Monthly Archives: December 2010

Airports Prepare for Holiday Travel

By Morgan Dye

Airports are ready to meet the needs of passengers traveling to meet family, friends and colleagues this holiday season, according to Airports Council International- North America (ACI-NA).

“Often people traveling during the holiday season are unfamiliar with airline and security procedures so airports are implementing customer service initiatives to ensure that passengers have a positive and smooth travel experience, said ACI-NA President Greg Principato.”

“Airports are also working with the TSA to be fully prepared for holiday travel, stressing the importance of adequate staffing for the checkpoints,” said Principato.

TSA has launched the “See Something, Say Something” campaign to help increase the vigilance of the traveling public to report any suspicious activity to local law enforcement. Check TSA’s Web site for a complete list of prohibited items and other security information to better prepare for this year’s holiday travel.

2010 ACI-NA Passenger Services Survey

Additionally, the ACI-NA survey of passenger services, with data from 89 airports representing nearly 60 percent of North American traffic, shows that airports have been creatively working with their concessionaires to offer practical as well as entertaining options for passengers.

For children and families

Almost half of those airports ACI-NA surveyed have children’s play areas (43); 24 percent have game rooms (21) and 17 percent (15) have video game stations. Thirty-seven percent offer DVD rentals (33).

Families can also enjoy major local art displays at 63, or 71 percent, of responding airports. Thirty-one airports feature live music.

Fitness and spa services

For adults looking to pamper themselves while waiting for a flight, 35 percent (31) of the airports surveyed provide massage services.  Twenty-four percent (21) have nail salons; and 17 airports, or 19 percent, offer spa services. Fifteen percent (13) have hair salons. Fourteen airports provide bicycle trails and six have fitness centers.

Wi-Fi and Business Services

About 76 percent (68) of the airports surveyed have free wi-fi services. More than half of the airports surveyed have business centers; sixty-seven percent (60) have electrical charging stations and fifty-three percent (47) have fax machines.

New and different

In the area of new and different, seven airports have health clinics and one has a dental clinic. Five airports now offer pet hotels.  Seventeen percent (15) of those airports surveyed also feature rocking chairs. Twenty-eight offer flowers for sale.

View the list of airport passenger services here.

New FAA Bill Will Provide Stability to the Industry

By Greg Principato
Earlier today, I posted the following blog entry as part of the National Journal’s Transportation blog of experts on the topic of what next for FAA reauthorization:

As some of my colleagues have mentioned, the industry came together over the past few months to form recommendations for improving the aviation industry through the Future of Aviation Advisory Committee.  Although the committee’s work can help guide not only DOT but also Congress on the future direction of the aviation industry, it cannot provide the stability needed for the industry: only a new Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill can do that.

The airport community, like so many others, is disappointed to see the 111th Congress end this week without passage of a new FAA reauthorization.  The series of short-term extensions over the past three and now headed into the fourth year have weighed heavily on airport infrastructure.  Airports need to plan now in order to be ready to meet these future demands, and they need a multi-year FAA Reauthorization bill in order to do so.  A multi-year FAA reauthorization will provide airports with the financial tools necessary to build critical safety, security and capacity projects, including new runways, taxiways and completing other critical safety projects. Without this financing, airports will increasingly become chokepoints, creating air travel gridlock and slowing commerce in a critical time for our national economy.

When the FAA operates under a short-term extension, it is impossible for Airport Improvement Program funded projects to receive their entire full year allocation of funds since the FAA is not authorized to do so.  This inability to fund longer term projects has a rippling impact on the entire industry.  Furthermore, without a multi-year reauthorization bill, airports have also been left without new financing options, like an increase in the Passenger Facility Charge, to help meet the future demand of passengers and infrastructure investment for NextGen.

Incoming House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica understands the critical needs of the aviation industry, and I believe he will work with his colleagues on both sides of the aisle to see that a long term FAA reauthorization bill will be considered by his committee.

FAA Extends Deadline for Airport Emergency Plan Updates

By Matt Griffin
The FAA announced last week that they will be extending the deadline for submission of an updated Airport Emergency Plan until June 30, 2011.  The required updates are described in Advisory Circular (AC) 150/5200-31, Airport Emergency Plans.

The advisory circular provides guidance to airport operators regarding the development and implementation of Airport Emergency Plans, which addresses essential emergency related and deliberate actions planned to ensure the safety of and emergency services for the airport populace and the community in which the airport is located.  The advisory circular addresses the following:

  • The format and organization of information in the Airport Emergency Plan.
  • Provisions for the systematic approach of determining all hazards that warrant emergency preparedness.
  • Involvement of local communities, state organizations, and federal agencies in emergency management and preparedness so that their expertise and resources are incorporated to the mutual benefit of all parties.

As many of you know, the current version of the advisory circular modified Airport Emergency Plan requirements to make them consistent with those prescribed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in its National Incident Management System.

Contact ACI-NA’s Chris Oswald and Matt Griffin for more information.

ACI-NA President Testifies on International Aviation Security Standards

By Morgan Dye

Greg Principato, president of Airports Council International-North America, testified before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation’s subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety and Security on international aviation screening standards. Principato stressed that the importance of timely and actionable intelligence information cannot be understated and is essential for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and airports to appropriately adjust the aviation security posture. 

In his testimony, Principato stated that safety and security are always an airport operator’s top priorities and, “each day airports partner with airlines, tenants, TSA, Customs and Border Protection and Federal, State, and local law enforcement to maintain and develop a comprehensive, layered security system that can quickly adapt and respond to new threats.”  

In addressing Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT), Principato stated that ACI-NA generally supports TSA’s testing and deployment of this technology but stressed that “We remain concerned that future AIT installations will pose significant challenges at airports where major facility modifications may be necessary to accommodate the equipment”. Principato also stressed the need for TSA, the European Union and Canada to develop mutually-recognized standards for screening technology. 

“Although there are aspects of the current aviation security system that are effective, there are others which need to evolve to keep pace with the projected increase in the number of passengers and volume of cargo in the United States and abroad,” Principato said. “Only through an effective partnership where government coordinates with industry to apply appropriate security measures can we ensure the long-term sustainability of the aviation system.”

FAA Publishes Final Advisory Circular On Avian Radar

By Matt Griffin

Avian Radar on top of buildings at Sea-Tac Airport's terminal area track the flight of birds to prevent dangerous collisions. (Sea-Tac Airport)

Last week, the FAA published the final version of Advisory Circular (AC) 150/5220-25, Airport Avian Radar Systems.  The advisory circular provides airport operators with guidance regarding avian radar system components, capabilities, selection and siting criteria, and required system specifications.  The publication of the advisory circular is also a necessary step to making these systems eligible for Airport Improvement Program funding; avian radar systems that meet the required system specifications contained in the advisory circular will be so eligible.

The final version of the advisory circular incorporates several comments that ACI-NA staff and members submitted to the FAA in August, substantively improving the document.

We appreciate all members that provided us with comments regarding the advisory circular.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact Chris Oswald or Matt Griffin.