St. Maarten News

Largest airlift conference ever held in the Caribbean

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Largest airlift conference ever held in the Caribbean

AIRPORT--Without exaggeration, the upcoming Caribbean Aviation Meetup in St. Maarten June 13-15 may be called the most significant and largest airlift conference ever held in the Caribbean. The numbers speak for themselves; thirty highly qualified professionals making thirty presentations spread over three days.

Conference participants are from 28 countries and territories: Anguilla, Antigua, Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Commonwealth of Dominica, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Jamaica, Luxemburg, Nevis, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Saba, St. Barths, St. Eustatius, St. Lucia, St. Maarten/St. Martin, St. Vincent, Suriname, Switzerland, Trinidad, Turks and Caicos, the United Kingdom (UK), the United States of America (USA), and US Virgin Islands.

Airlift is not just an aviation or airline matter. Its impact is vital for any economy. The number of tourists who are flying to visit a destination determine the overnight stays. The overnight stays are related to how many rooms are occupied, how many restaurants are visited and how for many days cars are rented. It is therefore that this conference gathers stakeholders from both the aviation and tourism industries.

The Caribbean Aviation Meetup sets itself apart from any other political summit or industry association meeting that emphasises one particular theme or subject only, be it airline routing, tourism sustainability, or a business sector. These meetings often miss an important point. If one focusses on one segment but cannot bring it in perspective to other segments, it becomes a matter of, popularly said, the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. Problems do not get solved effectively; they may even become more complicated. Departmental thinking may have an isolating effect.

Exactly that is why it is important to have a conference platform where stakeholders from the aviation and tourism industries as well as government agencies and politicians gather.

The purpose of the Caribbean Aviation Meetup is to bring parties from all industry perspectives and geographical areas together. The presentations have different objectives. For one, each of them is the introduction to what might be further discussed during the conference. Some of the e-presentations offer new ideas and food for thought. Others may be informing, explaining, or educational.

The conference will start with an opening reception in “St. Maarten Culture Style” sponsored by the St. Maarten Tourism Bureau on behalf of the Government of St. Maarten. The conference itself is hosted by Princess Juliana International Airport SXM.

The winner of the “Most Scenic Airport Landing in the World” contest will be celebrated during the Award Evening. Four outstanding performances in Business Aviation will be honoured with Sapphire Pegasus Awards.

Plenary sessions will be held on the first conference day. There will be two parallel streams of break-out sessions on the second and third day.

There will be Airport Terminal and Air Traffic Control Tower tours on Wednesday afternoon of the conference, as well as a Static Display of four Aircraft.

A factory-new seaplane will be flown in from Wichita Kansas, by US aircraft manufacturer Cessna/Textron. The airplane will be available for demonstrations and splash landings in St. Maarten, Anguilla and Nevis.

The potential future founding of a Caribbean Aviation Association or Caribbean Airlift Council will be discussed in informal meetings during the conference.

An independent and impartial entity is considered desirable to provide professional expertise, coordination and mediation to solve dilemmas and streamline procedures as well as for assistance in initiating and planning projects in the region. The entity may serve both aviation and tourism industries, but also government authorities.

Currently 12 international aviation and travel journalists as well as a TV crew are accredited. They are coming from the USA (4), Canada, the UK, Spain, Switzerland, Barbados, St. Lucia and Trinidad. The conference will have a professional photographer on duty to support the media representatives. A videographer will cover the conference events and presentations. A selection of videos will become available on a YouTube channel of the Meetup.

The conference venue is Sonesta Maho Beach Resort Casino and Spa. Participants are offered a special corporate room rate. Further detailed information like speaker profiles, conference registration, hotel reservation, etc., can be found on the website www.caribavia.com .

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