Photos of 2019 GMAA Midsummer Golf Tournament

Thank you to all our 2019 Midsummer Golf sponsors for a great turnout and Tournament!

This year’s winner was AVBIZ Aerospace Ventures. Congratulations!

U.S.-Saudi Business Opportunities Seminar: CIVIL AVIATION INDUSTRY IN SAUDI ARABIA

U.S.-Saudi Business Opportunities Seminar

Saudi Arabia is undergoing a major economic transformation under the guidance of Vision 2030. Located in the heart of the Middle East and North Africa region with access to 400 million people, Saudi Arabia is set to become a global center for transportation and logistics services. With 27 airports and more than 91 million passengers per year, Saudi Arabia’s civil aviation sector is growing at a rapid pace. The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) is implementing a number of Public Private Partnerships to modernize services and is transitioning from operator to regulator. In 2018, GACA soft opened a major passenger terminal at Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International airport, one of the largest in the region.
The GACA leadership team will present projects and business opportunities related to:
  • Airport Design and Construction
  • Air Navigation Systems
  • Airport Management
  • Aviation Information Technology
  • Fire & Rescue
  • Air Traffic Control
  • Aviation Maintenance Systems
  • Airport Operation & Safety
  • Airport Concessions and Services
  • Cargo Facility Development and Management
  • Car Park Operators
  • Ground Handling
  • Airport Security
  • Workforce Training Development
Keynote Speaker: H.E. Abdulhakim bin Muhammad Al Tamimi, President, General Authority of Civil Aviation

Host: Edward Burton, President & CEO, U.S.-Saudi Arabian Business Council

Norwegian announces launch of Miami service in 2019

Low-cost carrier will begin London-Miami service in March

Norwegian, voted Europe’s best low-cost carrier the past six years in a row by the SkyTrax World Airline Awards, has announced it will begin first-ever service at Miami International Airport on March 31, 2019. The launch will give travelers a daily nonstop option between MIA and London Gatwick Airport, aboard Norwegian’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft that seats 344 passengers in a two-class configuration.

“I applaud Norwegian for adding Miami-Dade County to its growing network,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. “The United Kingdom is already our County’s fifth-busiest international travel market, and Norwegian’s new daily flights are sure to generate even more tourism from that region and from across Europe as well.”

Norwegian is the third international airline this year to schedule a Miami service launch in 2019. Moroccan national carrier Royal Air Maroc has announced it will launch the first-ever Miami-Casablanca route on April 3 – MIA’s first passenger flights to Africa since the year 2000 and Florida’s only nonstop service to the continent. On June 1, LOT Polish Airlines will begin four weekly flights to Warsaw – MIA’s first-ever service to Poland and the only nonstop route between Florida and Eastern Europe.

“We are honored by Norwegian’s decision to launch first-ever Miami service, which will soon provide our passengers with yet another nonstop travel option to Europe,” said Lester Sola, Miami-Dade Aviation Department Director and CEO. “We look forward to welcoming their award-winning service to MIA, where nearly one million passengers already travel to and from the United Kingdom annually.”

“South Florida is one of our most important markets in the U.S., and by moving our London service to Miami, we will become even more competitive and offer more South Florida residents more affordable flights to London and beyond, while we will also have access to many more opportunities, including cargo, “said Norwegian CEO and Founder, Bjørn Kjos. “We are very committed to this market, and look forward to increasing our presence at MIA in the future.”

Norwegian is the world’s fifth largest low-cost airline, carrying 33 million passengers in 2017. The airline operates more than 500 routes to over 150 destinations in Europe, North Africa, Middle East, Thailand, Caribbean, North and South America. Norwegian has a fleet of more than 150 aircraft, with an average age of 3.7 years.

2018 GMAA Christmas Mingler

This year we are supporting American Smile Plane (see below for details)
If you wish to participate, please bring a new toy for ages 1-15. All toys are welcome!

This Christmas we will visit again orphans in Puerto Rico affected by last year’s hurricane.

APEX in Profile: Janelle Anderson

Janelle Anderson
Vice-President, Global Marketing
American Airlines

Janelle leads all of American Airlines’ marketing efforts across advertising, brand, product development, promotions and sponsorships. Prior to joining the airline in March of this year, Anderson served as the vice-president of Shopper Marketing at PepsiCo, where she accrued 15 years of experience overseeing the cross-divisional marketing team for Frito-Lay, Pepsi Beverages and Quaker.

Location: DFW
Now watching: Billions
Years in the industry: Less than 1
Passport stamp you wish you had: Argentina
The future of flight will be: Magical

What’s your first travel memory? 
My first travel memory is of my grandparents traveling all over the world, bringing me back dolls from vastly different cultures. I was so intrigued; I could not wait to begin traveling myself.  

Did you choose the airline industry or did it choose you? 
After 15 years in CPG [Consumer Packaged Goods] with PepsiCo, the airline industry presented a wonderful new challenge, with an exciting, complex product. American Airlines offers an iconic brand to work with, along with a strong commitment to the front line, customer service and connecting people to the things that matter most to them.

What’s something that never ceases to amaze you about the industry? 
The magic of getting on an airplane for a few hours or many hours and being able to get off and be immersed in a completely different culture.

What are some of the roadblocks to innovation and how can they be overcome? 
Cost will continue to be an issue as we push to innovate. Because of the massive scale of American Airlines, even simple things increase costs, and while customers would love innovation, they don’t necessarily see the direct connection when they purchase a ticket.

What do you think is the most overlooked aspect of the passenger experience? 
Personalization. We have a tremendous amount of data on each customer, but we do not personalize the experience or service to the level we could.  

“I believe in leading from every seat, that the best ideas can come from anyone on the team.”

What leadership model will you adopt in your new role? 
I believe in leading from every seat, empowering both my team and the front line. My goal as a leader is to remove obstacles for the team. It is a servant leadership model with high expectations that the best ideas can come from anyone on the team.

What lessons are you bringing to American Airlines from your experiences at PepsiCo? 
I am hopeful that I can bring a number of lessons from brand positioning to innovative, growth-driven thinking, and discipline in tracking and measuring results. Maybe most importantly, I hope my leadership training will inspire the team to be high-performing.

Do you have any crazy ideas to improve the passenger experience? 
Many, but since I am so new, they are truly that – just crazy.  

What’s something that only a frequent flyer would understand? 
Delays happen, but you always treat the front line politely. We all know it’s not their fault that the weather is bad.

If you could sit next to anyone on a plane, who would it be? 
My nine-year-old daughter, Maya. It is so much fun to watch her experience travel, and I get very direct feedback about things that could change! 

“APEX in Profile: Janelle Anderson” was originally published in the 8.4 September/October issue of APEX Experience magazine.

2018 GMAA Gala and Golf Tournament Photos

GMAA Golf Tournament

Thank you to all our 2018 Golf sponsors for a great turnout and Tournament!

Photos from 2018 Gala’s Golf Tournament

Photos from 2018 Gala

President’s Address at the 91st Gala Award Ceremony

The following is a transcript from a speech given the 91st Gala Award Ceremony by GMAA President Aviv Tzur.

THANK YOU Mayor Gimenez for this tremendous honor and recognition for the GMAA. You are truly the “aviation mayor” and we look forward to working with you on projects in the future.

I would also like to acknowledge Mr. Lester sola, CEO of MIA, who is another strong ally of the GMAA.

Ladies and gentlemen, GOOD EVENING.

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the premier event of the aviation industry in South Florida – the GMAA 91st gala. For those of you that don’t know, this organization and its founders had a crazy idea 91 years ago: lets open an international airport, and so, one year later, MIA opened, and since then, it continues to be the economic engine of our region.

Tonight’s gala is all about RESPECT. As in R-E-S-P-E-C-T from the song by the late, great Aretha Franklin.

First, I would like to give thanks and respect today to my wonderful board of Directors, please stand up and be recognized.

I challenged this board last year, to exceed what was a record gala in 2017, and they came through. This gala is the largest ever in our history, so was the golf tournament yesterday, and that means that next year we would have more money to give scholarships to young men and women, who are dreaming to become pilots, technicians, Air traffic controllers or aircraft mechanics, but do not have the financial means to accomplish it. We, at the GMAA want to facilitate the fulfillment of their dreams, and pave the road for them to become the next generation of aviators.

The next RESPECT goes to the students. You know, I have been involved in the GMAA for a few years, but it wasn’t until this year, that I had the privilege to sit and interview these amazing men and women, and I feel so privileged to have done so. You need to listen to their life story, and understand their struggles, to know why for many of us this is a mission, and a labor of love.

Take for example LUCAS BOTAZINI, a young man who is a father of 3 beautiful girls. He has served our country for 10 years on the National Guard, and he is currently enrolled in BCC, and working toward getting his pilots license. Last year he was injured and suffered financial hardship, and that’s why we stepped in to help him in his pursuit of becoming a pilot.

Or how about FRANCIS PINEDA, who was born in Nicaragua. She got her AA at MDC, and currently is enrolled in BCC, pursuing an Aerospace Science degree. She is doing all this while working full time and volunteering at MIA. why? As she says: “I am an Aviation lover”. we awarded Francis a scholarship so she could pursue her dream and become an Air traffic Controller.

Every one of these guys, has a story. Some have changed their careers because they realized their calling is in Aviation. We have a bio-technologist who left a promising career, and works full time in an electronics store, but his dream is be a pilot. We feel that our mission is to support them.

Tonight, we also honor, and give RESPECT to this year’s award recipients. They have all reached the top of the mountain, when it comes to their respective careers.

How about one of my idols, Judge Jay Cristol, receiving today the Pioneer award. He has made a name for himself as a tough but fair bankruptcy court judge, who oversaw some of the largest airlines’ bankruptcies. He first flew in 1945, when he was the first eagle scout in Dade county. He became a Navy pilot, flew in Korea, and eventually got a law degree and became a judge. But first, he worked hard, parking cars, working in a hotel as a youngster to pay for flight lessons.

Or, Willard Shepard, recipient of the Rickenbacker award. We all know him as the 5-time Emmy award reporter on NBC6. But Will is also a retired Lt. Col. Airforce pilot with multiple combat missions, an attorney and a philanthropist. A very accomplished individual who has covered and supported the aviation industry for many years.

I met my friend, Luis Morell, recipient of the Glenn Curtiss Award, when he worked for a company called Northwings, 20 years ago, as a junior accountant. Today, Luis is the President of Heico repairs, an MRO with multiple locations which employs thousands of people. I can tell you, that did not happen overnight.

Just ask John Dietrich, who is COO of one of the largest cargo airlines in the world, and receiving the Juan Trippe award tonight. He started working for Atlas Air in 1999, as an assistant General Counsel. He got busy shortly after when Atlas hit some major road blocks. He has been climbing up the corporate ladder ever since then to reach his current position.

Finally, there is Michael Kasbar, recipient of the prestigious Wright brothers award, who today runs the largest public company in Florida, World Fuel Services, – $35 BILLION in revenues. As Mike tells it, he went for an interview as an assistant baker in his native Brooklyn. He has come a long way.

You will hear more about these amazing individuals later on in the evening, but there is a common thread: they all built themselves from the ground up. They all supported themselves, studied and worked hard, and had a steadfast pursuit of a dream.

Booker T. Washington said: “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.”

It’s a hard road, with many ups and downs, but to you, our scholarship recipients we say today: we support you, we believe in you, and one day in the future, you will stand here on this podium and accept an award for your life achievements. Give yourselves a round of applause for what you have achieved thus far. Finally, I want to give respect and love to a dear colleague and friend, Captain A.J. Tolbert who passed away untimely this year. A.J. was the Dean of the FMU aviation program, a retired AA pilot, and member of the GMAA board. We all miss A.J. who also embodied this spirit of overcoming obstacles and achieve the impossible. An educator who relentlessly pushed his students, to reach new heights. I urge you to watch a tribute video about his illustrious life coming soon on our web site.

And with that, I want to Thank you all, and enjoy the evening!