Monthly Archives: September 2011

ACI-NA Announces 2011 Environmental Achievement Awards Winners

By Morgan Dye

Albuquerque International Sunport, Aéroports de Montréal, Vancouver International Airport and the Sustainable Aviation Fuels Northwest Program (which is comprised of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Portland International Airport, and Spokane International Airport) have been selected as winners of Airports Council International – North America’s (ACI-NA) 2011 Environmental Achievement Awards.

“Airports remain focused on better understanding and mitigating impacts to their natural environment and local communities by implementing inventive programs that reduce the environmental effects of their operations,” said Greg Principato, ACI-NA president. “ACI-NA’s Environmental Achievement Awards provides the opportunity to showcase how committed airports are to green building, sustainability and environmental management in their construction projects and everyday operations.”

Environmental Management Award Category:

Albuquerque International Sunport’s Sustainability Management System earned them the Environmental Management Award. Their Sustainability Management System is in place at both the Sunport and Double Eagle II, a general aviation reliever facility, and has launched an effort towards sustainability that has become intrinsic to the management culture of these airports.  A major part of the sustainability effort at the Sunport has been the application, and eventual acceptance of Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) Voluntary Airport Low Emission (VALE) Program grants.  The goal of the VALE Program is to reduce the amount of regulated pollutants and other harmful air emissions generated by sources at airports.

Outreach, Education and Community Involvement Award Category:

Vancouver International Airport won this year’s Outreach, Education and Community Involvement Award with the Quest Food Exchange Partnership.  Vancouver International Airport works in partnership with The Quest Food Exchange to reduce the amount of food waste generated at the airport.  The Quest Food Exchange, also known as Quest Outreach Society, is run by Quest, a non-profit organization that assists low-income individuals and families in the Metro Vancouver to overcome their barriers with dignity and encourages self-sufficiency. Surplus foods and various consumer goods are collected from donors and redistributed via Quest stores or partner agencies. Donating to Quest Food Exchange not only reduces waste, saves money, and protects the environment, but also provides foods and goods to people in need. Since the partnership began in late 2010 over 2,000kg of food from various airport food outlets and businesses has been diverted from landfill. In addition, this partnership fosters positive airport community relations and employee engagement.

Mitigation Award Category:

The Mitigation Award went to Aéroports de Montréal (ADM) for their Tree Policy.  Mindful of sustainable development and respect for the environment, the ADM Tree Policy seeks mainly to protect areas of high ecological value on airport property and to offset the environmental impacts of projects.  Additionally, ADM attempts to develop their facilities while ensuring that they coexist in harmony with the surrounding area, in particular with regard to environmental quality. From this perspective of environmental protection, ADM acknowledges the important role of trees in urban environments, namely that they contribute to enhancing regional ecological heritage, are effective in combating the “heat island” effect, and have aesthetic value, as well as the improvement of air quality.  ADM’s Tree Policy is implemented at both Montreal-Trudeau and Montreal–Mirabel airports.  Within the last 2 years, 5 greening projects were conducted and 2 are underway.

Special/Innovative Projects Award Category:

The Sustainable Aviation Fuels Northwest Program, comprised of the Port of Seattle, Port of Portland, and Spokane International Airport, won the Special/Innovative Projects Award.  Together with their Steering Team partners – Boeing, Alaska Airlines, and Washington State University – and consulting facilitator Climate Solutions, these three airports convened more than 40 stakeholders and observers to assess the feasibility, challenges and opportunities of scaling up a commercially viable and sustainable renewable aviation fuels industry in the Northwest U.S.A. The SAFN initiative takes place within a global network of seven (7) similar stakeholder processes led by Boeing, which all support the broader aim of achieving carbon-neutral growth across the aviation industry beyond 2020.  The SAFN results, published as a report on May 25, 2011, provide a “flight path” for scaling up this industry in the Northwest U.S.A.  The innovative SAFN approach and results are already being considered for adoption by stakeholders in other regions of North America.

Since being established in 1997, the Environmental Achievement Awards contest has generated immense interest throughout the industry and has catalyzed numerous environmental programs at airports.

Award winners will be recognized at the ACI-NA’s 20th Annual Conference & Exhibition in San Diego, CA, October 19, 2011, during the Chairman’s Honors Luncheon.

Winners in each category are selected by a three-judge panel based on the project’s environmental benefits, innovation, effective implementation, widespread applicability and cost-effectiveness.  Judges for the 2011 Awards Program were Steve Alterman, President of the Cargo Airline Association, David Bell, editor, Aviation and Environment News and Noise Regulation Report and Tom Bennett, Environmental Specialist at the Federal Aviation Administration.

A Reminder of the True Impact of Airports on their Communities

By Annie Russo

Yesterday, I spoke to the attendees at the New York Airport Management Association (NYAMA) about airport advocacy.  One of the main points of my presentation was the importance of explaining the economic impact of an individual airport on a particular community to politicians. In the end, however, I think I was the one who was reminded of not only the hard work that is done by airport employees across the country every day,  but also how airports’ best assets, its’ employees, are truly our community goodwill ambassadors.

I had the pleasure of flying into Elmira Corning Regional Airport where airport staff member, and from what I can tell jack-of-all-trades maintenance employee, Roy White, was waiting to take me to the meeting.  Roy has worked at the airport for 28 years. He’s the person who knows how to fix every piece of equipment the airport owns.  After just knowing Roy for one minute, you know that he’s the guy you want at the airport to make sure everything works.  Roy loves what he does and has nothing but good things to say about spending his entire career in the aviation field, but it’s what Roy does after work that is just as beneficial to the airport as what he does when he’s on the job.

Roy is a member of a local community’s volunteer fire department where he serves as a Lieutenant, and is in charge of fundraising as well as being an elected member of the board’s political arm.  He’s also an EMT and teaches CPR.  Being from a small town myself, I know what having a guy like Roy means for the airport.  I’m sure to many people Roy is just the guy that works at the airport which is, by itself, a constant reminder of the economic impact the airport has on the community.  I also strongly believe that airport employees like Roy help create good will for the airport since even though he’s doing the volunteer work on his own, it reinforces the ties between communities and the airport. Who could argue with having a local hero on your staff?

As for me, and all my colleagues who work to make the case in Washington everyday about the importance of airport infrastructure and the economic impact airports have on their communities, it was great to be reminded of not only who we’re working for, but that there are amazing airport employees, like Roy, who do the same thing, in their own way, across the country every day.

House Homeland Security Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Airport Security After 9/11

By Channon Hanna

Last week, the House Homeland Security Oversight, Investigations and Management Subcommittee held a hearing at the Boston Logan International Airport on airport security.  Mr. Edward Freni, Director of Aviation for the Massachusetts Port Authority testified at the hearing alongside officials from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), including the Assistant Administrator for Security Operations and the Boston Federal Security Director (FSD), Massachusetts State Police and the Government Accountability Office (GAO).   All five witnesses discussed the changes in airport security since 9/11.  ACI-NA staff attended the hearing and provided support to the Massachusetts Port Authority staff.

During the hearing, Subcommittee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) emphasized that airports have multiple layers of security which protect the facility and aircraft from acts of terrorism.  He went on to highlight that there are many pilot programs and security technology being tested at Boston and encouraged TSA to look for ways they can roll out programs and technology that work to airports across the country.

Subcommittee Ranking Member Bill Keating (D-MA) asked TSA about who is the first to respond when it comes to breeches in perimeter security.  Mr. McLaughlin from TSA stated that airport law enforcement responds to incidents regarding the perimeter.  He went on to explain that TSA regulated airport security and that incident response is discussed in the required airport security program (ASP).  He concluded by noting that TSA uses inspectors to ensure airports are in compliance with their ASP, including response to incidents or breeches with the perimeter.

Ranking Member Keating asked TSA whether they can assess penalties to airports.  Mr. McLaughlin from TSA responded that the agency has the authority to assess civil penalties to airports that are not in compliance with their ASP.

Ranking Member Keating asked Mr. Freni how Boston has funded security projects and other security-related initiatives.  Mr. Freni responded that Boston has used a variety of funding sources, including airline rates and charges to fund these projects.  Mr. Naccara the Boston FSD applauded the airport, saying they have done a great job of being proactive in finding funding sources for a variety of projects.

The hearing concluded with both the Chairman and Ranking Member complimenting Boston on their proactive approach to security and stated that it is the “gold standard” for airport security.

After the hearing, Massachusetts Port Authority staff led a tour for Ranking Member Keating’s staff in order to highlight security technology at Boston and allow staff a closer look at safety and security features of the airfield.  The tour allowed Hill staff to better understand the security operations at the airport.  The staff at the Massachusetts Port Authority did a wonderful job of emphasizing airport priorities for Boston and the entire airport industry.

View Witness testimony

Contact ACI-NA’s Channon Hanna for more information.

ACI-NA Launches Website Redesign

By Morgan Dye

Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) has launched a redesign of its website at www.aci-na.org.  The new design is intended to better serve the needs of its airport and associate members by focusing on the most relevant content and providing enhanced functionality with improved navigational aids.

“We’re pleased to introduce the redesigned website, www.aci-na.org, as the definitive resource on airports for our members and stakeholders,” said ACI-NA President Greg Principato.  “The new site better showcases the work of ACI-NA on behalf of our more than 350 North American member airports, which are critically important for commerce and economic development for their local communities and provinces. The new design encourages visitors to learn about ACI-NA’s 17 committees and provides easier access to data, news and available business opportunities in the airport industry,” concluded Principato.

The re-designed home page boasts two new features:

  • Call to Action: At the top right of the home page, the site features a ‘call to action’ quote from ACI-NA President Greg Principato which links to a supporting document and a specific call for member action on legislative, regulatory or other industry issues.
  • Slide-Show Marquee: The slide-show feature, located just below the navigation bar on the home page, is designed to draw visitors deeper into the website or ACI-NA blogs by highlighting the latest news, blogs and conferences.

Additionally, each committee section now offers a one-stop, all you need home page for each of the 17 ACI-NA Committees. These home pages list the latest committee news and upcoming events including webinars, conference presentations and resource materials.

Other Key Improvements:

  • The Communication hub of the home page features quick access to all ACI-NA blogs, social media outlets, news and publications.
  • The Education hub of the home page features quick access to upcoming ACI-NA events, ACI’s Global Training, and the most recent presentations.
  • The Job and Business Opportunities hub of the home page features quick access to two of the most visited locations of the site, job opportunities and RFP offerings, which is now more prominently displayed at the bottom of the home page.

ACI-NA Files Comments on DOT’s NPRM Regarding Ancillary Airline Fee Reporting

By Morgan Dye

Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA) has submitted comments in response to the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding “Reporting Ancillary Airline Passenger Revenues”. In the filed comments, ACI-NA applauded the DOT for its proposal to create a stand-alone reporting form to accurately capture airline ancillary revenues which will in effect enhance passenger protections and readily improve information to the traveling public.

ACI-NA’s comments noted that ancillary fees, which are not included in the standard ticket fare, now comprise approximately 6.5 percent of airline revenue.

“ACI-NA remains concerned about the effect this may have on the Airport and Airway Trust Fund,” said ACI-NA President Greg Principato.  “By requiring airlines to report additional categories of fee revenue to the Department’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) we believe the proposed NPRM would supply the Federal Aviation Administration and Government Accountability Office with crucial data information needed to assess the impact of unbundled fares and the increasing use of ancillary fees on the viability of the Airport and Airways Trust Fund,” emphasized Principato.

ACI-NA also noted that airports also support the Department’s proposal with respect to proposed changes to baggage reporting requirements.

“While the airlines already report the number of mishandled bags relative to the number of passengers flown, more passengers are choosing not to check bags to avoid fees, decreasing the number of checked bags overall,” commented Principato.  “Reporting all checked bags would be a more useful comparison by allowing air travelers to compare the number of lost or damaged bags relative to the number of bags handled by the airlines,” Principato added.

View ACI-NA’s full comments.