JetBlue Airways Provides Opportunity for Sixteen Aviation Management Students

JetBlue Airways provided the opportunity for sixteen Aviation Management students and Faculty Advisor Robert Aceves to travel to Orlando, Florida for the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) 62nd Annual Meeting and Convention.
JetBlue Airways Provides Opportunity for Sixteen Aviation Management Students

Students at JetBlue Airways Training Center at Orlando, Florida.

The NBAA was founded in 1947, and is now the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful. It is based in Washington, DC, and it represents over 8,000 companies throughout the Unites States. The member companies earn annual revenues of approximately five trillion dollars and employ over 19 million people globally. The association provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community. (

The meeting and convention, which took place on October 20 to 22, had 22,920 participants, 1,075 exhibitors, and representatives from six continents, 86 countries, and from all 50 states, according to NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen.

“As I walked through the countless exhibitor booths at the convention, I came across so many aviation professionals who shared their passion for the industry with me, that I began to feel as if I was one of them,” said student Nafeeza Haniff. With bright eyes and a big smile, Haniff said she felt as if she had already reached her milestones in the industry and was walking around the convention center as a business woman ready to close a deal on an aircraft.

At  “the world's largest civil aviation trade show,” students took part in the NBAA/University Aviation Association (UAA) Reaching Future Business Aviation Professionals: Corporate Aviation Career Seminar. This session informed college students about opportunities available in business aviation. UAA member institutions, such as York College, received complimentary registration.

Salvador Saravia, President of the Aviation Club at York College, has attended the annual meeting for three consecutive years. Saravia planned this year’s trip to Orlando to continue with the club’s mission of exposing students to aviation leaders and a variety of events designed to maximize each student's intellectual, professional and personal growth.

In 2007, Saravia and two other York students were present at the annual meeting for the first time. Last year 10 students participated and this year 16 students joined the thousands in attendance. “JetBlue has provided complimentary travel for our annual trip to Orlando for three years,” Saravia said. “Without their support this great experience would not be possible,” he added.

Students need to understand that the world of aviation has become more global said Shivanand Sooknanan, Vice President of the Aviation Club. “Therefore we need to learn about all aspects of aviation; commercial, military, general, and business aviation.” According to the NBAA website business aviation is the use of any “general aviation” aircraft for a business purpose. The Federal Aviation Administration defines general aviation as all flights that are not conducted by the military or the scheduled airlines.

The NBAA annual meeting also includes a static display of aircraft, at Orlando Executive Airport. This year there were close to a 100 aircraft featured, including examples from the product lines of Cessna Aircraft Company, Bombardier, Embraer, Gulfstream, Boeing Business Jets and many others.  Since the business aviation community is made up of a diverse mix of organizations of all types and sizes there was a variety of aircraft.

Sooknanan shared one of his experiences while on his way to the display.  “As I sat on the bus on my way to the airport I engaged in a conversation with Roger Whyte, the Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the Cessna Aircraft Company,” said Sooknanan. “We discussed NexGen technology and future business plans of Cessna.” “Whyte is my role model and one day I wish to be as successful as he is,” said Sooknanan. Next semester the student plans to visit Cessna facilities in Kansas along with the Aviation Club.

While in Orlando, the students toured the JetBlue Airways Training Center, located in Orlando's International Airport. Last year the Aviation Club worked with Icema Gibbs, JetBlue’s Director for Corporate Social Responsibility, to make this possible and continued with the occurrence this year. There, Flight Operations, Flight Attendant, Technical Operations and Customer Service crewmembers receive initial and recurrent training. The facility is approximately 107,000 square feet including an auditorium, classrooms, briefing rooms, offices, an outdoor training pool, and Airbus A320 and Embraer E190 flight simulators.

“Someone has to be the wind beneath your wings,” said Gibbs at the CUNY Aviation Institute Executive Speaker Lecture Series. “JetBlue, the NBAA, the UAA, and the CUNY Aviation Institute and it’s Advisory Board members have been that wind beneath the club’s wings,” said Saravia after receiving support from them since the club’s establishment in the Spring of 2008.