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BlueSky Business Aviation News | CARIBAVIA Special Issue | 24th June 2021

CARIBAVIA '21 Special Issue
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International Business and Private Aviation Industry News

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St Maarten:

CARIBAVIA: An Unconference

Kathryn Creedy

Regular attendee Kathryn B. Creedy highlights why this meet up is so unique.

CARIBAVIA, now in its sixth year, was once again an intimate gathering where, according to one participant, the 60-ish participants walk in as strangers but become a tight family, excitedly contributing their talents and ideas to improving Caribbean airlift. This year was no exception.

The conference has grown over the years, usually with many more attendees than those able to travel in this second pandemic year.

The entire conference is designed around achieving the vision of Cdr. Bud Slabbaert and airing some of the issues which hinder economic and aviation development.

“I see developing an aviation resource center with workshops and webinars for periodic events to connect islanders with experts from around the world and vice versa,” Slabbaert told the assembled participants at the start of the meeting. “I’d like to see that develop into a research and development center for aviation and I’d like to see an institute of higher learning.”

Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications, Ludmilla De Weever with CARIBAVIA founder and organiser, Cdr. Bud Slabbaert.

Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications, Ludmilla de Weever with CARIBAVIA Chairman and Coordinator, Cdr. Bud Slabbaert.

His vision also includes creating an air traffic control and aviation training center all geared toward creating on-island and in-region opportunities for young people.

Slabbaert’s energy and talent for collecting the right individuals in the room defies the usual lecture model. Speakers do not make presentations so much as they prompt conversations that build on each other in a crescendo of ideas on what needs to be done and how to do it.


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Caribbean Friendly Skies

Cdr. Bud Slabbaert

By Cdr. Bud Slabbaert, CARIBAVIA Chairman and Coordinator,.

Have you ever heard of the ‘Caribbean Friendly Skies’, an airlift concept where all the flight connections are fast, the schedules are efficient, the flight attendants are beautiful, the pilots are good looking, the assistance of the ground staff is above average, the fares are affordable, and the flying convenience is superlative?

This concept is a secret tip in air transportation. So secret that very few people envisioned that it could even exist in the Caribbean. It is a beyond-average program that creates a new image for air transportation in the region.

The ‘Caribbean Friendly Skies’ prioritizes achieving the benefits of having better service, efficiency, and affordability. If governments are interested in growth and development through increased travel and trade, they would be well advised to cooperate and support such a concept. If they don’t, well . . . , then they are showing that they are not an appealing destination and should just step aside. Nothing should delay or hinder ‘Caribbean Friendly Skies’.

The ‘Caribbean Friendly Skies’ concept puts the perspectives and interests of the end-users first. For instance, the tourists who are fueling the economy revenues for 50-85%. Any authority that is a hurdle in economic development may not be serving its community in an intelligent manner.


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St Maarten:

Luxury Training or a Lifesafer?

By Kelly Murphy.

The critical importance of cockpit resource management (CRM) was underlined by Captain Kristina Tervo during her session covering the background, concept and objectives of this essential tool for crews in commercial and business aviation operations.

Defining CRM as an effective use of all available resources for flight crew personnel, Kristina, who is pilot, trainer and director of Wolston Sky, stressed its necessity to assure a safe and efficient operation, reducing error, avoids stress and increases efficiency.

Drawing on her 20-plus years of flying experience at Emirates and a long list of business aviation operations including Falcon 20/50 and HS-125 aircraft, Kristina is a long-time trainer of CRM for crews around the world. Listing nearly 20 domains for CRM training, she explained how it affects areas such as threat and error management, decision making, communication, standard operating procedures, situational awareness as well as fatigue and stress.

Tervo cited a number of case studies that through analysis highlighted the need for better CRM in the flight deck and if used properly could have avoided a crash or incident. She summarized her presentation with the suggestion that the last line of defence can be the proper use of CRM with awareness, airmanship, and suspicion creating an environment of resilience in the cockpit.

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St. Maarten:

St Maarten Airport courts new airlines at Routes Americas

By Alison Chambers.

“We are looking forward to attending the route development forum Routes Americas this week 23-25 June, in Orlando, Florida,” said Princess Juliana Airport’s COO Michel Hyman.

Marketing and sales representatives are meeting with existing carriers and have also extended requests to carriers in Europe, South America and Canada. “We want airlines to know that we are very much open for business.”

Highlighting there is a growing need for charter, bolstered by an uptick in cruise traffic and a rise in ‘home porting’ new start airline Miami based GlobalX has recently obtained its Part 121 operator certificate to start flights, not just from Florida, but from other US destinations to St Maarten. The company just acquired its first Airbus A320 and is scheduled to receive five of the type by year end.

Home porting is a growing trend where airlines make direct contracts with the cruise lines. Through using charter services they can bring in guests and employees earlier, creating economic benefits to each of the ports and countries, Bryan Winters, MD of Aero Attorney Group highlighted at CARIBAVIA.

St Maarten would love a direct service from the UK. “Every year we meet with British Airways and Virgin (Atlantic). For some reason they are more set on the former UK colonies’, but we have a good relationship with them and will try once again to entice direct flights,” Hyman added.

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Melbourne, Florida:

SD bolsters Plane Simple Ku-band antenna progress with installation on Falcon 2000LX

Ahead of the in-person AEA International Convention & Trade Show, Dallas 22- 25 June, Satcom Direct - booth 617 - confirms it is building on the success of initial aerial testing of its Plane Simple antenna series with the installation of the advanced technology tail-mount antenna on a second aircraft type, the SD Dassault Falcon 2000LX.

The antenna is already equipped on the SD Gulfstream G350 and has performed beyond expectation demonstrating the system’s proficiency to efficiently enable true broadband experience during some 100-plus flights.

The addition of the Dassault platform to the validation process will double testing capacity to give direct comparative feedback about the system’s full capabilities.

“Adding a second platform will serve to further verify the benefits of integrating the new advanced technology antenna with the already proven SD ecosystem of hardware, software and terrestrial infrastructure. Our mission is to analyse the performance and deliver a powerful, reliable, validated, connectivity solution to our early adopter customers,” says Chris Moore SD President of business aviation.


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Danbury, Connecticut:

Global Jet Capital debuts new business aviation market forecast with insights through 2025

Global Jet Capital, a global leader in financial solutions for business aircraft, has announced its first-ever Business Aviation Market Forecast.

This expansive forecast contains projections through 2025 for the business aviation market, including new deliveries and pre-owned transactions. The report contains a high level of detail based on outputs generated by Global Jet Capital’s proprietary transaction forecast model.

“Business aviation is a unique market with limited macro data sets that can be taken at face value, but there are always far richer stories that lie beneath - aircraft by aircraft, jurisdiction by jurisdiction, client by client.

We’ve dedicated ourselves to understanding those richer storylines and fundamentals through this unique transaction model and other data analytics,” said Andrew Farrant, Chief Marketing Officer.


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Bermuda Civil Aviation Authority

Liam Byrne

Liam Byrne

The Bermuda Civil Aviation Authority (BCAA), home to the world’s largest offshore aircraft registry, is pleased to announce the appointment of Liam Byrne as the Director of Business Development.

Liam joins BCAA from the UK CAA, where he led business development activities in all key markets as Senior Manager International Development within CAA International. Previously, he has held senior positions in the airline and aviation consultancy industries across a career of over 25 years.

As Director of Business Development, Liam will be responsible for driving the strategic direction and business development activities of the Bermuda Aircraft Registry while managing a team, which includes another recent hire to BCAA, Kyle James as Business Development Manager. Together they will guide the Bermuda Aircraft Registry’s customer experience from introduction through to completion of aircraft registration.

Liam’s passion for aviation and proven experience will help to strengthen existing relationships globally, as well as develop new ones in key markets where there is opportunity for growth.

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WINGX Global Market Tracker:

Europe´s first day of summer sees activity back up to 2019 levels

  WINGX Global Market Tracker

There were 2,634 business jet and turboprop sectors flown in Europe on June 21st, 2021, according to WINGX`s weekly Global Market Tracker published today, 95% busier than the summer solstice last year, and almost exactly matching June 21st, 2019.

For the first three weeks of June, business aviation activity in Europe is down only 1% vs June 2019. That trails the global trend, with worldwide business aviation activity 7% higher in June 2021 than in June 2019. Scheduled airline activity is picking up but still 40% behind compared to 2019.

Focus on bizav arrivals into Caribbean destinations for this week's special CARIBAVIA issue.

Focus on bizav arrivals into Caribbean destinations for this week's special CARIBAVIA issue.

full report

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St. Maarten:

Business Aviation growing in importance in St Maarten

By Alison Chambers.

  Alison Chambers

St. Maarten is growing in importance as a hub for business aviation as elite travellers connect to regional carriers such as St. Barth Commuter and Winair to get to the region’s nearby islands.

Private aviation specialist Adam Twidell, participating from the UK, noted that private aircraft benefit St. Maarten caterers, fuelers and hotels. Similarly, the same facilities benefit from yacht provisioning, with 65% of private aviation traffic connecting to yachts which then head to St. Barts.

A managed ExecuJet aircraft lands at St. Maarten.

A managed ExecuJet aircraft lands at St. Maarten.

In fact, the region’s focus on connecting North American and European tourists really puts locals at a competitive disadvantage as they try to conduct inter-island business.


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St. Maarten:

Seaplane Services alleviate Gateway congestion

By Kathryn B. Creedy.

Using seaplane or amphibious aircraft to create better access and ease of travel around the Caribbean is a firm mission of Tropic Ocean Airways.

“The Caribbean lacks the last-mile strategy - getting people around the Caribbean,” said CEO Rob Ceravolo. “Right now, Caribbean hubs are chokepoints. A 20-minute flight between islands is not worth it if you get stuck for an hour-and-a-half in customs and immigration processing.”

Tropic Ocean Airways Caravan prepares to depart from Grand Case Airport, St Maarten.

He noted that right now the infrastructure can’t scale up for the connectivity needed around the region.

“Land is scarce and if you build a runway on Walker’s Key, for example, you’ll take half the island away. What these islands don’t need is more development, they need preserving, so the answer is not expanding runways to accommodate larger aircraft because these islands can’t support mass tourism.”

eVTOL opportunities


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St. Maarten:

CARIBAVIA highlights Caribbean inter-connectivity, lower fares

Trevor Sadler was forced into a circuitous routing to get from his base on the Island of Turks & Caicos to St. Maarten, but his experience is excruciatingly familiar to those traveling around the Caribbean, writes Kathryn Creedy.

What made his experience more frustrating was the fact that Sadler is the CEO of InterCaribbean Airways.

InterCaribbean Airways CEO, Trevor Sandler.

InterCaribbean Airways CEO, Trevor Sadler.

“I couldn’t get here on my own airline,” he told attendees at this year’s CARIBAVIA Summit. “I had a choice when I got to Miami. I could take a flight that left four hours after I arrived in the US and pay an extraordinary sum of money, or I could spend the night and leave at 6:00 a.m. the next morning. But that flight was a connection over Charlotte. So, I had to fly to Charlotte in order to get to St. Maarten. That is a perfect example of what getting around the Caribbean is all about.”


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St. Maarten:

Industry Fighting Illegal Charters

By Kathryn B. Creedy

With the uberization of private aviation and advanced private aviation booking technology, the private aviation industry is working to stem the growth of illegal charters that threaten the lives of the passengers who book them.

On the frontlines is the US National Air Transportation Association (NATA) whose Senior Vice President Ryan Waguespack spoke at last week’s CARIBAVIA conference.

“Illegal charters have become one of the top issues in private aviation,” he told conference attendees. “The best practices for private aviation are clashing with the sharing economy culture. With the pandemic and the rise in popularity of private aviation as passengers avoid commercial airlines, we’ve seen a significant uptick. We were getting three or four reports per month prior to the pandemic and it is now four to five a week.”

The problem is so acute an illegal charter task force was set up in 2018 to quantify the issue and create education campaigns for industry and users.


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St. Maarten:

Understanding the niche market of Heli-Yachting

By Kelly Murphy.

Describing herself as ‘a third-culture kid’ growing up in France with a German mother and English father (Nigel Watson, founder of Luviair, Isle of Man based aircraft management and consultancy) Emma Watson took CARIBAVIA attendees through the nuances of heli-yachting to understand the inter-relations between the Caribbean, Cote d’Azur, helicopters and yachts.

As Managing Director of HeliRiviera Caribbean, Emma explained the company’s focus is to support individuals and corporations who want to co-ordinate their helicopter, yacht and villa operations.

Understanding the niche market of Heli-Yachting

An Airbus Corporate Helicopters' ACH125

Providing logistics and services for the Mediterranean and the Caribbean, HeliRiviera is the home away from home for yacht-embarked helicopters and advance logistics centres for yacht crews.


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Sapphire Pegasus Awards:

Sapphire Pegasus Awards honours six of the best

To an ocean backdrop, the 2021 Sapphire Pegasus Awards for aviation excellence were presented on the roof top of the Simpson Bay Hotel Resort during a celebratory buffet dinner coinciding with CARIBAVIA.

Sapphire Pegasus Awards

(L to R): Andy Nixon MRO Insider; Curt Epstein, Aviation International News; Capt Kristina Tervo, Wolston Sky; Emma Watson, HeliRiviera / HeliCaribbean; Dr Patricia Ryan, Decision Services; Leif Ytterstad, DaVinci Inflight Training.

Based in Europe and led by Antonia Lukacinova, in the Western Hemisphere, the Awards are co-ordinated by Cdr Bud Slabbaert, CARIBAVIA conference chairman. Seth Miller, a top aviation influencer, announced the roll call of six professional recipients.

The Award Winners

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St. Maarten:

InterCaribbean eyes islands’ cargo success

By Seth Miller

  Seth Miller

Air cargo remains a strong market and carriers around the globe are looking for a piece of that desperately needed revenue.

InterCaribbean Airways, based in Turks & Caicos, is among them. The airline intends to launch a dedicated fleet of cargo aircraft serving the islands. It also hopes to further develop the region's air cargo market, with a focus on e-commerce and small business sales, writes Seth Miller.

InterCaribbean E120 Brasilias headed for a new role.

InterCaribbean E120 Brasilias headed for a new role.

The cargo opportunity comes at a convenient point in the company's 30-year history. It has grown from a niche operator serving Providenciales to a network carrier with hubs on four islands across the Caribbean.


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Bizav Newsreel

This week . . . . Cdr. Slabbaert on CARIBAVIA 2021

Cdr Bud Slabbaert lets Liz Moscrop know exactly how this year's seminal event on Saint Maarten went, post pandemic - and why sponsorship and attendance are so important.

Bizav Newsreel

video watch the video

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Our CARIBAVIA reporting team

The Emerald Network. From left to right: Kelly Murphy, Kathryn Creedy and Alison Chambers.

With grateful thanks to The Emerald Network.

From left to right: Kelly Murphy, Kathryn B. Creedy and Alison Chambers.

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St. Maarten:

St. Maarten Minister recognizes importance of airlift recovery

Kelly Murphy

By Kelly Murphy.

Ludmila de Weever, Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications of St. Maarten, opened the 5th Annual CaribAvia Summit & Retreat last week underlining the importance of having sustained airlift and reliable aviation partners to aid in economic recovery in the post-pandemic era.

“St. Maarten welcomes you,” de Weever said, adding “A thriving aviation sector in St. Maarten is indispensable for attracting investment to our shores.”

She emphasized the direct links between aviation and job growth and entrepreneurial opportunities on the island. “That’s why we took the bold, but measured, decision to re-open international airlift as early as was safely possible last year, in particular to the United States, our main tourism market,” de Weever said.

She noted June (week 23 of 2021) recorded the largest number of weekly arrivals with 22 aircraft on Saturday, June 12th compared to the previous weeks’ at 19 arrivals. In May 2021 destination visitors (21,949 persons) were 85% of May 2019 figures (25,905 persons). A majority of these visitors were from the United States.

Low fares and attractive animal tails will appeal to families. One of the newest Frontier Airlines Animal tails - Ted, the Sea Turtle.

Low fares and attractive animal tails will appeal to families. One of the newest Frontier Airlines Animal tails - Ted, the Sea Turtle.

Frontier Airlines will begin brand new service to St. Maarten in July 2021 which will bring additional US leisure travelers to the island.


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St. Maarten:

Opportunities abound in Caribbean for sustainability, recycling

By Kelly Murphy.

With a keen global interest in sustainable and economic development, Daniel Bachmann, President of Infinite Sky Channel in Cape Canaveral, Florida, highlighted aviation was essentially ‘born sustainable’ with three main factors including propulsion, materials, and structure (e.g., navigation and avionics).

While interest in sustainability and recycling has been only a seasonal interest - Christmas holidays and tax time - Bachmann, a former senior communications chief with Embraer Executive Jets said, “we are hoping to break that system,” suggesting the Netherlands is the country most interested in global sustainability.

He noted the sustainability journey includes obstacles in each of these steps - imaginable, desirable, and attainable to be sustainable.

Terms such as “metal to mantle” and “debris to décor” are becoming commonly used as companies around the world are focusing on sustainable development goals and reporting.


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St. Maarten:

Point Blanche prison officers join Island’s aviation summit - to learn etiquette

By Alison Chambers.

Seventy prison workers from the Point Blanche Detention Centre participated in this week’s CARBAVIA 2021 - to learn etiquette and the art of handling people, a unique engagement initiative facilitated by Anna Richardson, Minister of Justice, writes Alison Chambers.

Organiser Cdr Bud Slaebbert was initially surprised to receive interest in their participation, following the placement of a local advertisement inviting aviation participation. However, he responded positively. “Why not? We must be the first event organiser ever to adapt our programme for this unusual audience,” he said, resiliently changing the schedule for speaker Leif Ytterstad to accommodate a programme for the group, which spread over two days. “It turned out to be a great success and we will do it again,” said Bud.

Leif is Head Butler and Trainer in the Sky at Fort Lauderdale, FL. DaVinci Training, one of CARIBAVIA’s long term supporters and sponsors.


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The Emerald Network in collaboration with BlueSky News.

St. Maarten:

Umberto Vallino doesn’t want bizjet passengers lounging around

By Alison Chambers.

Successful FBO activity is characterised by seamless passenger dispatch - to an awaiting aircraft or arriving car - as quickly as possible, business development and marketing manager for Cote d’Azur Nice and Cannes Airports Umberto Vallino shared last week.

The difference is quite simple, he explained. Public transport/scheduled airline is the equivalent of the bus and train, the one the passenger waits for. Business aviation is the limousine, private car or taxi - where the aircraft waits for its passengers. And they don’t have to turn up hours before departure. Thirty minutes or less is the norm.

“The airport is never the destination for passengers,” Umberto told CARIBAVIA delegates. Passengers use business jets for time management. They want to get to their hotel, office or yacht as soon as possible. We remove all the hassle to let them achieve that.”

Successful FBOs, he says, are built around crew needs. They are the ones who often have to spend days, hours at the base. They want good amenities, areas for rest and relaxation, TV, connectivity, fresh coffee. In turn they have a lot of influence on which FBO a charter company or aircraft owner decides to use, if there is competition.

If the FBO is welcoming and looks after crew well this experience will be fed back to the operator or management company, said Umberto.

Proud if our FBOs are empty



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Coming this Fall: a reimagined Anguilla resort with its own fleet of jets

Resorts partnering with private jet companies has been a trend since last year with the increased COVID emphasis on privacy and personal space.

But a resort dispatching its own fleet of jets to ferry guests in from key US cities is something new. It will become a reality when Aurora Anguilla Resort & Golf Club opens on that Caribbean island in November.

Forbes' Laurie Werner, has the story

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Google News

Osprey Flight Solutions webinar:

Aviation and the COVID-19 Pandemic in 2021

Looking to the Future - how will the crisis reshape the industry?

As the world enters the next stage of its collective response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the aviation industry remains in a state of flux as pervasive travel restrictions and fears over the international spread of the virus continue to limit demand and capacity.

However, several key developments look set to bring significant changes, as well as additional opportunities and challenges for airlines, regulators and other key stakeholders as they seek to position themselves to make the most of these unprecedented developments.

Osprey Flight Solutions' sixth and final webinar in the series will be looking to the future to determine what long-term impacts the pandemic may have on both passenger transport and air cargo. From alterations to airport security procedures, to technological innovation, and changes in demand for international tourism and business travel, Osprey will explore which factors have brought about irreversible change to the global operating environment.

July 1st, 2021 12:00 PM UTC



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Stories you might have missed.

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Welcome to St. Maarten

Photo: Kathryn B. Creedy

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