By Stephenie Brooks
Since I was the one pushing to take pictures to capture Greg’s birthday gathering with the ACI-NA staff , the honor fell on me to write this blog post. No seriously, it is a pleasure to have the opportunity to write a few words about Greg Principato, ACI-NA president, baseball enthusiast, dead-president aficionado, cake lover, and . . . . forgive me I digress.
Brett, Nancy and Greg.
Last week was Greg’s birthday. The exact date I’m sure of, but how old he is I’m not. I know if I were to ask him he would easily and gladly share that information. That is the kind of guy Greg is. He is open, honest and most of all – passionate about standing up for airports and ensuring that federal legislation and regulations are not over-reaching and burdensome.
Just last week, Greg spoke at the ACI-NA Airport Economics and Human Capital Conference in Phoenix and was quite clear on where he stood. “That is why it is so frustrating that the U.S. government joins with airlines to keep a boot on the neck of the airport economic engine. Make no mistake: by Washington joining with the airlines to limit the ability of airports in this country to provide for the transportation needs of the community, a very large boot is being placed on the neck of economic growth in this part of the world,” Greg said to the attendees gathered in Phoenix. “It is ironic that this is occurring at the very time when governments and airlines and airports in other parts of the world have figured out that this is exactly the wrong thing to do, have adjusted course, and are charting exciting futures of commerce and growth for themselves.”
Clearly the man doesn’t mince words. He’s the kind of guy you want on your side and the leader you would pick for your team. So raise your glasses and join me in toasting Greg. For he is a jolly good fellow . . . and that nobody can deny. Slainte!
Be sure to check your mailbox for the latest edition of Centerlines. December’s issue features a cover story on the future of airport concessions and how these programs have adapted to the challenging economy while taking advantage of new opportunities.
It’s no shock to anyone that the struggling economy has affected airport operations—particularly in the concessions realm. According to the article, while sales per enplaned passenger have held steady, overall revenue at airports is dropping because of the drop in passenger numbers. Specialty retail has been hit the hardest, dropping anywhere from one to eight percent.
But airports and their partners are choosing to take advantage of the economic lull to reevaluate and improve operations. Some concessionaries have changed their hours of operation to meet busy traffic periods and to cut costs. Other airports are offering personal services and conveniences such as pet kennels and sleep hotels. In doing so, airports will be prepared for passenger demands when traffic returns.
Other stories featured in the December issue of Centerlines include:
- - Airports: Complex Responsibilities in Challenging Times
- - The Screening Partnership Program: Is the Opt-Out Still an Option?
- - Enabling the Disabled: Curb-to-Curb Accessibility is a Never-Ending Struggle
Click here to read the cover story. Click here to view the entire December Centerlines issue.
Passenger traffic at airlines across the country may be down, but operators of airport concessions have some reason to be optimistic, according to new data released today by ACI-NA that show concession sales per passenger are on the rise.
According to an ACI-NA analysis of data from the FAA Compliance Activity Tracking System, total nonaeronautical operating revenue at U.S. commercial service airports was up more than 6 percent from a year ago. Food and beverage sales fared well too, with sales totaling $569 billion in 2008, an increase of 4 percent from 2007.
Airport concessions are critical to increasing non-aeronautical revenue at airports, ACI-NA’s Brett McAllister says, adding that new and creative concessions programs are serving passengers at a time when airlines are reducing services in areas like food and beverages.
The data were welcome news to the more than 200 airport concessions operators gathered in Indianapolis this week for the ACI-NA 2009 Airport Concessions Conference. The meeting coincides with the first anniversary of the Indianapolis Airport Authority’s opening of its $1 million terminal where airport merchants are bringing in $11 per passenger, up $8 one year ago, according to airport officials.
-Sheila Owens, VP Communications & Marketing
By Jane Calderwood
Bangor International Airport (BGR) in Bangor, Maine is known for many things. The former Dow Air Force Base is home to the Maine Air National Guards’ 101st Air Refueling Wing (the MAINEiacs). It also serves as an alternate landing site for the Space Shuttle. The Concord used to land there on occasion due to the more than two mile long runway, and many an airplane headed to the U.S. from Europe has landed there due to weather or mechanical problems.
The Maine Troop Greeters office at Bangor International Airport.
As the location of the eastern most airport in the country, it also has the distinction of being the first place hundreds of thousands of returning U.S. troops set foot on American soil. At the end of Operation Desert Storm, people gathered informally to welcome home the troops. Out of these informal, word of mouth gatherings grew The Maine Troop Greeters, who have been welcoming our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines home ever since. The Maine Troop Greeters estimate they have greeted more than 4,300 flights and shaken hands with 924,000 American Servicemen and women at the airport. They provide them with food, free cell phones, shaving kits, warm handshakes and hugs and heartfelt thanks for their service.
On Nov. 11 a lot more people are going to learn about BGR and this unique group of Mainers when PBS broadcasts “The Way We Get By” (9 p.m.), a documentary about the Maine Troop Greeters.