On February 17th & 18th, 2014, Executive & VIP Aviation International (EVA) kicked off its first FBO Expo at the Hilton Hotel located at Heathrow Airport in London, UK. The International FBO Expo 2014 featured FBO exhibitors from around the world, focusing particular attention on those companies established in and expanding into emerging markets such as Brazil, China, India, Russia, CIS and the Far/Middle East. Delegates to the expo consisted of key decision-making industry professionals in touch with FBOs on a daily basis. The show ran alongside EVA International’s other big event, Future of Business Aviation Conference 2014.
Meridian proudly participated in the inaugural event with an exhibit booth. In 2013, Executive & VIP Aviation published an in-depth article about Meridian entitled, “Defending the #1 FBO Spot” in its June issue. It made sense to have a physical presence at the show so EVA’s audience would have an opportunity to create an association with the company featured in the editorial. Anthony Banome, FBO Fuel Sales, was there to represent Meridian Teterboro (Meridian’s FBO) and had this to say, “The FBO Expo had definitely exceeded my expectations. It was a great venue for us because it provided an excellent networking opportunity with European-based operators, as well as giving us good exposure to FBOs in growing markets. It was very productive.”
The FBO industry is one that has evolved dramatically, particularly over the last decade, and has fought fiercely to satisfy the demands of business aviation, adjust to the effects of the global economy, and carve out its own innovative opportunities for growth and expansion beyond the simplistic function of the FBO. Given the ever more competitive nature of the industry, the need for harmonized first-class service on the ground as well as in the air, and particularly the global interest and growth in emerging markets, FBOs are a hot focus of attention. Feedback from EVA readers revealed a niche demand for an FBO industry event focusing on the essential relationships between FBOs, manufacturers, owners, operators, brokers, and chief pilots while also providing a forum of support for the various supply chains that reinforce these sectors.
According to Max Raja, EVA Sales Manager, “The objective of the FBO Expo is to showcase the value of the indispensable relationships of our exhibitors and delegates – from the FBO to the passengers, brokers, operators, owners and manufacturers and all those in between. With the emergence of new global trading trends, the role of this focused supply chain cannot be over-stated as these key decision makers, products and services ensure business aviation remains the ultimate flying experience as well as a profitable corporate venture. This strictly targeted industry event guarantees both exhibitors and delegates excellent networking and new business opportunities.”
Anthony Banome represents Meridian at the first FBO Expo held at London Heathrow Airport.
Joseph assumes PIC responsibilities in the Captain’s chair.
On Wednesday, February 12, 2014, Meridian had the honor of hosting a very special guest. His name is Joseph, a 13 year old boy from Tanzania. Joseph, was born with only the use of one leg and part of his left arm. He has been raised at Living Water orphanage in Arusha, Tanzania. Through the generosity of donors and the orphanage he was brought to New York to be fitted for three new prosthesis at Allied Prosthetics in Ozone Park. Joseph’s dream is to be a pilot, so his request to visit a local airport found its way to us, and we were happy to show him around.
During his visit, Joseph and his guardians from the orphanage were given a tour of the Meridian FBO, known as Meridian Teterboro. His tour started in the 1st floor executive lobby, where he was able to observe the hustle and bustle of passengers and pilots coming and going. Next on the stop was the pilot lounge on the 2nd floor, which included a quick stop at the gym and the movie theater. The tour then moved upstairs to the Charter area, where he was amazed by the view from the 3rd floor balcony overlooking the Meridian ramp and the New York City skyline.
The highlight of his tour culminated in the main hangar, where Joseph was able to climb onboard a private jet, and was given a quick flying lesson by Meridian Air Charter’s Director of Operations, Emil Iannone. We hope that Joseph and his friends enjoyed their experience here, and we look forward to his return back to the New York area. After all, we’re always looking for a good pilot.
A sign in the Meridian Teterboro lobby welcomes visitors, with gift bags in the background. They were given to passengers and crews leaving after the Big Game.
On Sunday, February 2, 2014, the Seattle Seahawks met the Denver Broncos under the lights of MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ to play in the most watched television program in U.S. history, Super Bowl XLVIII. While the final score of the game was 43-8 in favor of the Seahawks, the real winner was the New York/New Jersey region, which hosted the Big Game for the first time in its history. In fact, there were many firsts for this Super Bowl: it was the first time a Super Bowl was played outdoors in a cold-weather city; the first in which two U.S. states, New York and New Jersey, shared hosting duties; the first time it was played outdoors on artificial turf since Super Bowl X (1976) at the Miami Orange Bowl; and finally, it was also the first to be played outdoors since Super Bowl XLIV (2010) was played in Miami.
Meridian had been preparing for the event several months in advance, and bracing for a larger-than-normal volume of customers traveling into Teterboro for the Big Game. Measures were put into place by both the FAA and regional airports to help regulate air traffic coming into and out of the area. Teterboro Airport (TEB) for example, instituted a reservation system called a Prior Permission Required (PPR), which required all landings and departures to have a reservation with one of the five airport FBOs from January 29 to February 4. On Game Day itself, a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) was in effect for 30 nautical miles around TEB from 5:00pm through midnight. A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is a restriction on an area of airspace due to the movement of government VIPs, special events, natural disasters, or other unusual events.
Super Bowl XLVIII was the most watched television program in U.S. history with 111.5 million viewers, while the halftime show was the most watched ever with 115.3 million viewers tuning in. However, despite the record number viewers at home, the volume of air traffic leaving after the game was unexpectedly light. Betsy Wines, VP Customer Service, surmised, “We were ready for the mass exodus after the game, but it never happened. I think most people decided to stay another night, which helped alleviate the departure schedules. While we were a bit surprised, we were prepared just the same.” Meridian made sure to have additional staff on-hand to handle large crowds returning from the game, and also made special arrangements for crews waiting for their passengers. For example, traditional New York-style catering was brought in, including potato knishes and a Sabrett’s hot dog cart. Gift bags were given out to passengers and crews who left after the game, and best of all, the game was shown in the 2nd floor movie theater for those who wanted to watch their teams play on the big screen.
Jamie Labocki of Meridian tries a New York-style hot dog.
Meridian’s on-site Ramp Coordinator was there to help manage the departure process following the game.
New York-style catering for customers visiting Meridian during the game.