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impressions of the 2017 Caribbean Aviation Meetup that was held on St.Maarten
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The 4th annual CARIBBEAN AVIATION MEETUP will again offer an outstanding program that all participants will enjoy and can benefit from. We are in the process of selecting presentation topics and appropriate speakers.

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Joao Gabriel Amado


topic: Destination Tourism Product Development

Gabriel Amado is the President of the United Tour Operators Foundation and the CEO/Founder of 'Island-Sightseeing' brand in South Florida and the Caribbean as well as the 'Iberian-Tours' brand in Lisbon, Portugal. He has a track record of success, passion for his activities, and a clear vision for future developments in area of tourist transportation.

In the field of tourism transportation, Gabriel's expertise includes product development, cruise line contract negotiations, shore excursions organization, crafting exclusive one-of-a-kind experiences, as well as transportation inspections and certification. His business values and quality standards are high. For one, because the requirements and demands of cruise lines are also high before they will make service contracts or recommendations to their cruise passengers. He designs unique shore excursions for some of the members of the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA).

Gabriel has 20+ year of experience on the Tourism sector, been practically raised by the industry while living at a residence vacation resort in Troia, Portugal, dedicated to offering the concierge teams his services of crafting exclusive one-of-a-kind experiences since then.

Gabriel received his naval officer training at the Portuguese Naval Academy as a computer engineer and finished his degree with a scholarship into MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Cambridge, MA, USA.

In Portugal, he founded a systems integration company that, over a period of ten years, helped many businesses to grow through technology, not just in the tourism and aviation sectors but also in other industry segments. During that period, he was elected to be part of the Leading Team as Secretary of Business Network International (BNI), where he learned and evangelized with Dr Ivan Misner the "Givers gain" philosophy, and other network business philosophies and good practices.

In 2012, he expanded his tourism operations to the Caribbean; after having surveyed most islands, he chose Sint Maarten as hub.
Besides his business activities, Gabriel is lecturing Entrepreneurship and Business Management at the University of St.Maarten

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Maurice Best

Ottawa, ON, Canada

topic: Airport Master Planning: Benefits and Trends

Maurice Best is Senior Associate, Transportation, (Aviation & Defense)at STANTEC. He and his multidisciplinary team specialize in the delivery of airport engineering including military airfields. Maurice manages and delivers a variety of complex projects for public and private sector clients - ranging from large maintenance facilities to new airports. He participates in studies requiring knowledge of airport design criteria and airport operations, and is well versed with ICAO, IATA, Transport Canada, and FAA aviation standards.

Stantec has successfully completed significant projects at various major airports throughout the Caribbean including at the Lynden Pindling International Airport, Nassau, Bahamas, Grantley Adams International Airport, Christ Church, Barbados, Norman Manley International Airport, Kingston, Jamaica and Owen Roberts International Airport, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands. Stantec airport projects have been completed at over 200 airports worldwide. The company unites more than 22,000 employees, working in over 400 locations across 6 continents.

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Christiern Broberg

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

topic: Heliports

Christiern Broberg is Technical Director at the Dominican Airport Authority, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He developed a new Heliport for Santo Domingo that was recently opened.

The Dominican Republic has 13 airports. Christiern is responsible for supervision of projects, operation, airport services and maintenance of the Dominican airport system, including airport projects review and regulatory framework application. He manages all technical aspects of the Dominican Airport Authority. He is also responsible for the coordination and supervision of CAPEX (Capital Expenditure) projects, operations and maintenance of 4 national airports and 2 heliports.

Over 25 years in the Dominican Republic's airport industry, he played various roles and responsibilities at different public and private companies, covering planning, design, construction, and supervision of airports projects, ensuring safe, efficient and profitable execution, fulfilling international standards.

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Mico Cascais

Ft. Lauderdale, USA

topic: Re-Energizing Destination Marketing

Mico Cascais is Principal at Mico Cascais, Inc. Mico was a Vice President at Carnival Cruises; a former cruise executive with 30 years of shipboard and corporate management experience and for the past 20 years directly responsible for the Shore Excursion Experiences programs available to Carnival's cruise guests. He had also chaired the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association's Shore Excursions Committee.

Currently, Mico is working as an independent consultant directly with valued destinations and stakeholders alike to reach their true potential, identifying the authentic collectable experiences each destination has to offer, and rejuvenating current experiences to exceed visitors' and tourists' expectations. Mico wants to help Caribbean destinations 're-energize' and is now sharing his expertise with them. He will talk freely and widely about what is happening in the industry and how it relates to developments at destinations. "Whatever a destination's story, there is plenty of opportunity to bring it out. And people spend more in a destination if they're engaged. Right now, there's a lot of money being left on the table," according to Mico Cascais and he hopes to help destinations 're-energize' and change.

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Rob Ceravolo

Miami, USA

topic: Airlift Negotiations with Caribbean Governments

Robert Ceravolo is CEO of Tropic Ocean Airways.

Tropic Ocean Airways is a seaplane company based in Lauderdale International Airport and also operating from the Miami Seaplane Base. With a fleet of 12 aircraft, Tropic operates both wheeled Cessna Saravans and Seaplanes offering seaplane charters and scheduled service to destinations throughout Florida, the Bahamas, and beyond including New York. It also offers the flexibility and convenience of transporting guests to a dock, beach, or even directly to a yacht.

Lt.Cdr. Rob is a US Navy fighter pilot with 10 years of active duty, Rob was awarded two Air Medals for missions flying the F-14 Tomcat in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. After two aircraft carrier deployments and a transition to the F-18E Super Hornet, Rob transferred to shore duty to become an Adversary Instructor in the F-5N in Key West, FL. While still on active duty, Rob attended the Navy's prestigious TOPGUN Fighter Weapons School Adversary course, returning to his squadron as an air combat instructor. Transitioning to the Naval Reserves in 2011, Rob became the CEO of Tropic Ocean Airways.

Rob holds a degree in Business Administration of the University of Florida

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Jorge C. Colindres

Miami, USA

topic: Aircraft Registry

Jorge Colindres is the Chairman & Founder at The Registry of Aruba & San Marino Aircraft Registry.

Jorge Colindres has 25 years of varied aviation expertise ranging from aircraft sales and acquisitions to aircraft certification and regulation. He founded the International Air Safety Office (IASO) in 1994; based in Miami, Florida. The company is dedicated to offering consulting services for the safety oversight of Civil Aviation Authorities, including: airline start-up, certification and conformity, aircraft airworthiness, inspection and registration. Mr. Colindres is a visionary in the field of offshore aircraft registration, as his company was the first company in the world to privately manage a Civil Aviation Authority Registration Program. IASO has been working with the Government of Aruba since the company's formation in 1994, and they recently signed an extended term agreement the Government of San Marino to provide their government with a similar service.

Combined, the Registry of Aruba and the San Marino Aircraft Registry's list of clientele includes several Heads of State, members of Royal Families and high-profile customers around the world. Mr. Colindres takes pride in both the unique relationship which he maintains with his clientele and in his pristine reputation throughout the aviation industry. The total number of aircraft sold and registered since the formation of the company totals in the hundreds.

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Nils Dufau

Gustavia, St.Barth

topic: St.Barth Exclusive Summit

Nils Dufau is the Vice President of the Collectivity de St. Barthélemy and President of the St. Barth Tourism Committee. Nils will be coordinating and moderating the St.Barth Exclusive Summit (limit 12 persons) on luxury tourism and its clientele.

St. Barth is sometimes called the St Tropez of the Caribbean. Touristically, the island is well-developed and there is no need to grow more; it is necessary to sustain and retain. The philosophy is not to develop tourism, but rather to develop quality. It is vital for locals and tourists alike that there is not more in quantity, but quality is something that can always be improved.

Dufau himself is half-French and half-Swedish, a combination that would seem to qualify him perfectly for a role in the government of this semi-autonomous part of France. In the past it was first French territory, then it became Swedish for about 100 years and then it became French again.

Nils Dufau had been homeschooled by his parents on a boat as they hopped from island to island experiencing the Caribbean. Once they set foot on St. Barth, the islands Swedish and French culture set in and the Dufau's knew this would be their new home. Nils eventually went back to Sweden where he went to university. His heart drew him back to St. Barth. He shares his love of the island with the rest of the world through his work as the President of the St. Barth Tourism Committee.

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Ramesh Ghir

Georgetown, Guyana

topic: Airport Challenges, Opportunities and Future

Ramesh Ghir is CEO of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) serving Georgetown, Guyana.

Since 2002, Ramesh Ghir (B.Sc, MBA, IAP, PMC, PMP, AvMP) has been CEO of the airport.
He is also Head at the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority.

The Cheddi Jagan International Airport is undergoing major expansion works, which has seen new and improved arrival and departure areas being built. The airport's runway has also been extended to accommodate larger aircraft. In the one-year period 2017-2018 the airport has seen a seven per cent increase in passenger movements.

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Giselle Hollander

Willemstad, Curacao

topic: Caribbean Airlift Policy Approaches and Strategies

Giselle Hollander is the Director of the Sector of Traffic and Transport at the Ministry of Traffic, Transport and Spatial Planning of the Government of Curacao

Under her direction are:
The Curacao Civil Aviation Authority,
The Organization of Traffic Safety and (Public) Transport,
The Meteorological services of Curacao,
The Maritime Authority of Curacao.

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Cleatus P. Hunt Jr.

Dallas, TX, USA

topic: U.S. Preclearance

Cleatus Hunt is Area Port Director at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He is leading the negotiations and supervising the U.S. Preclearance for Sint Maarten international Airport.

Mr. Hunt has served as the Director of Preclearance Expansion for the 2016 solicitation period, and in temporary capacities as the Acting Director of Preclearance operations and Assistant Port Director for passenger operations in Miami. He is currently serving as the Area Port Director for the Area Port of Dallas, where he has oversight of CBP operations at the Dallas/Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin, Midland, Lubbock, and Amarillo Ports of Entry (POE) in Texas, as well as the Tulsa and Oklahoma City Ports of Entry in Oklahoma.

Prior to reporting to Dallas, he served as the Port Director in Phoenix, Arizona overseeing Customs and Border Protection operations at Sky Harbor International Airport and Scottsdale and Phoenix/Mesa Gateway user fee airports.

Cleatus began his Federal government career in 1992 with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. Until 2014, he served in various capacities and worked in six locations across the USA and in Canada. While serving at CBP Headquarters he managed numerous agency programs and initiatives such as the National Security Entry Exit Registration System, expansion of arrest authority program, and oversight of the Foreign Language Awards Program.

Mr. Hunt is a graduate of the DHS Fellows Leadership Development Program 2014 cohort. Upon graduation Mr. Hunt was selected as the first recipient of the Derek T. Jensen memorial award in recognition of his uncompromising professionalism, compelling leadership and endearing humility. He is also an alumni of the CBP Leadership Institute, cohort 1502. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

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Rafael Alberto Smith Ortega

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

topic: Airport; Balancing Passenger's Growth With Customer Experience

Alberto Smith is the Director of Operations & Cargo at Punta Cana International Airport

Punta Cana is a privately-owned airport and handles 7,3 million passengers annually on 21,4468 flights coming from 90 airports of 28 countries. It is the second busiest airport in the Caribbean behind San Juan PR (8 million). Punta Cana has 2 runways, 27 gates, 30 aircraft parking and 3 VIP lounges. It even has a swimming pool in a restricted area.

Prior to be part of the Airport Team, Alberto was the Director of Operations at Cap Cana, the largest Real State project at the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean offering 5 Start Hotels, Fine Restaurants, Golf Courses and other attractions. 20 years of experience in hotels business in management’s positions in different countries throughout the Caribbean and South America support his background in the Hospitality industry.

He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality Management Administration from the Universidad Iberoamericana (Unibe), an MBA – FIU in International Business, an Advance Hospitality Management Certification from the Cornell University. Last but not least, in 2011 was certified by the Airport Management Professional Accreditation Programme (AMPAP) sponsored by the Airport Council International (ACI) as an International Airport Professional (IAP) becoming part of a very exclusive elite of airport professionals around the world.

Member of the World Facilitation & Services Standing Committee (WF&SSC) at Airport Council International (ACI)

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Ir. Damien Richardson


topic: Caribbean Mesatic Spacelounge

Damien "Delano" Richardson is an architect and visionary. He is the Chairman of the Social Economic Counsel of St. Maarten. He lectures 'Future of Technology in the Caribbean' at the University of St.Maarten, combining Caribbean Technology, Earth Studies and Space Studies.

In the past, he has done completeness checks for the FBO of Princess Juliana International Airport, prepared improvement strategies for the airport's cultural presence and prepared a renovation concept for their executive lounge. In the Netherlands, Damien was involved in a study project called 'VASSO' which reviewed the composition of main ports with an airport as a center feature and a focus on global logistics, regional planning and space tourism.

Damien succesfully participated in multiple international architectural senior prize-winning competitions, such as the Guggenheim Museum Competition in Helsinki Finland, the Nashville Tennessee Design Action Competition, and the Monument of the Immortals in Greece.

Richardson is a graduate of TU Delft School of Architecture in the Netherlands with a Master's of Science degree with honors in Architectural Design. He graduated from a 3-year Air Force Reserve Officers' Training (ROTC), a university-based officer training program, at the Florida Air Academy, Melbourne, FL and was commander of the National Award winning Drill Team.

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Jorge Roldan

Bogota, Colombia

topic: Panel Discussion Textron Cessna Aircraft

Jorge Roldan is the Regional Sales Director - Latin America at Textron Aviation, Wichita, KS, USA.

Textron Aviation accounts for more than half of all general aviation aircraft flying. Their broad range of products include Cessna Citation business jets, Beechcraft King Air and Cessna Caravan turboprops, Beechcraft and Cessna piston engine aircraft and the T-6 military trainer aircraft. Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) is a $14.2 billion company, with a worldwide presence supported by 35,000 people in more than 25 countries.

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Warren Thompson

Winnipeg, MB, Canada

topic: Airport Master Planning: Benefits and Trends

Warren Thompson is Principal, Programs & Business Solutions at STANTEC

Warren is an accredited airport executive, skilled strategist, certified management consultant, and big-picture thinker. He provides strategic, business, and planning advice on challenging municipal and airport projects throughout Canada, the US, and the Caribbean.

He's led the Stantec teams in the 27-airport Yukon Aviation System review recommendations (for a 20-year plan) and an optimization strategy for 28 Family Islands Airports (for the Bahamas Government). That included ICAO compliance, capital investment requirements, market assessment, and activity forecasts to prioritize government investment strategies.

He's past chair of the Assiniboia Chamber of Commerce, President of the Institute of Certified Management Consultants of Manitoba, and on the boards of both the International Association of Airport Executives (Canada) and the American Association of Airport Executives (Great Lakes chapter).

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Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace

Nassau, Bahamas

topic: Friendly Skies; Liberalizing Airlift in the Caribbean

Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace is Principal Partner of the Bedford Baker Group, a collection of independent professional advisers offering services in Travel, Tourism and Hospitality. He was Minister of Tourism and Aviation of The Bahamas. He was Secretary General & CEO of the CTO, Caribbean Tourism Organization. He is a much sought after speaker and advisor to both private companies and governments in the tourism and hospitality arena

Vincent has been the principal architect of policies to ensure robust public-private sector cooperation in all of his initiatives as a result of bringing a unique perspective to the growth and development of businesses and destinations that rely on hospitality for their profitability and their economies. His tenure covered the best performing years in Bahamas tourism whether measured by total visitors, by hotel visitors, by cruise visitors, by tourism revenues or by levels of visitor satisfaction.

Mr. Vanderpool was named one of the 50 most influential people in Caribbean Tourism in the past 50 years, selected by Fast Company magazine as one of the Fast 50 global champions of innovation, selected as Person of the Year for the Caribbean by Travel Agent magazine named as one of the most extraordinary minds in Hospitality & Travel by the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association (HSMAI) and being recognized for Lifetime Achievement by both HSMAI and the Association of Travel Marketing Executives International (ATME). In 2009, he was included in Her Majesty the Queen's Birthday Honours List and awarded a CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) for his contributions to Tourism. More recently, he was selected to serve as a member of the Executive Committee of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA).

People who worked with him in the past described him as "an erudite, results-oriented and well-read individual with a passion for performance and modernization. A natural leader, he readily embraced technology, statistics and a clarity of vision to inspire colleagues at CTO to strive for excellence. His knowledge of tourism marketing is encyclopedic and exemplary but he never lost the common touch and always looked out for rank and file staff."

Vincent holds a bachelor's degree of Harvard University and an MBA of the University of Miami.

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Geraldine F. Wright

Kingston, Jamaica

topic: Route Planning

Geraldine Wright is Manager - Airlift at JAMVAC (Jamaica Vacations Ltd) which is a government agency of the Ministry of Tourism of Jamaica.

JAMVAC is a unique organization created to support airlift into Jamaica for the tourism industry. Its role is seen as integral to achieve Ministry of Tourism's "5 - 5 - 5" equation, i.e. 5% industry growth over next years to realize over 5 million stopover arrivals. JAMVAC is instrumental in working with tour operators and airlines to create the conditions for accelerating the rate of growth of visitor numbers to Jamaica. The agency provides, protects and increases the airlift capacity on both schedule and charter routes by working with existing and potential new carriers to create sufficient capacity on each route.

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Dr. Chrystal Zhang

Melbourne, Australia

topic: Airport Positioning and Marketing and Hubbing Strategies

Dr Chrystal Zhang is Senior Lecturer, Research Director, HDR Adviser at the Swinburne University of Technology, Faculty of Science, Engineering & Technology School of Engineering, Department of Aviation, Melbourne, Australia

With a PhD in Air Transport Management from Cranfield University, Chrystal has developed her expertise throughout her 27 years of industry experience working in both public and private sectors including governments, world-renowned aviation consultancy firms, and high education institutions worldwide. She has expertise in Airline Business Models (Full Service Carriers and Low-Cost Carriers), Open Skies and Airline Liberalization, Airport Positioning and Marketing and Hubbing Strategies, Pilot Licensing, Air Travelers Behavior and Impact on safety and Wellbeing, Cabin Safety, Flight Training, with specific hands-on competence in Airline Licensing, Foreign Investment in Airline/Airport Industry, and Route Development. Chrystal is an accredited to supervise Masters & Doctoral students as Principal Supervisor.

Before joining Swinburne University in 2011, she was Director of Greater China of the Route Development Group Ltd (including both Routes and ASM, currently part of UBM/OAG), looking after the group's business strategy and operation in Chinese market. She led the multicultural team to provide strategic advice to high-caliber clients of aviation and tourism industry and local governments.

Prior to that, she was Business Development Manager and Consultant of Mango Aviation Partners, a boutique firm specializing in advising low cost start-ups. Before that, she worked for Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) specializing in bilateral air service agreement negotiation and implementation, route licensing and airline alliances. She has tens of publications in high-impact refereed journals and has spoken widely at seminars and conferences.

She appears often in Australia and Chinese media commenting on airline/airport strategic issues. She has been active in Aviation/Aerospace Australia (A/AA) since 2011 and is now an Executive Committee member of Women in Aviation/Aerospace Australia (WA/AA). She is a Board member of Agri-nomics Australia Pty.

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speakers will be added when confirmed
twenty five presentations are planned for the program

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