as an FAA-approved Part 145 full-service maintenance operation that includes an in-house parts department and detailing team. The company recently sold its charter and aircraft management business to Jet Linx, a leading private jet management and jet card membership company.

“The realignment of our business allows us to focus on the foundation the company was built on and gives us greater opportunity to grow our FBO and aircraft maintenance businesses,” said Ken Forester, CEO and owner of Meridian. “We understand that maintaining a 100 percent customer-centric approach is critical. Streamlining our business model will help us achieve this goal and position us well into the future.”

“I’m very proud to be part of an organization that prioritizes customers’ needs first and foremost. I have been humbled by the hard work and dedication of Meridian employees who share in this goal every day. It is an honor to work alongside them,” says Kelly Pappas. “Moving forward, we are committed to continuing to set the bar for excellent customer service in this rapidly changing industry. Our objective is to exceed expectations and remain an industry leader for years to come.”

One initiative that Kelly strongly advocates is the integration of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) into corporate aviation. “I am passionate about finding ways to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint and SAF will help us get there”, Pappas adds. “Meridian can be an industry leader by offering SAF to our customers, which is critical at this point in time.”

Pappas currently works at Meridian’s Santa Rosa regional office, which she opened in 2012. She is an active participant in the Northern California Business Aviation Association and Women in Aviation International. Pappas is a graduate of Yale University and holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Southern California.

“We are excited about this next chapter in our history,” Forester added. “As we continue to grow our business, we are proud of the fact that in addition to the hands-on approach we as owners of the business take, we also have one of the longest-tenured teams in the industry. I know Kelly understands that component of our business well, and I am pleased that she will be serving a key role as we move into the future.”

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Meridian FBOs Recognized as Safety 1st Clean Certified

Meridian, the award-winning private aviation company, is pleased to announce that it has received Safety 1st Clean registration from the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) for both its Teterboro (TEB) and Hayward (HWD) FBO facilities. The recognition demonstrates Meridian’s commitment to following best practices and guidelines from both the NATA and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) around cleaning, disinfecting and hygiene, as well as ongoing education and training. In addition, conformance to the Safety 1st Clean standard requires that the organization have a Hazard Communication Plan in place, which Meridian already does as part of its IS-BAH accreditation.

“NATA developed the Safety 1st Clean standard to provide general guidance on facility cleaning, disinfecting and facility operations in response to the pandemic,” said Carlos Rodriguez, HWD General Manager. “While we were already aggressively following best practices and guidelines, as well as our own strict procedures, it is important that we demonstrate our conformance and commitment to the highest possible standards to our customers, employees and the public at large. Earning the Safety 1st Clean standard lets customers know they can expect the best and safest protocols when they come to Meridian.” A complete list of Safety 1st Clean FBOs is on the NATA website.

Meridian has been a participant in NATA’s overall Safety 1st program for over 20 years. While the Safety 1st program actually certifies individuals at the locations, as part of the Safety 1st Qualified location program, FBOs and ground handlers that consistently maintain their employee’s training status are recognized as Safety 1st certified. Meridian is proud to be consistently rated Safety 1st.

Meridian TEB and HWD are also International Standard for Business Aircraft Handling (IS-BAH) accredited for adherence to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards and recommended practices in the preparation of handling business aircraft. The standard was designed to promote the use of industry best practices blended through a progressive Safety Management System (SMS) for FBOs and Business Aircraft Handling Agencies. Both FBOs currently hold IS-BAH Stage 1 certification.

Achieving industry recognition offers added benefits beyond demonstrating Meridian’s commitment to excellence and safety, notes Victor Rodriguez, TEB Line Service & FBO Safety Training Coordinator/Interim Line Service Manager, who spearheaded TEB’s registration efforts for both IS-BAH and Safety 1st Clean. “These standards help us with the overall framework to benchmark our efforts and measure overall performance,” he states. “It ensures we are following the guidelines, meeting and exceeding requirements and maintaining the highest standards.”

Customers with maintenance or detailing needs can expect the same level of safety and cleanliness at the Meridian Jet Center in Teterboro. The full-service maintenance facility is an FAA Part 145 and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certified repair station, as well as an authorized Honeywell Service Center.

Meridian’s in-house detailing team currently provides multiple layers of disinfecting and cleaning services to protect travelers as well as our own personnel. In addition to decontaminating the aircraft with our ionization unit, they also clean the entire aircraft interior by wiping down and disinfecting all areas, followed by a long-lasting anti-microbial barrier treatment. Meridian is proud to strictly adhere to comprehensive protocols as well as those outlined by the Safety 1st Clean standard.

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Jet Linx Purchases Meridian Aircraft Management & Air Charter

Jet Linx, the leading private jet management and jet card membership company in the United States, continued its strategic expansion in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut tri-state region by acquiring Meridian’s Aircraft Management and Air Charter business. Meridian is a full-service private aviation company headquartered at Teterboro Airport. While the terms of the transaction were not disclosed, the acquisition encompasses a fleet of 23 long range and short range private jet aircraft including Bombardier Global Express 6000 and 5000s, Gulfstream G550s, GVs, G450s, GIVSPs, Dassault Falcon 7Xs and 2000s, and Embraer Phenom 300s, among others.  Upon closing the transaction, Jet Linx will become the largest private jet management and jet card membership company in the tri-state region and the second-largest aircraft management company in the United States with over 120 aircraft and 19 locations nationwide (FAA Part 135).

“This acquisition is a significant step in our strategic plan as we continue to enhance our fleet and flight operations serving the New York tri-state area and further develop the Company as the leader in private jet travel. It could also not be better timed as it follows the grand opening of our flagship private terminal at Teterboro Airport last September,” said Jamie Walker, President & CEO of Jet Linx Aviation. “It is an honor to have purchased Meridian Aircraft Management and Air Charter, one of the most admired, respected and trusted operators in the private jet industry.  Like Jet Linx, Meridian is a family-owned business, and it will be our commitment and our privilege to continue their legacy of excellence, safety and service. This exemplifies and underscores our unwavering commitment to provide the highest standards of excellence and the finest service experience not only to our clients in the New York tri-state area, but nationwide, as Teterboro is the busiest private aviation airport in the U.S.”

With heritage that dates back to 1946 at Teterboro Airport, Meridian is a full-service Fixed Base Operator (FBO) renowned for its enduring reputation for providing the New York metropolitan area with private aircraft fueling, hangaring, maintenance, management and charter services. Meridian has earned numerous industry awards and accolades over the years for its FBO services.  As the longest continuously operating private aviation services company in the New York metropolitan area, Meridian will continue operating its FBO and aircraft maintenance businesses at Teterboro Airport and Hayward Executive Airport in California.

“Jet Linx aligns perfectly with Meridian’s values, culture and commitment to safety, and we could not be happier to have partnered with Jet Linx to purchase our aircraft management and charter business,” said Ken Forester, Owner & CEO of Meridian. “It was important for us to find the right company who would be able to take our existing aircraft management and charter business to the next level, and Jet Linx was the obvious choice. We are excited to continue supporting Jet Linx, and our former aircraft management and charter customers, through our FBO and aircraft maintenance businesses going forward.”

Jet Linx has become the leading private jet management and Jet Card company in the United States due to its unique and innovative business model.  The company offers a far more personalized approach to guaranteed private jet travel solutions through individual, city specific, local operations.  Jet Linx is committed to the highest and most stringent safety standards in the private aviation industry, and to the managed, strategic and sustained growth in private jet aircraft, jet card members and locations across the country.

2019 was a year of unprecedented achievement for Jet Linx; it established six new private base terminal locations across the country, and forged two groundbreaking and unprecedented partnerships – one with Forbes Travel Guide and the other with Southwest Airlines and CAE.  The collaboration with Forbes Travel Guide – the world renowned and only independent, global rating system for luxury hotels, restaurants and spas – made Jet Linx the “Official Private Aviation Company” of Forbes Travel Guide as well as the first and only company in private aviation to establish and implement Forbes Travel Guide’s preeminent and unparalleled standards of service excellence.  Jet Linx also collaborated with Forbes Travel Guide in the creation of customized, proprietary Jet Linx standards of service excellence for private aviation.  Jet Linx joined forces with Southwest Airlines and CAE to create a groundbreaking pilot cadet program which provides a unique career pathway and lifecycle solution for pilots, facilitating entry into the aviation industry and providing opportunities for pilots to elevate and extend their careers.  The company also acquired Elliott Aviation’s Aircraft Management & Charter business in Minneapolis, and following the purchase of Meridian Aircraft Management and Air Charter, the Company intends to make additional acquisitions of other respected and established private jet management companies as an integral part of its growth strategy and continued expansion across the United States.

 

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