i n this iss u e
>>> Letter from
the CEO 1
>>> Meridian Receives
Top Honors in
>>> A Tribute to
for Growth 3
>>> Plane Folk 9
>>> Meridian Holds
Training Class 9
Golf Tournament 10
>>> The Construction
>>> Mile Markers 12
Dear Customers, Meridian Family, and Friends,
This issue of The Extra Mile is dedicated to my father, Ken Sr., and his legacy of dedication, hard work,
and love of flying. He loved airplane people and all things related to flying and fixing airplanes.
Dad’s life view was formed by the Depression and World War II. His values were evident in his
faith, loyalty, compassion, and love of country.
He overcame the adversities of the Depression and the wartime demands made on his generation.
He was a pioneer as business aviation transitioned from piston aircraft with limited range to large cabin jets
with the ability to fly non-stop halfway around the world.
He was most comfortable sitting in the parts room here at Teterboro, smoking
his pipe, discussing the intricacies of the Navion hydraulic system. I will remember him as
a humble person who made a difference in many lives, especially in mine.
Thank you all for your support.
Meridian Receives Top
Honors in Annual FBO
Meridian Teterboro is pleased to have again
been voted the top-ranked FBO at Teterboro
Airport (TEB) in the Aviation International News
(AIN) Annual FBO Survey, as well as the #1 FBO in
the New York Metro Area. Meridian also received
the #1 Teterboro FBO ranking from FltPlan.com, as
well as the #1 FBO in the Northeast ranking.
This year’s annual FBO Special Report
marked a new process by which AIN collects and
reports customer feedback from around the world.
Its new mobile-friendly website allows readers to
view, comment on and evaluate FBOs at any time
during the year. On the site, all the FBO comments
and evaluations that AIN has collected over the
past four years are compiled, so the average scores
reflect a cumulative average and not a single year
For the four year period covering 2013-
2016, Meridian ranks in the top 10% of FBOs in the
Americas. There are only eight other FBOs that
achieved that distinction. AIN also asked survey
respondents to identify specific FBO employees or
teams who routinely go above and beyond when it
comes to customer service. Meridian’s Betsy Wines
was on the list of the 21 individuals who were
continued on page 4
Top Left: Ken Sr. & Ken Jr. together
at Meridian (2012)
Top Right: Ken Sr. flying a Navion over
New York City (c.1947)
Far Left: Mr. Forester is inducted into the
New Jersey Aviation Hall of Fame (2008)
Left: J. Kenneth Forester during his
service in the U.S. Army Air Force (c.1944)
A TRIBUTE TO
J. Kenneth Forester
The Meridian family was deeply saddened in early
June by the loss of our founder, J. Kenneth
Forester. Mr. Forester, or Ken Sr. as he was known
among his Meridian colleagues to distinguish him
from his son of the same name, passed away on
June 1 at the age of 94.
Mr. Forester was a true aviation pioneer.
His illustrious career began in 1941, when he joined
the U.S. Army Air Corps. The next year, at the age of
21, he earned his private pilot’s license. By 1943, his
military training led him to become a test pilot for
the U.S. Army Air Force, the predecessor to today’s
U.S. Air Force. Flying from 1943-1946, his log book is
filled with flights in virtually all of the WWII fighter,
transport, and bomber aircraft, as well as the first
generation of jet fighters, the P-59 and the P-80.
Forester had attained a mechanic’s license
while serving in the military. Following his discharge
at the close of the war, he moved east to Teterboro
Airport, where he formed Mallard Air Service with
Bob Hewitt, a decorated B-17 pilot. Mallard was a
distributor for the Republic Seabee and the North
American Navion, and was a maintenance base and
charter operator. The company eventually occupied
the largest hangar at Teterboro, sold fuel, new and used aircraft, and
converted C-47 military surplus aircraft into executive transports.
In 1951, Forester left Mallard to manage a wire machinery plant in
Paterson, and work part time selling and maintaining Navions at Teterboro.
He once flew a Navion under the George Washington Bridge in bad weather.
In 1958, he was offered a location on the west side of Teterboro and started
a new business that he called General Aviation Company. His son, Ken, a
graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and former F-102 pilot, took over full
time management of the company in 1974. By 1980, more than 130 aircraft
were based at General Aviation and the FAA-approved flight school had a
fleet of 33 aircraft. In 1983, a new charter company was formed using piston
A new hangar and terminal were built in 1984 and things began
to move quickly. The company began selling jet fuel in 1985 and joined the
Million Air FBO franchise network the next summer. In 1989, the charter
company began operating a Citation SII and entered the jet charter business.
The jet maintenance division was added to the charter company in 1995 and
it earned an FAA repair station license in 1996. By the end of 1997, the charter
company was in the large cabin business. In 2006, the company ended its
20-year affiliation with Million Air, returning to being independently owned
and operated and rebranded itself under its current name of Meridian.
In 2002, the Federal Aviation Administration presented Mr. Forester
with the Charles Taylor Master Mechanic award. Named after Charles Taylor,
a mechanic for the Wright Brothers airplane, the award recognizes aviation
maintenance personnel who have at least 50 years of experience in the
industry. In 2008, he was inducted into the New Jersey Aviation Hall of Fame
during the organization’s 35th annual induction dinner.
J. Kenneth Forester was born in Bowman, North Dakota. He grew up
in Alhambra, California, a suburb of Los Angeles. He had a loving marriage
of 67 years to the late Annabelle H. (nee Hewitt). He was the beloved father
of Ken and his wife Susan, Gary and his wife Lynne, Lynn and her husband
Evelyn, David and his wife Mary, and grandfather to thirteen grandchildren
and nine great-grandchildren. While he is greatly missed by family, friends,
and colleagues, he is remembered fondly for his many personal and professional
achievements, as well as his kindness and generosity.
Poised for Growth
We are pleased to share an update on the
construction of the FBO and hangar facility at
Meridian’s new facility at Hayward Executive Airport
(HWD) in Hayward, CA.
Phase I is well underway and physical
structures of both the future FBO and the hangar
are now standing. Meridian expects the 6,300
square foot FBO and 30,000 square foot hangar
to be completed by late summer. A Grand Opening
Celebration is being planned to coincide with
completion of the initial construction. We are
developing some exciting plans around the Grand
Opening, which we will be sharing with our
customers and colleagues soon.
In addition to the two buildings, the Hayward
facility offers 3.5 acres of ramp space. The hangar
will be able to accommodate any corporate aircraft
up to and including a Global Express and Gulfstream
G650. Subsequent phases will add another 12,000
square feet of terminal space, provide an additional
80,000 square feet of hangar space and increase
the ramp size by an additional seven acres. We look
forward to welcoming many of you to our new West
Coast location this fall!
As part of our continued westward expansion,
Meridian has opened a Sales Office at the Van
Nuys Airport (VNY). MaKayla Hambek, who joined
the team in November 2015 as an Aviation Sales
Executive, is based at VNY and has been working
with both the Aircraft Charter and FBO groups. VNY
is one of the largest general aviation airports in the
country and it gives MaKayla an opportunity to see
many clients, as well as potential customers, who
frequent TEB, VNY, and airports in the Bay Area.
“As we expand Hayward, our presence here
is vital so we can continually market our growth and
progress to those who travel to Northern California,
specifically the Bay Area, and may not know about
HWD or our facility there,” said Hambek. “Being
based at VNY is part of a grass roots effort to keep
Meridian Hayward talked about throughout the state
and top-of-mind for private aviation travelers.
“Since joining Meridian, I have met with
several flight departments, management companies
and charter brokers in Southern California to keep
them updated on our building progress, as well as
our fleet expansions,” continued Hambek. “The
response has been very supportive and filled with
excitement. Customers who currently frequent our
continued on page 4
Top: The terminal of Meridian
Hayward under construction.
Above: Meridian Air Charter’s first
Falcon 7X (N221HJ) on the Teterboro
Left Top: A cabin view of our San
Jose-based Falcon 2000 (N411YF).
Left Middle: The comfortable
divan and club seats of our latest
Gulfstream GIV-SP (N999AA).
Left Bottom: Dining onboard our
Falcon 7X (N221HJ) is always a
Left: The Meridian
Teterboro staff is honored
by the results of the
2016 FBO surveys and we
thank our customers for
Meridian Recieves Top Honors
continued from page 1
repeatedly recognized in this year’s survey response.
Meridian also fared well in the Professional
Pilot (ProPilot) PRASE survey, Betsy Wines and
Victor Seda were both rated in the top five among
Best CSRs. They have both been rated in the Top
5 Best CSR category for the past 10 years. We are
extremely proud of their recognition, which exemplifies
the standards of the entire Meridian team.
The PRASE survey also ranked Meridian as
the overall #14 Best U.S. FBO, one spot higher than
last year. We are also pleased to have moved up a
spot on the Best Independent FBO list, achieving the
#8 position. The PRASE survey is in its 43rd year.
Over 1,900 responses were submitted this year.
FltPlan.com’s survey, known as the Pilots’
Choice Awards, also ranked the top 50 Best FBOs in
the U.S. and Meridian Teterboro is proud to have been voted #3. According
to FltPlan.com, a record number of votes were cast this year by registered
users. FltPlan.com also announced Star Award winners, which are determined
by the number of votes received, the amount of competition on the
field and airport arrival data. Meridian was ranked #10. All three of these
surveys are well-respected and we are honored to be so highly recognized
by our customers.
“Our entire FBO team is responsible for the high marks we consistently
receive,” said Steve Chandoha, Meridian Teterboro President. “Betsy
and Victor are representative of our commitment to outstanding service
and attention to detail that we show customers every day. I am proud of
them both, as well as the entire staff of Meridian Teterboro.”
“We are honored to be named the top FBO at TEB, as well as
being recognized as one of the leading FBOs nationwide,” added Ken
Forester, Meridian CEO. “We consider it a privilege to be recognized for our
commitment to customer service and satisfaction in these three long-running,
respected industry surveys. I am proud of our entire team that works
to exceed expectations every day.”
Poised for Growth continued from page 3
Teterboro facility are excited to see our growth and
are looking forward to a First Class FBO like Meridian
coming to the Bay area.
Meridian began its western expansion in
September 2012, with the opening of a charter sales
office at the San Jose International Airport (SJC)
in San Jose, CA. A second sales office, located at
the Sonoma County Airport (STS) in Santa Rosa,
CA, opened in November of that year. In early 2013,
Meridian added its first West Coast-based aircraft
available for charter at Hayward. In March of this
year, two Falcon 2000 aircraft, both based in San
Jose, were added to the fleet.
Progress continues on the Meridian North project,
which will replace the existing Hangar 12. The Port
Authority of NY/NJ has reviewed the project plan,
and Meridian expects to have received conditional
approval by the time this newsletter is distributed.
The first phase of the project will be the demolition
of the existing hangar.
“After the demolition is complete, we
anticipate breaking ground for the new hangar
sometime this summer,” said Steve Chandoha,
President of Meridian Teterboro.
The new 40,000 square foot hangar will have a two-story support
building and will effectively double the size of the existing facility. Meridian
expects the project to be completed in 2017.
Managed Fleet Continues to Grow
Since the beginning of 2016, four aircraft have been added to our managed fleet.
Two of the aircraft are based in Teterboro, while the other two are based in San
Jose, CA. The addition of two large cabin Falcon 2000s enhances Meridian’s
growing West Coast presence. Both aircraft (N411YF and N98RP) were completely
refurbished in 2014, feature the latest technology, including complimentary
domestic Wifi, and seat up to ten passengers.
The Falcon 7X and a Gulfstream GIV-SP that recently joined our Teterborobased
fleet both offer the capacity to sleep up to seven passengers, making them
perfect for long haul trips. The ultra-long range Falcon 7X can travel up to 6,847
statute miles with a maximum speed of 592 mph. It was the first business jet to
incorporate fly-by-wire technology, a system that replaces conventional manual
flight controls with an electronic interface. This is the first 7X to join Meridian’s
managed fleet. Equipped with all the latest amenities and communication
technologies, including Wifi, the 7X has been popular with customers that
travel internationally or fly longer domestic trips.
The long range GIV-SP underwent a complete interior upgrade and
refurbishment in 2009. With seating for up to 13 passengers, as well as berthing
capabilities, the GIV-SP is fully-equipped with all of the features and amenities
expected from today’s discerning business traveler. The aircraft has been
available for charter since the end of March.
There are currently 23 aircraft in Meridian’s charter fleet, ranging from
large cabin Gulfstreams, Falcons, Global and Challenger aircraft to a variety of
midsize and super midsize models.
NBAA 2016 Leadership Conference
Meridian is pleased to share news of an honor
received by one of our team. Matthew Lipka,
a Meridian Air Charter Flight Coordinator, was
selected by the National Business Aviation
Association (NBAA) as a recipient of its 2016
Business Aviation Management
selected only two individuals
among a large pool of
applicants to receive this
prestigious honor. The
scholarship covered the
recipient’s expenses (up
to $2,000) for attending
Matt joined Meridian in
2012. His career goals include becoming a leader
and advocate of business aviation, which he is
helping to accomplish by serving as a volunteer
on NBAA’s Domestic Operations Committee. Matt
has a commercial multi-engine pilot’s license with
a type rating in a Bombardier Challenger 300.
Prior to joining Meridian, he worked as a fuel
specialist with Everest Fuel Management. He is a
graduate of Daniel Webster College in Nashua, NH.
The Leadership Conference, which was
held February 22-24, 2016 in San Antonio, TX, is
designed for current and future leaders in the
business aviation industry, ranging from aircraft
operators to industry vendors who offer their
aviation products and services. The event is
sponsored by donations from the BAMC members,
and representatives from member companies
were in attendance at the event to recognize this
year’s recipients. The Leadership Conference is
now in its twelfth year.
“I am truly honored to have been chosen
to attend the 2016 Leadership Conference,” Matt
told us. “It was a great opportunity to heighten
my skills, not just for my current role as a flight
coordinator, but for any future endeavors in a
management role at Meridian. To meet and speak
with current leaders in their respective fields, and
to come back here and incorporate methods and
ideas for business success into my work was a
very valuable experience, which I greatly appreciate.”
Meridian Air Charter Receives
Meridian Air Charter was named the top
subcontract provider for NetJets in the
Northeast region for the fourth quarter of 2015.
This marked the second quarter in a row that
Meridian earned this prestigious award.
NetJets specializes in fractional ownership
of business jets. While the company operates
its own fleet of aircraft, it occasionally requires
additional lift from third party operators. NetJets,
like Meridian, only selects available aircraft from
a trusted network of business jet operators with a
Above: Meridian Air Charter is honored to be named the top subcontract provider
for NetJets in the Northeast region for the fourth quarter of 2015.
proven safety record. Meridian Air Charter has worked diligently to meet the rigorous
requirements of the industry’s highest standards, and is ARGUS Platinum
and Wyvern Wingman rated, as well as IS-BAO Stage 2 approved.
“To be recognized in both the third and fourth quarters of 2015 is
simply outstanding. We know firsthand the high level of teamwork and commitment
required to make the process seamless for our clients and those of our
partner,” said Chris Battaglia, Director of Charter Sales for Meridian Air Charter.
“I am very proud of our Sales and Operations teams, and we at Meridian Air
Charter are truly honored to receive another award from such a reputable
company as NetJets.”
20th Anniversary Celebration
In February, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of Meridian Jet Center, the
company’s aircraft maintenance operation. The Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) originally issued Meridian’s repair station certificate on February 21, 1996.
This designation allowed the company to repair and inspect various types of
business aircraft. In 1996, the company was known as Million Air Maintenance
Teterboro because, at the time, it was part of the Million Air franchise. In 2006,
after leaving the franchise, the company was renamed Meridian Jet Center.
John Langschultz, Vice President of Meridian Jet Center, reflected on
the milestone, “We have certainly come a long way in 20 years,” said Langschultz.
“When I first started with the company, we had about three employees and
continued on page 6
Below: Meridian Jet Center celebrates its 20th anniversary, which received its repair
station certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration on February 21, 1996.
20th Anniversary continued from page 5
one hangar with only 10,000 square feet of working
space. Today we have 21 employees, two hangars
with up to 60,000 square feet of space, and plans in
the works to build a larger hangar. Back then, most
of our business was generated from our own fleet
of aircraft. Today, most of our business comes from
transient customers passing through Teterboro and
our managed fleet now has a dedicated charter
As the Jet Center grew, so did its ability to
provide additional services. There is a well-stocked
parts department and also a detailing department
on-site. When the company first started, these types
of services were outsourced.
Langschultz expects the growth and
changes will continue. “Later this year, Meridian
Hayward at Hayward Executive Airport in Northern
California will open,” added Langschultz. “As we
continue to add aircraft to our West Coast fleet, our
new FBO and maintenance operation will continue
to expand with it. We have seen steady growth over
the past 20 years, and that trend will continue both
here and by serving customers at our new location
Certification (Licensing) Exams. The initial course exceeds FAA regulations
by providing 24 hours over the required 200 hours of instruction.
Cisco began his aviation career in 2005, working in the Line Service
department at Meridian Teterboro. After 10 years of experience and proving
himself on the ramp, he expressed interest in broadening his skills to other
areas of aviation, particularly flight operations. In October 2015, a Flight
Coordinator position became available in the Charter group, and this was the
opportunity that he had been waiting for. After interviewing for the position,
he was offered the job. He eventually transitioned over to Charter and his
current role as an Aircraft Dispatcher.
People in the News
Francisco Cabrera (a.k.a. ‘Cisco’) recently earned
his FAA Aircraft Dispatcher License. The Aircraft
Dispatcher is responsible for authorizing and
overseeing the operation of a flight from before
takeoff to after landing. Often referred to as “The
Pilot on the Ground”, the Dispatcher prepares flight
plans, taking into account important factors such as
weather conditions, fuel requirements and potential
hazards, while complying with limitations of the
aircraft and FAA regulations, to ensure the safe
completion of each flight.
The certification means that he can now
assume full scheduling and dispatch responsibilities
in the Flight Operations department at Meridian Air
Charter. He completed the program on April 4, 2016,
at the FlightSafety International facility located at
LaGuardia Airport. The program at FlightSafety is
an FAA-approved course, which fully prepares
participants for the FAA Aircraft Dispatcher
We are pleased to share news of Anthony Lanzone’s promotion
from Detailing Supervisor to Detail Manager. Anthony began his career at
the company as a part-time detailer in 2004, when Meridian Jet Center was
known as Million Air Maintenance. At the time, there were only two detailers in
the department. He was eventually hired as a full-time employee, and by 2007,
he was promoted to Detailing Supervisor. Today, the Detailing department is
part of Meridian Jet Center and has a full time staff of eight. For a brief period
in 2005, the Detailing department became part of Meridian Air Charter, but it
was decided that in order to better service transient aircraft, the department
should be structured with aircraft maintenance.
Anthony’s responsibilities involve all aspects of detailing, including
both interior and exterior of the aircraft. He and his team work closely with
flight crews, flight operations, and maintenance personnel on all aircraft
Meridian’s Director of Maintenance, Per Karlsson, was featured in a
recent issue of BlueSky Business Aviation News. He spoke with writer Terry
Spruce about the services Meridian offers, why the facility draws a variety of
managed and transient customers, and the company’s future plans. Here are a
few excerpts from the interview:
Established in 1946 and opened at Teterboro in 1958, Meridian has been
one of the pioneers of private aviation in the New York market. The current
maintenance operation at Teterboro is an FAA Part 145 certified repair station
and is also certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Honeywell
has deemed Meridian an authorized TFE731 and -36 Series APU Service
Center and Meridian Jet Center, as it is known, is now a Northeast Honeywell
Avionics and Mechanical Parts Depot. Over the years the company has expanded
its capabilities to include aircraft charter, management and detailing,
and boasts exceptional FBO services and amenities.
Spruce: “What makes Meridian a good to place for
owners to bring their aircraft for maintenance?”
Karlsson: “We have a good reputation and we do
a great job for our customers. We also have great
people (who have also been here a long time) with
lots of experience and training in many airframes
Left: The Yerby family
boards a Challenger 300
at Meridian Teterboro,
marking the 50,000th
flight by Corporate Angel
Spruce: “Do you maintain all of your managed fleet
and do you have additional capacity for third party
Karlsson: “Yes we maintain our managed fleet inhouse
except for the really big events that require
paint and major interior overhauls. And yes we do
a lot of outside maintenance on outside customers’
aircraft. Since Atlantic Aviation and Signature Flight
Support do not provide maintenance services, and
since Jet Aviation only works on Gulfstream aircraft,
we keep very busy with outside customers.”
Spruce: “How important is the Honeywell deal for
Karlsson: “Being a line service center on TFE731
and 36100/150 APU has been very useful for us
when we maintain our fleet and also for outside
customers. We can perform routine maintenance
on these powerplants and troubleshooting and get
the aircraft up and running, ready for dispatch very
quickly. “We also maintain the SPEX inventory so
we have spares available in-house, making it even
faster to get the aircraft repaired and ready in a
Spruce: “With the new facility in Hayward, California
being completed by the end of the year, will that
expand your responsibilities?”
Karlsson: “It will have an impact on everybody’s
responsibilities, but I’m sure we’ll handle that with a
smile like we always do and make Hayward another
place where people will go and expect the same
great service we’re providing at Teterboro.”
50,000th Corporate Angel Network Flight
Departs from Meridian
Meridian Teterboro was extremely honored to be part of an historical
milestone event that took place on April 14, when Corporate Angel
Network (CAN) celebrated its 50,000th flight. The empty leg flight, which
departed from Meridian Teterboro, was arranged for toddler Baron Yerby and
his parents Jonathan and Casey. Baron had been in New York City receiving
cancer treatments at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital, and the family was
traveling back to their home in Georgia.
The empty seat on the Challenger 300 was donated by a longtime
Meridian customer. In addition to the Meridian team, the event also attracted
representatives from CAN, the National Business Aviation Association
(NBAA) and Aviation International News (AIN). A small crew of photographers
and videographers were also on-hand to capture the moment.
Peter Fleiss, CAN’s Executive Director Emeritus, stated, “We at
Corporate Angel Network are very proud to be celebrating the 50,000th
flight today. It demonstrates the longevity and value of our mission, and how
our organization has grown over the years to positively impact so many
people who are facing the difficult challenges of battling cancer. This
milestone is also a celebration of our business aviation partners whose
participation has made these flights possible.”
Ken Forester, Meridian CEO, was honored that his company played
a role in this event. “The good work that Corporate Angel Network does
exemplifies how business aviation gives back to the community. We are very
proud of our customers who support this wonderful organization, and I am
both excited and humbled that our company was able to celebrate this
amazing milestone with our friends at CAN.”
Corporate Angel Network, founded in 1981, arranges free
transportation for cancer patients using seats donated on corporate aircraft.
With the participation of more than 500 participating corporations, a staff
of six and 30 volunteers, CAN averages 225 patient flights each month to
cancer treatment centers. For more information on Corporate Angel Network,
go to www.corpangelnetwork.org.
Left: The Meridian Team
at the 2016 Schedulers &
in Tampa, FL.
2016 has been a busy year so far with Meridian participating
in several key events. In January, we proudly exhibited at the 2016
National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Schedulers & Dispatchers
Conference (SDC2016). This year’s conference was held in Tampa,
Florida, at the Tampa Convention Center from Tuesday, January 19
through Friday, January 22. The program included dozens of innovative
education sessions, various networking events and ample opportunities
to give back to the local community. A record 2,800-plus attendees and
517 exhibitors took part in the event. Meridian was well-represented with
members of our Charter Operations, Charter Sales, Aircraft Management,
FBO Fuel Sales and Marketing teams at the show.
“We strive to enhance the attendee and exhibitor experience
each year and, as a result, more and more people understand this is the
place to be,” said Mike Nichols, NBAA’s Vice President of Operational
Excellence and Professional Development. “Schedulers and dispatchers
are the buyers and they are empowered to come here and make choices,
while gaining valuable skills and knowledge through robust education
SDC2016 included many new features, including an increased
focus on humanitarian efforts in support of the host city by holding a
food packing event for Feeding America Tampa Bay. About 200 conference
attendees volunteered their time to pack 800 bags of food so
needy children and their families would have food for the weekend. Additionally,
this was the sixth year the conference collected gently used
business clothes for local charities. This year, a total of 4,379 garments
were collected, breaking last year’s record of 1,500 items.
Many scholarships were also awarded at SDC2016, with
thousands of dollars in monetary and training scholarships presented
to dozens of individuals, including Meridian’s own Matt Lipka.
Next year’s conference (SDC2017) is scheduled for February 7
through 10 in Fort Worth, Texas, and we look forward to again being on
Later in January, Meridian sent a team of eight to West Palm
Beach International Airport (PBI) to represent the company at the year’s
first NBAA Regional Forum. Although the weather was a bit challenging
with heavy rains throughout the South Florida region, the business aviation
community was undaunted, and more than 2,200 people turned out
for the January 28 event. With 120 exhibitors and 25 aircraft on static
display, the event set an attendance record for NBAA’s South Florida
Florida State Senator Maria Sachs, who represents
the Palm Beach area, welcomed attendees to her state, noting
it’s first in the country for aircraft manufacturing, and officials
plan to work hard to stay number one through tax and other
NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen agreed, saying,
“Florida is a great place for business aviation. The industry
has a bright future in this country and around the world.” He
did acknowledge that business aviation is facing an attack
from those in Congress looking to create a privatized ATC
system, funded by user fees, as part of the debate underway
in Washington over reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration.
Such proposals, Bolen noted, could severely limit
business aircraft operators’ access to airports and airspace.
Bolen urged attendees to contact lawmakers using
NBAA’s online Contact Congress tool, and make their voices
heard on the issue. “We’ve got to make our voice heard, let’s
do that today,” he said. “Our concern is this can move forward
so fast, it could be over before you see the details.”
Meridian, as well as other exhibitors, views the regional
forums as important events for seeing current customers,
as well as meeting new ones.
The importance of NBAA regional forums also extends
to the future of the industry, with students from nearby
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and elsewhere coming
to talk with attendees and exhibitors and learn what business
aviation may offer them in terms of career options.
Two more NBAA regionals were scheduled this year,
including the forum in Van Nuys, CA held on June 9, and the
forum in White Plains, NY to be held on September 15. Meridian
exhibited at the Van Nuys regional and plans to be at the show
in White Plains as well. We hope to see you there!
Meridian also exhibited at the annual European
Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva,
Switzerland, May 24-26. This three-day event was a great
experience for Meridian, with seven of our team in attendance.
As in previous years, EBACE was held at the Palexpo
Convention Center. The convention center is conveniently
located at Geneva Airport (GVA), which uniquely offers
attendees the ability to visit exhibitor booths and the static
display in one location.
Nora Jacob joined Meridian five years ago as a
Customer Service Representative (CSR). She says,
“Meridian has done for me what previous companies
and positions didn’t. We are a family, and service is just what we do.”
Nora worked for another FBO prior to joining Meridian. She also had
the opportunity to spend some time last fall working on the charter side of Meridian.
In that position, she had to interface with other FBOs on a regular basis.
Having those experiences definitely made an impression on Nora. “I now understand
why we are rated so highly in the various FBO surveys. Our philosophy is
we always go above and beyond, and not everyone else does that.”
Nora says she is truly a people person, which is one of the reasons she
asked to transfer back to Customer Service. “The move to charter was a good
learning experience for me, but I missed personally interfacing with our customers.
I really enjoy dealing with everyone we serve, from the pilots to the passengers.”
Nora says that customer service is something that comes naturally
to her, and while you can’t really train for it, there are always things that you
can learn. Nora participated in the Motivating Employees course during the
Ritz Carlton training that took place earlier this year. She said the course was
very interesting, as it came from a manager’s point of view. “We discussed how
important it is to keep your employees happy. If they aren’t happy, you won’t get
the level of service you expect, especially on a consistent basis.
“Everyone on the Meridian team strives to do the best job they can,”
Nora adds. “As our Company Mission Statement says, ‘our mission is to consistently
deliver a truly extraordinary experience, leaving our customers feeling
welcomed, well cared for and confident that they made a smart choice.’ I am
proud to work for a company that puts such a high priority on always putting the
Meridian Holds Company-Wide Training Class
At Meridian, we pride ourselves on providing
outstanding customer service. But even the
best can always be better! In March, we invited all
of our employees to take part in the well-respected
Ritz Carlton Training Program.
“We have always had annual training
courses provided by an outside company to our
FBO employees,” said Betsy Wines, Vice President
of Customer Service and Human Resources. “This
year, we thought we would expand the training class
to include all of our employees.”
The training took place March 28-30 at
Meridian’s Teterboro headquarters. There were
three different course programs offered, which
varied by an individual’s position in the company
and their tenure. The Memorable Customer Service
course was geared toward those employees who
had been through the Ritz Carlton Training in 2014
and was designed as a refresher course. The Customer
Service Re-energized course was for those
employees that have joined Meridian since 2014,
and lastly the Motivating Employees course, designed
for Managers and those who supervise other
“Everyone does customer service, whether
they know it or not,” continued Wines. “We felt that
everyone in the company would benefit from having
the opportunity to participate in one of the courses,
and come away with something they could put to
use in their everyday activities.”
Shante Cooper, a Customer Service
Representative, joined Meridian in October 2015.
When asked about her thoughts on the training, she
shared what she learned from a presentation called
‘Give Em’ the Pickle.’ “The story was very unique
and demonstrated how important the little things
matter,” Shante said. “It made me realize that even the smallest detail can make
a large impact on a customer.”
Shante added that since joining Meridian, she has a new outlook on
customer service. “Meridian is truly a company that goes above and beyond to
provide the best customer service. I am proud to be part of the team.”
Don Paynton has been with Meridian for 12 years in the Aircraft
Maintenance area and is currently Assistant Chief Inspector. Don attended the
Memorable Customer Service class and said what he found intriguing was how
the attention to detail, or lack thereof in certain instances, could make or break
a customer’s evaluation of the company.
“It is very easy to say ‘job accomplished’, but has it been accomplished
with the integrity and devotion to detail that is expected from demanding
clients? I would like to answer that question ‘yes’,” said Don. “And with pride in
knowing that attention to detail, communication and all aspects of what was
asked of us has been performed in a friendly, courteous and professional manner.”
Paynton feels that these workshops remind employees that “we are in
the service industry, and the most important assurances that we are succeeding
in our duties are the compliments and thanks we get from satisfied customers.”
That sentiment seems to resonate with others that attended the various
workshops. “One of the most important things many of us took away from the
supervisory training class was that we need to empower our employees,” added
Wines. “It is always about the customer, no matter what job function you perform.
The customer comes first, and it is everyone’s responsibility to make sure
Left: Team Meridian on the
putting green at the Flight
Safety Golf Tournament in
Santa Clarita, CA.
West Coast FlightSafety Golf Tournament
Meridian is proud to have been a first-time
sponsor at FlightSafety International’s (FSI)
West Coast golf event. On April 18, FSI held its 18th
Annual Customer Appreciation Golf Tournament at
Robinson Ranch Golf Club in Santa Clarita, CA.
Meridian supports FSI’s East Coast tournament,
which is usually held in June at Centennial
Golf Club in Carmel, NY, every year. As we expand
our West Coast presence, we are pleased to start
supporting this event as well.
The company was well-represented at
Robinson Ranch by its California-based team,
including Ken Forester, Kelly Pappas, Greg Johnson,
MaKayla Hambek and Tammy Vinas. Anthony Banome,
based at Meridian’s Teterboro location in New Jersey,
also made it out to the event. Meridian sponsored
the Putting Green competition, which was supported throughout the day
by Ken, Kelly, MaKayla and Tammy. Water bottles, granola bars, hats and
sunscreen were made available to the golfers. The putting contest winner
was Steve Lee of Million Air, who had the low score of 5 strokes. A prize was
also given to Travis Abbott of KACALP for having a score of 16, the highest
number of strokes!
The tournament had 205 players, setting a new attendance record
for this event. There were 36 sponsors, also setting a new record. Lunch was
provided during the outing, and a cocktail hour with a sit-down dinner and
awards ceremony was held after the tournament, which included prize drawings.
Winners from the Meridian team included Kelly Pappas, who won a $100
raffle drawing, and Anthony Banome, who won a box of golf balls. The event
was a big success overall, and we were proud to be on hand to support the
Southern California aviation community.
Rick Van Orden
Jo-Elle Van Epps
The Construction Continues at
485 Industrial Avenue
Teterboro, New Jersey 07608
mile markers: Nicaragua’s Picturesque Emerald Coast
One of the benefits of private aviation is the easy access it
provides to a variety of destinations. Recently, one of our
customers flew aboard our Falcon 900 to the resort area near
Managua, Nicaragua. The trip was easier than in the past, as there is
a brand new airport, Costa Esmeralda Airport, now open. The airport
allows travelers to more easily access resorts along the Emerald
Coast. The airport, which has a 5,000 ft. runway, was funded by the
owners of two of the area’s popular resorts: Guacalito de la Isla and
Mukul. The airport is located just five miles south of Guacalito de la
Isla in Rivas, Nicaragua. The airport also has a duty-free shop and an
international Customs Department, making for a seamless entry
The area is pristine, with beautiful white sand beaches
along the Pacific shoreline, surrounded by a lush rainforest. The
Mukul Resort, one of the area’s newest resorts, and a backer of the
new airport, offers a variety of packages that will appeal to those
looking for a restful spa retreat or a top-notch golfing experience.
Each of the 37 guest accommodations offers space and privacy in a
style that fully embodies and compliments the natural surroundings.
The resort offers several dining options, all serving only the finest
and fresh products from the sea and local farms.
Above: Aerial view of Mukul resort in Nicaragua.
There are also 14 scheduled commercial flights per
week at the airport flown by La Costeña Airlines from Managua
and Sansa Airlines from Liberia, Costa Rica. However you choose
to arrive to Costa Esmeralda, you will find a warm welcome and
are sure to enjoy the local area, lovely beachside restaurants
and breathtaking scenery.
Meridian / 485 Industrial Ave / Teterboro, NJ 07608
CHARTER 201.288.5459 / 800.882.2333
JET CENTER 201.288.3880
proud supporters of:
Table to Table, a community based
food rescue program that delivers
excess fresh food from restaurants and
supermarkets to soup kitchens and