preview: schedulers & dispatchers conference 2019

January 8, 2019

SDC2019, which will be held in San Antonio, Texas form January 29 to February 1, is the must-attend event for FBOs, trip-planners, fuel-suppliers and anyone else involved in the scheduling and dispatching of business aircraft. Nick Klenske reports

Route and documentation planning, access to airspace and airports, managing risks in disruptive weather situations – all critical to a smooth and safe flight and all tasks falling onto the desk of the scheduler and dispatcher. As the role and responsibilities of the aircraft scheduler and dispatcher continues to grow, so too has the NBAA’s annual Schedulers & Dispatchers Conference.

As the premier professional development event for anyone with a foot in the world of scheduling and/or dispatching business aircraft, this year’s event will take place January 29 through February 1 in San Antonio, Texas. “Schedulers and Dispatchers is the place to be for Business Aviation and one of the top events for talking to our customers and suppliers,” says Jet Aviation Senior Vice President and General Manager of Regional Operations USA David Paddock. “At least from a US perspective, it is by far the most valuable event for all lines of our business, from FBOs to staffing, charter and MRO.”

With the aim of bringing attendees up-to-date on the latest information critical to the scheduling and dispatching job function, this year’s conference agenda was developed to help ignite the passion of Business Aviation professionals. In addition to visiting the exhibition, attendees can hear from a number of experienced industry experts about the skills and knowledge needed to succeed as a scheduler or dispatcher. Included on the agenda are sessions on how to better advocate for your flight department, develop an emergency response tabletop and recover from AGO. As always, there will be ample opportunities for attendees to ask questions, share best practices and network with industry colleagues.

Around the Exhibit Floor

According to the NBAA, SDC2019 will welcome over 2,900 attendees from 47 countries and all 50 states. It will also feature over 580 exhibitors, among which includes Jet Aviation. The company continues to expand and renovate its coast-to-coast network of US FBOs. “Our customers will soon find new or renovated facilities from Teterboro, New Jersey, to Van Nuys, California, and at Dallas, Texas, in between,” says Paddock. “We like to say we’re investing in our customers by ensuring our FBOs have the space, fixtures and capabilities to deliver the very best service to owners, passengers and flight crews – and their aircraft – no matter where their business flights take them.”

On the site at Teterboro where a building has already been razed, site preparation and utility relocation are about to give way to the start of construction on a 40,000 square-foot hangar that will include tenant offices. The hangar, which will be completed by mid-summer 2019, is designed to accommodate larger, current- generation aircraft and to provide additional ramp space. Meanwhile, across the country in Van Nuys, construction has begun on the foundations for an entirely new facility to replace the eight structures demolished earlier this year. The FBO will include 10,000 square feet of space for customer service. A new hangar will provide 42,250 square feet plus 10,000 square feet for offices. An adjacent hangar for Gulfstream operations will include 40,000 square feet and 20,000 square feet for offices.

Avfuel will be in San Antonio promoting their Avfuel Contract Fuel program, which gives schedulers and dispatchers access to competitive prices and more convenient fueling experience at the company’s over 3,000 global locations. The program also provides users with easy online account management with access to electronic invoices. If a problem does arise, the Avfuel Contract Fuel staff is available 24/7, 365 days a year.

“As a fuel supplier, it’s crucial to take advantage of SDC as a chance to interact face-to-face with the industry’s fuel-buying decision makers – the schedulers and dispatchers – and to display the benefits of flying within the Avfuel network,” says Avfuel Vice President Contract Fuel Jonathan Boyle. “After all, SDC is really all about awareness – making schedulers and dispatchers aware of the breadth of our locations and the benefit of flying to them and staying within the Avfuel Network.”

Speaking of fuel, Air BP will be on hand, likely highlighting its pioneering carbon offset program for Business Aviation. The initiative supports the aviation industry’s ambitious targets set by ICAO for achieving carbon neutral growth by 2020 and a 50% cut in total emissions by 2050 (relative to 2015). “We are offering our Business Aviation customers the opportunity to proactively work towards achieving the industry’s ambitious carbon reduction targets by offsetting the emissions from the aviation fuel used in their flights, as part of their wider carbon management programs,” says a company representative.

Per usual, Universal Weather & Aviation will have a large presence on the exhibition floor, showcasing their expansive suite of products and services. Unique to the realm of schedulers and dispatchers is the company’s FAA-approved FAR Part 65 aircraft dispatcher certification course. “First and foremost, the course is about safety, as the ultimate objective is to provide these future dispatchers with the information they need to get a flight safely from takeoff to its final destination,” says Universal Weather and Aviation Training Program Manager Gary Martin, who also leads the FAA Dispatcher Certification Course.

The 200-hour course can be completed entirely in a classroom or via a blended classroom and online option. For the later, students start by completing 136 hours of coursework online, after which they must pass the FAA’s written knowledge test. They then go to Universal’s headquarters in Houston to complete the final 64 hours of classroom work, which is followed by a practical test with an FAA examiner. Topics covered include: aviation weather, ATC, regulatory requirements, navigation systems, aircraft systems, emergency preparedness and communications procedures – among others.

In late 2017 Luxaviation made a move to expand its footprint in the lucrative US market by forming a strategic collaboration with the Paragon Aviation Group. The move combined Paragon’s 27 mainly US-based FBOs with Luxaviation’s ExecuJet chain of FBOs located across Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, India and the Middle East. Prior to the partnership, Luxaviation’s US operations was limited to a single FBO in Miami. Now they benefit from a presence in such places as Van Nuys, California and Englewood, Colorado. With the recent addition of Ross Aviation to the Paragon network, White Plains and Long Beach have been added to the list.

The International Contingent

Among the international contingent at SDC2019 will be TAG Farnborough Airport and Euro Jet Intercontinental. Speaking with TAG Farnborough at last year’s show in Long Beach, California, the company says they use the event as an opportunity to meet the people responsible for sending their corporate aircraft to the UK-based Business Aviation airport. “It’s actually a little harder to gain new business at the show as the majority of companies who operate in the UK already know us, either because they’re existing clients or are already familiar with our facilities,” said TAG Farnborough Airport Events and Marketing Manager Elaine Turner. “The SDC delegates are a great, enthusiastic group to work with and we love meeting both existing clients to gather feedback and informing any new clients of our unique airport and seeing what we can offer to make their visit more enjoyable and efficient.”

This is a sentiment that was echoed by Euro Jet. “Exhibiting at SDC is a unique opportunity for us to meet with our customers and business partners in a cozier setting,” says Euro Jet Marketing Manager   Žaneta Balochová. “Compared to NBAA-BACE, this is a much smaller show, meaning we have more time to spend with our customers.” Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the company is on track to have another record year, expanding its operations center, opening up new lounges and continuing to add more quality people and expertise to its team of aviation professionals.

Let’s Connect

As usual, SDC will also feature a heavy dose of connectivity. Expect Honeywell to be on hand with its lineup of cockpit upgrades, equipment to meet global mandates, inflight satellite communications technology, and much more. The company arrives hot off the release of its 27th annual Global Business Aviation Outlook, in which it forecast up to 7,700 new business jet deliveries worth $251 billion from 2019 to 2028 – up one to two percentage points from 2017’s 10-year forecast.

At NBAA-BACE in October, Rockwell Collins and Stellar Labs, Inc. announced that they were jointly developing a suite of integrated, cloud-based applications as a successor to Rockwell Collins’ ARINCDirectSM Flight Operations System (FOS). The solution features a modern architecture, intuitive and easy-to-use web interface and a set of cloud-based modules with powerful capabilities for quoting, trip planning and reporting.

“Building upon the success of both Rockwell Collins’ ARINCDirect FOS and Stellar’s cloud-based applications, operators can expect to have all the functionalities of scheduling at their fingertips, on one mobile device versus several hardwired systems,” says Rockwell Collins Vice President of Business and Government Aviation David Poltorak. “Providing these new capabilities to our customers is just one way we are enhancing the user experience for ease, organization and smoother back-end operations.”

See You in San Antonio

With schedulers and dispatchers continuing to assume more and more responsibility within corporate flight departments, shows like NBAA’s SDC will only continue to grow in importance. Don’t believe us? Come see for yourself at SDC2019. See you in San Antonio!