Monthly Archives: August 2011

Report from the PS & S Conference – Everyone Loves Known Traveler!

By Debby McElroy

It’s no surprise that the ACI-NA Public Safety and Security Conference in Washington had record attendance, both for the number of attendees as well as the number of airport representatives.  It’s also no surprise that the first session of the meeting covered THE hot topic in aviation security – risk-based security. 

What’s not to love about a program that offers such great potential to increase security and efficiency as well as improve the travel experience?  Airports and airlines have long supported the concept of “looking for bad people, not bad things”.  Speaking to the conference today, TSA Administrator Pistole described risk-based security as a way to “redefine (the) mission of TSA and how we execute on that mission”, emphasizing the need to “change the paradigm of one size fits all.” But, as with all security measures, the proverbial devil is in the details.

Brian Jackson, senior physical scientist with the Rand Corp., reminded everyone that the trusted traveler concept is nothing new; it is a concept that has been hotly debated since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.  The concern, which remains today, is creating a system that acts as “a fast lane” for the bad guys.  Jackson discussed the Rand’s recent study which concluded that a trusted traveler program has significant benefits for the traveling public, even with “a reasonable number of attempts” by bad people to sneak into the system.  A key strategy for program success, he emphasized, is ensuring that background check requirements be robust enough to act as a deterrent for terrorists.

Ken Dunlap, director of global security for the International Air Transport Association, called for a “smarter, faster passenger process”, given that the number of airline passengers traveling throughout the world will increase from an estimated 2.5 billion in 2011 to more than 16 billion in 2050. He noted that the “security processing time” for passengers is going down and offered IATA’s “Checkpoint of the Future” as one possible solution to the problem.  He also cautioned airport officials not to label protestors who express concerns about aviation security as “crackpots but as canaries in the coal mine”, emphasizing the need to ensure passengers understand why technology and procedures are in place.

John Wagner, executive director, passenger programs and admissibility, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, discussed the Global Entry program, which is now in place at the 20 busiest airports in the United States with almost 750,000 enrolled.  ACI-NA has long been a supporter of this “pilot program”, which is expected to be made permanent and extended to other airports as soon as a final rule is issued; hopefully by the end of the year. CBP is working closely with TSA in their development of the TSA Known Traveler program Global Entry members, along with those enrolled in SENTRI and NEXUS, are among the small group eligible to participate in the pilot tests.

John Sammon, TSA’s assistant administrator-transportation sector network management, also touted the potential benefits of risk-based security, but emphasized “this is not a club, there is no guarantee” that participants in the Known Traveler program will not be required to undergo the same physical screening process as those not participating in the program, because of the need for “a random element” .  He also reminded conference attendees that this not only includes airline passenger screening but also the “Known Crewmember” program which was recently expanded to Chicago O’Hare and Miami airports and is going well.  Sammon agreed on the need to work closely with airports as it is rolled out, given that potential changes that may be necessary in the configuration of passenger screening checkpoint.



Reducing the Haystack: TSA Administrator Pistole on Aviation Security

By Morgan Dye

“We’ve got to reduce the size of the haystack in order to find the needle.” That quote really summarizes the overall message of TSA Administrator John Pistole

2011 Public Safety & Security Fall Conference

TSA Administrator John Pistole addresses attendees at the 2011 ACI-NA Public Safety & Security Fall Conference. Far left to right: ACI-NA President Greg Principato; ACI-NA Chairman Frank Miller

this morning when he addressed airport safety and security officials, public safety professionals and industry leaders at the 2011 Public Safety & Security Fall Conference held at the Pentagon City Ritz-Carlton just outside Washington.

Despite the early hour, the room was packed as everyone wanted to hear what Pistole had to say.  As we approach the 10-year mark of both the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 as well as the creation of the TSA (on Nov. 19), it was great to hear how much emphasis Pistole placed on risk-based security initiatives and collaborating with airport operators as we move forward to a more intelligence-driven approach to passenger screening. Both of these are mantras that ACI-NA has been pushing for over the last several years.

Throughout his speech, Pistole emphatically reminded attendees that TSA is redefining its mission to change the one-size-fits-all paradigm and move towards a more risk-based, intelligence-driven security approach.

Here are some of the highlights:

Known Crewmember Program

Tested first at Chicago O’Hare, this program enables TSA agents to quickly and effectively identify airline crew members, to shorten passenger lines and enhance the screening process. So far, the program is only available to pilots, but Pistole hopes to eventually open the program up to flight attendants and perhaps airport officials in the future.

Identity-Based Traveler Pilot Program

During the first phase of testing (slated for the Fall), certain frequent fliers and certain members of CBP’s Trusted Traveler programs, including members of Global Entry, SENTRI, and NEXUS who are U.S. citizens, will be eligible to participate in this pilot, which could qualify them for expedited screening at select checkpoints at Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Detroit, and Miami.

“The key is to find common solutions to common challenges in partnership with airports in an open, frank dialogue.” But he also emphasized that, “I’m talking about risk management in order to mitigate risk, not risk elimination.”

President and CEO of WD 40 Company to Present at Airport Industry’s Annual Conference

By Morgan Dye

Garry Ridge, President & CEO of The WD 40 Company and co-author of the book Helping People Win at Work, will address attendees Oct. 18 at the Airports Council International-North America’s (ACI-NA) 20th Annual Conference and Exhibition in San Diego. Ridge, leader of a successful publicly-traded corporation, will provide airport officials insight on how to build organizational capability to address current and future challenges. 

“Like all complex businesses, airports must hire the right people and ensure they have the right resources to ensure world class efficiency and customer service for airports users,” said ACI-NA  President Greg Principato. “Garry’s insights will be valuable for everyone in the airport industry.”

The ACI-NA conference will be held Oct. 16-19 at the San Diego Convention Center. Pre-conference seminars featuring in-depth information on airport finances, operations, information technology, legal issues and environmental challenges will also be held Oct. 15 – 16.

This event will bring together approximately 1,800 industry leaders from airports, airlines, and government, as well as executives from associate member companies.

“Prior to the conference, aviation officials will have the unique opportunity to learn about the most critical issues facing all aspects of the airport business at the pre-conference seminars,” said Principato.

Pre-conference highlights of interest to the media:

Environmental Affairs

  • Turn Out the Lights When You Leave! Innovative Energy Efficiency Measures at Airports
  • If You Can’t Stand the Heat—Managing Risks Climate Change Poses to Airport Facilities

Business Information Technology

  • Passenger Self-Tagging of Baggage- U.S. Trial Update
  • Cyber-Security at Airports

Operations & Technical Affairs

  • Keeping Your Terminal Running – Passenger Processing Automation & In-Line Baggage Screening Recapitalization: Where Are We Now?
  • Retain, Rehabilitate Or Rebuild – Airport Asset Management and its Importance In An Era Of Uncertainty

Legal Affairs

  • Airport Security, featuring TSA Chief Counsel Francine Kerner
  • Meet The FAA Chief Counsel, featuring FAA Acting Chief Counsel Mark Warren

Visit the conference site for the complete program.

Airports Urge DOT to Deny Slot Swap Request and Uphold Airport Proprietary Rights

By Morgan Dye

Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA) has submitted comments in response to the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Notice on its grant of the joint petition of Delta Air Lines’ and US Airways’ slot swap at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) and New York LaGuardia Airport (LGA).

ACI-NA’s comments stressed that the DOT should not grant the waiver petition set forth in its Notice as it fails to recognize the primary role of local airport proprietors in managing congestion at their airports and seeks unlawfully to impose restrictions on the proprietary rights of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority to control how their facilities at LGA and DCA are used.

“ACI-NA has advocated that slots should be treated as community assets that are used to benefit the airport/community of their location, and not the airlines,” said Principato. “As such, the interests of the operating airport proprietor should be considered in evaluating the treatment of a petition by air carriers for the exchange of slots.”

Principato also noted that airport proprietors have been given adequate market alternatives to resolve capacity constraints under the DOT’s Amended Rates and Charges Policy.

“It is especially important that such market alternatives not be distorted by a system that allows those most responsible for creating congestion problems to achieve even greater economic benefits by being given property rights in new slots that are created at the very airports which their flights caused to become congested,” emphasized Principato.

“The airport proprietors are in the best position to manage the use of the facilities they planned, designed, funded, built and currently operate,” he concluded.

View ACI-NA’s full comments.

Prevent Further Delays to NEXTGEN with Long-Term FAA Authorization

By U.S. Representative Frank A. LoBiondo(NJ-02)

Representative LoBiondo

For two weeks this summer, Congress engaged in some of the most inexcusable and indefensible grand-standing that I’ve ever witnessed. Due to partisan bickering over unrelated issues, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was caught in the crossfire. It is incomprehensible as to why Congress has been unable to agree upon a long-term authorization of the FAA since 2007, thus requiring twenty-one extensions. Each of these short-term fixes – some lasting mere weeks – has fostered an uncertainty and fear at the FAA that their operating authority may be abruptly halted, vital programs shuttered and workers furloughed. This fear was realized on July 22nd with a partial shutdown.

As a result, 4,000 federal FAA employees nationwide were immediately furloughed, with nearly 650 locally at the William J. Hughes FAA Technical Center in Egg Harbor Township affected. Airport construction projects were shutdown, including those at the Millville and Cape May County airports, impacting approximately 70,000 construction workers nationwide. Countless contractors and subcontractors were issued stop-work orders on the aviation modernization project known as NEXTGEN, threatening the livelihood of their small businesses and progress on the critical initiative.

In South Jersey, twenty-seven such stop-work orders were issued, affecting hundreds of private employees who contract with the FAA. In one case the two week shutdown and lack of revenue proved too burdensome to overcome, thus causing the small business to permanently shutter and its employees laid-off. With more than 9 percent unemployment nationally and double-digit unemployment in much of South Jersey, this shutdown inflicted avoidable cuts against an already wounded economy. Furthermore, it cost the Airport & Airway Trust Fund approximately $400 million in federal airline taxes over the two weeks, thus impacting future FAA projects.

From the beginning, I worked with House Speaker John Boehner, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and my colleagues in the House and Senate to broker a compromise and end the partial shutdown. I pressed upon them the disastrous economic and national security consequences of allowing the work – and livelihoods – of thousands of FAA employees, contractors and subcontractors assigned to NEXTGEN be delayed. Equally threatening to the development and implementation of NEXTGEN across our aviation transportation network is the lack of reliable federal funding. While the economic realities facing our nation call for serious belt-tightening and detailed examination of our budgets, the NEXTGEN project remains a cost-effective investment for taxpayers. What it lacks is a commitment by Congress to provide consistent funding year after year – the type of funding a full four-year FAA authorization bill would provide.

The current FAA extension expires on September 16, thus leaving little time for Congress to consider and complete a full four-year authorization. While another extension will likely be required, this must be the last. We cannot continue this cycle of uncertainty for FAA employees and contractors working on the NEXTGEN project, nor consumers including the airlines who seek a safer, more efficient and more secure aviation network. It is in the nation’s shared interest for Congress to complete a four-year authorization of the FAA; it is in South Jersey’s significant interest to ensure the essential work on NEXTGEN is not further disrupted.