Local professionals off to US aviation conference

POSTED: 01/8/14 5:10 AM

“St. Maarten has an aura to it”

St. Maarten – “We’ve been going for the last 10 years,” Steven Kong said yesterday of the annual National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Schedulers and Dispatchers Conference to be held in New Orleans from January 14 to 17. Kong is the managing director of The Logical Choice (TLC) Aviation, a service company headquartered at the Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM Airport). He will be accompanied by TLC’s Director Sheldon Palm. But he said that there are definite challenges as time has gone by, like increased competition from neighboring islands and the fact that SXM Airport “needs to grow” in order to deal with demand.

Kong said they got to reassure the general aviation industry and “tell them why they should come down. We try our best to explain.” He also spoke of air space saturation which makes the days up to and after New Years a difficult time to manage, to say the least. Yet despite the challenges to the island, Kong reassured that “St. Maarten has an aura to it,” which continuously draws visitors from all economic and social strata to the island every year. And the airport’s reputation, more importantly, is solid among pilots, Kong said.

This year saw a steady continuation of private jets, Kong explained. There was no decrease, but no major increase either. Again, he said it comes to down to expansion if the airport wants to offer better services. “The airport has to grow,” he repeated.

TLC Aviation is an upscale full end-to-end services provider from executive and private aviation ground handling to yacht support and concierge services. “The company is known within the international private aviation community for its ability and competence in combining landside, airside, and seaside services into a seamless and convenient experience for passengers, crews, and those creating the trip plan,” the NBAA said.

There are many high net worth individuals who have a house here on the island or on other islands, while others fly down to board their private yachts. And it is a demanding clientele. “That’s why the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) feels it more important it is to have Caribbean partner on location that one can rely on for smooth and high quality services,” the association said in a press release. “They are TLC Aviation headquartered at Princess Juliana International Airport in St. Maarten. Steven and Sheldon are always available to respond to any questions that attendees or exhibitors at the conference may have. They are easily recognized by the bright orange shirts that they wear at the event,” the NBAA added.

The NBAA Schedulers and Dispatchers Conference is the private and corporate aviation industry’s premier event for schedulers, dispatchers, and their suppliers. The annual conference provides the opportunity to meet about 2,500 professionals who are directly responsible for the scheduling and dispatching of aircraft and procuring services for aircraft operations for flight departments and on-demand charter operations throughout the world.

An aircraft dispatcher or flight planner is a person responsible for planning and monitoring the progress of an aircraft journey. Depending on the type of certification the airline has, and depending on where the airline is based, both the pilot in command and the dispatcher are legally responsible for the safety of a flight. A dispatcher may have the authority to delay, divert or cancel a flight at any time, and a flight might not be able to be released without the signature of both the pilot-in-command and the dispatcher, depending on the jurisdiction.



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