CARIBAVIA will gather airlift stakeholders on St. Maarten | SOUALIGA NEWSDAY

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) – On June 15-17, the 5th annual Caribbean Aviation Meetup, CARIBAVIA for short, will be held on St. Maarten at the Simpson Bay Resort. It will be the third time that conference is held on St. Maarten. In previous years, the event was also held on Dominica and The Bahamas. 

The CARIBAVIA conference is a “live” communication platform for all Airlift stakeholders. Airlift is the common denominator of the interests of stakeholders in aviation, tourism, business development and investment industries. It is equally important to government decision makers. CARIBAVIA tries to bring them all together for better understanding and increased collaboration. Matters like inter-island transportation issues and opportunities require increased attention since they are needed to prepare for future changes in the region. 

“Every speaker may be considered a consultant at no charge during the conference days. First, they make a presentation. We encourage town-hall type sessions and interaction with the audience, thus questions and answers. And after the presentation, there is always an opportunity to talk to them more privately on matters of special interest. The top value of the event is not just to sit and listen but rather to interact with these professionals and network,” commented Cdr. Bud Slabbaert, conference chairman and coordinator.  

“I’ll give you three examples,” Slabbaert continued, “The Vice-President of Frontier Airlines will join us from Denver, Colorado. His presentation will be the airline’s expansion in the Caribbean and network Planning. Frontier will start flying to St. Maarten in July. Dr. Patricia Ryan is considered the authority in the Americas on commercial revenue development at airports. She will make a presentation titled “Reimagining the Airport Concession Program”, but also present a half-day workshop on “Improving Customer Experiences”. The CEO of interCaribbean Airways will present on the “Development of Regional Air Transportation in the Caribbean”. interCaribbean has a destination network from Cuba and Bahamas in the North to Barbados in the South of the region. It expands its fleet and intends to connect additional destinations. We are bringing these people to St. Maarten in person and questions can asked ad hoc on location.” 

CARIBAVIA has assembled an audio-visual team of four young passionate and talented St. Maarteners. They will receive training in the use of the equipment (four cameras) and the event will be their “operation theater”. For this activity CARIBAVIA cooperates with the ‘Infinite Sky Channel’ based in Hollywood (LA/Beverly Hills) and their film industry professionals support their current and future audio-visual activities on St. Maarten and in the region. 

The DaVinci Inflight Training Institute of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida holds a full day workshop on the Monday prior to the conference titled ““Etiquette Protocol and Service Par Excellence”. which is suitable and appropriate for professionals who are active in client relations and service settings. The DaVinci management decided to support CARIBAVIA by offering this workshop which will benefit Caribbean professionals, operations be it on aircraft, at airports and FBOs, or in hospitality or tourism office operations. The DaVinci Training Institute has informed CARIBAVIA about its plans to sponsor a group of young students to attend a “NASA Space Youth Camp” whereby the student’s airfare and lodging are covered. 

The speaker who will join the conference on St. Maarten from the farthest away is a professional pilot from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. She is also a Yoga Instructor. During the 3 conference days, Hatha Flow Yoga sessions will be held on the beach of the conference venue. And that for early risers who want to be fit and prepared for the day. Seven in the morning, 30 minutes. If participants like it, the Yogi (=yoga instructor) may extend it to 45 or 60 minutes. A little more yoga and a little less breakfast may be good for some people. Never done before, not heard of either at any other aviation conferences. 

At the CARIBAVIA Welcome Dinner this year, Sapphire Pegasus Awards will be presented to six professionals for their outstanding performances and accomplishments. The Sapphire Pegasus Awards are a unique series of International Business Aviation Awards that are given to companies or individuals in the business aviation sector. The award events are held in Europe in the fall, and now on St. Maarten for the Caribbean and the Americas. 

Nine international aviation and travel journalists from Europe and the USA of media outlets like Robb Report, Aviation International News, Caribbean Journal, etc. are committed to join and cover the event. The international magazine BlueskyNews will create a special CARIBAVIA issue that goes to 55,000 subscribers by email on the Thursday following the event. 

CARIBAVIA is vigilant about the bio-security of all who are participating or involved in implementation of the event. It will consult and follow the directions regarding gatherings. It will explore the options to meet in well-aired or outdoor locations at the venue.