Monthly Archives: October 2011

A Worldview on the Future of Aviation Security

By Christopher Bidwell
In the years since 9/11, governments have added more aviation security layers with each new threat. Simply continuing to do things the same way and add even more layers is not sustainable over the long term. Further, there is a general reluctance to rescind measures, even when the threat or countermeasures has evolved, due to the concern for being accused of being weak on security. Although security layers are necessary, they should be routinely assessed to gauge their effectiveness, and cost needs to be part of the equation.

With the United States, Canada and the European Union driving aviation security policy, there is an opportunity to preserve limited resources. Doing so necessitates increased collaboration and coordination between governments, and the need to develop mutually recognized security standards and screening technologies. As an example, the European Commission sets aviation security standards but many European Union countries impose additional measures, creating an uneven patchwork that perplexes even the most seasoned traveler. In many cases, passengers and baggage must be re-screened when crossing international borders.

In Europe, airports – not the government(s) – provide almost all the aviation security operational costs. Indeed, 29 percent of airports operating costs and 41 percent of airports staff are security related. With security costs increasing exponentially, there is even more need for a coordinated approach to aviation security.

As aviation traffic continues to grow, we need a risk-based aviation security system that uses available data to more effectively balance customer service and detection. Information is available at multiple points that can be readily utilized to help focus limited security resources on those about which the least is known. Following the roll out of TSA’s Risk-Based Security initiatives, the European Commission has accepted the idea of risk-based security and has embarked on an industry-government working group to develop a model. Similarly, in Canada aviation regulators have embarked upon a risk-based program to streamline the security process for travelers enrolled in the Nexus program.

In needing to plan for the future aviation security system that harnesses the risk-based strategy, the International Civil Aviation Organization has established a Next Generation Screening Checkpoint Technical Advisory Group. ACI, in partnership with other aviation organizations, and regulatory authorities is participating on the advisory group to design a future system capable of maintaining the appropriate level of detection while increasing efficiency and reasonable costs, so that it is sustainable in the long term.



By AJ Muldoon
There are myriad challenges change can present to an organization, particularly an airport. Today’s concurrent session: “Systematically and Strategically Managing Change” covered this topic from two different perspectives. DFW’s Chris Poinsatte and Toronto’s Lloyd McCoomb described implementing organization-wide change in a systematic manner. Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge, of St. Louis, described reacting to dramatic change from without.

Change can be implemented and managed throughout the organization in order to achieve specific goals and objectives, said Poinsatte, executive vice president and CFO of the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. The importance of achieving buy-in from all levels of the organization, he said. To achieve that, developing and prioritizing goals and objectives and using performance management systems to track progress is critical.

The challenge of implementing fundamental changes to an organization can be a “Mission: Impossible,” said McCoomb, president and CEO of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority in describing Toronto’s transition from a government-run facility to a private, not-for-profit corporation. In order to become a vibrant, entrepreneurial enterprise, the staff’s bureaucratic culture and behavior had to be changed. McCoomb believes that storytelling is the best way to implement cultural change. Managers must have a compelling story illustrating the need for change, a clear strategy to achieve it and a system of accountability to monitor progress. Providing constant feedback on progress achieved provides motivation for continued improvement.

Lambert-St. Louis International Airport experienced with a different kind of change when in April, 2010, the airport was struck by a devastating tornado, said CEO Rhonda Hamm- Niebruegge. This was change that was neither wanted nor anticipated. After the tornado struck, St. Louis set an aggressive goal of having the airport back to 100 percent of operations within five days. By setting a clear goal with specific, measurable results, the airport was able to meet the goal and quickly recover from an overwhelming event.


Associates Get an Update on Airport Trends

By Debby McElroy
At Tuesday morning’s World Business Partners/Associates Business Breakfast and Airport Directors Roundtable there were some fascinating insights into the challenges smaller airports face in managing their capital programs.

Passenger growth in the United States during 2000 – 2010 was only 8 percent, while real GDP was double that rate and population growth was 10 percent, according to Bob Hazel, a partner with Oliver Wyman. But that growth was uneven, with medium airports hurt more than other hub sizes. The story was much better in Canada, where passenger growth totaled 27 percent over the same period, with just a bit more real GDP and population growth than the U.S.

Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport had a terrible decade prior to Southwest Airlines beginning service in March 2011, said CEO Dave Edwards. But traffic is now up 42 percent for September 2011 compared with the previous year. And, it is not only Southwest that is benefiting. Delta Air Lines traffic is up 25 percent, American Airlines is up 22 percent and US Airways is up 15 percent. Another important benefit has been fare stability which significantly reduced leakage to Charlotte International Airport, Edwards said.

The airport is in the enviable position of not having to issue debt to pay for their $100 million terminal expansion project which will begin in 2012.  Edwards noted the importance of having a functional design that allows you to get “a good, comfortable airport.”

The defederalization process for Canadian airports in the early 1990s left airports with years of avoided, but necessary capital improvements at the time of the transfer, said Tom Ruth, President & CEO at Halifax International Airport Authority. In the first five years of local control,  Halifax spent C$250 million for infrastructure work. Most recently Halifax issues C$135 million in debt.  Due to Halifax’s A+ credit rating, the 40 year bullet bonds had the lowest coupon rate for any Canadian airport, he noted.

Tulsa International Airport’s diversified air service has prevented “the wild swings” that have been experienced at other small airports, said Jeff Hough, deputy director of engineering and facilities. He emphasized the partnership between the airport and airlines, car rental companies and concessionaires, which has led to stability and success in funding much of their capital needs.  The airport is now “stretching the pain” over 10 to 15 years with their terminal building renovation, using PFC funds and a “pay as you go” plan.

There were a lot of nods among the breakfast attendees when Hough mentioned the problems caused by not having a long-term FAA reauthorization bill enacted into law.  Calling the lack of FAA funding “the huge wildcard,” he talked about the difficulty of replacing their 30-year old runway at a cost of $75 million under this dysfunctional system. But creativity reigns supreme in Tulsa as the airport authority is funding an observation area at their reliever airport with donations and selling reconfigured old taxiway lights (that were replaced by LED units) as desk lamps.

The Most Important Thing To Know About Leadership Is That It’s Not About You?

By Aneil Patel
Garry Ridge, president and CEO of WD-40 Company, gave an insightful speech on ten traits of leadership. Before we move onto the leadership tips, let’s leave you with a few interesting facts…did you know apart the conventional use of WD-40, folks spray it on their arms, hands, and knees to relieve arthritis pain. Also, did you know that WD-40 is used by more people than …dental floss!

Ridge stressed we continue to fly through some choppy weather, and need to identify where the “alarm bells” are going off within your organization. Leadership needs to help people understand what is expected of them according to Ridge. Leadership always involved people, value the gift of resistant and be prepared to give feedback. Leaders excise good judgment and never…waste a good crisis and rise above. Leaders move forward, pay attention to detail and are dependently. Successful leadership speaks only if the other person was in the room and don’t forgot leadership leakage can be a killer in an organization. Leaders are “champions of hope”, they gather all the facts, then make their point of view and opinion.

“You need to build trust” Ridge outlined his ABC trust model: A – able to demonstrate competence, B – believe in honesty, value and fair practice, C – connected, invest in your people and communicate. “I hear what you say, read what you write, but I believe what you do. Leaders have to do what they say.”

Just like someone once said you don’t’ have an opinion without statistics. WD-40 conducts a bi-yearly employee global survey. The number one rating was 99 percent of employees felted that they are treated with respect and dignity. Close behind were 98.8 percent employees believed that their supervisor shows them respect and allows them to opinionate their views freely. This truly underlines the achievement WD-40 has taken to establish cultivate learning culture based on thier cooperate values.


Airports Honor John Infanger (@airportbusiness) for 25 Years of Service

By Morgan Dye

Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) President Greg Principato this morning recognized John Infanger, editorial director for Airport Business Magazine, for 25 years of service to the aviation community at the ACI-NA 20th Annual Conference & Exhibition.

Statement of ACI-NA President Greg Principato:

“For 25 years, John Infanger has covered the airport and aviation industry with intelligence, integrity and energy.  He will, as good journalists do, ask tough questions and hold people accountable using the facts and their own words.  John is thorough and fair, laying out the facts for his readers, shedding light on complex aviation issues.  Whether you are an industry insider or lay person, you will be better informed about airports and aviation after reading John’s work.

ACI-NA is delighted to recognize and celebrate John’s quarter century of covering our industry and to wish him many, many more years of service to his many readers and admirers.”

The plaque presented to Infanger had the following inscription: “In recognition of 25 years as an aviation journalist whose articles continue to be required reading for everyone in the airport industry.”