General Session 3 Highlights

Doug Parker, Chairman and CEO at American Airlines Group, managed to share an incredible amount of information during his morning keynote – speaking in rapid, clear tones and responding to questions with wit and intellect, and a little touch of humor and good-natured banter. It wasn’t difficult to imagine how he rose to his current position at American Airlines. And his optimism about American Airlines and the industry, as a whole, was contagious.

"There has never been a better time to work in our industry and there has never been a better time to fly," said Parker. "It is an exciting time for U.S. airlines.. .following many years of uncertainty."

American Airlines has been making some radical changes to enable and encourage its growth – both as an airline and as a positive place to work. Now serving more than 260 airports in North America, American Airlines is employing a fairly new concept, where they are focusing first and foremost on the team. There have been substantial pay increases and more than 10,000 people have been hired in the past three years. "We do positive surprises too," said Parker. "Things that they never thought would happen," such as mid-contract pay increases. We had gotten to the point where the team members didn’t trust the leaders, said Parker, so American Airlines is working to turn that around.

Parker’s responses to questions were to-the-point, offered solutions and were honest, even when faced with the daunting ones, such as PFCs and ATCs. And, while his view on passenger facility charges wasn’t what many in the room shared, he didn’t shy away. "We are just not going to agree ... My view is that PFCs are not needed." When it came to airport traffic control, he said, "There is no reason NOT to do it. We are going to keep fighting on this. The longer we wait, the worse it gets." He suggested forming a nonprofit as a possible solution. As far as the pilot shortage issue, he said, "It is real. There is no doubt about it." And, while he didn’t have a definitive answer to the problem, he seemed confident that economics would fix it.

He also addressed some other hot topics, such as privatization, technology in the industry, ultra low cost carriers, and co-locating airlines. But, it was his answer to a question from a student that made everyone put on their thinking caps. "Know that the day you start working with people, those people are going to matter to you. " He stressed the importance of relationships, and mentioned that someone he had met earlier in his career was impactful later on in his career path. His advice to the aspiring student was to continue on the path he was already on, and "to get teams of people to work together."

Following Parker’s speech, Candace McGraw, CEO of Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, headed to the podium to introduce the Downes Award winner, Herb Kelleher. After watching the touching and insightful video that CNN created about Kelleher, it was clear that this award could not have gone to a more -deserving recipient. The applause he received as he walked to the podium was thunderous. "There is nothing I can say that is not downhill from there," laughed Kelleher about the video. "I was totally surprised and completely overjoyed to hear about the Downes Award....When I perused the list of previous recipients, it made me feel like a little flea on an elephant’s neck compared to the others. But, I am proud of the company I am keeping." He thanked all the workers at Southwest Airlines, too: "They do all the work and I get all the credit. They are the only reason I am here. "

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Paradies Lagardere
ABM Industries, Inc
CVG's Candace McGraw Named Chair of ACI-NA

Outgoing Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA) Chair Bill Vanecek, Director of Aviation at Buffalo Niagara International, turned over the chair position of the ACI-NA Board of Directors to Candace McGraw, CEO of Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, during a special reception on Tuesday, September 19, 2017, at the ACI-NA Annual Conference and Exhibition in Fort Worth, TX. Read more>>

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ACI-NA Downes Award Presentation

Southwest’s Kelleher Receives the 2017 ACI-NA Downes Award
Yesterday, ACI-NA announced Herb Kelleher has been named the recipient of the 2017 Williams E. Downes, Jr. Memorial Award. The Downes Award, the highest honor given by ACI-NA, is presented to an individual who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in promoting the cause of airports and aviation throughout the local, national and worldwide communities. The award was presented during a special ceremony at the 2017 ACI-NA Annual Conference and Exhibition in Fort Worth, TX on September 19, 2017. Read more>> 

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Host Airport Award

On behalf of Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, CEO Sean Donohue accepted the 2017 Host Airport Award during the ACI-NA membership meeting at the 2017 ACI-NA Annual Conference and Exhibition.

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Closing Night Event Photos

Howdy! Last night was a great success at Billy Bob’s Texas. Thanks y'all for coming to help us close out the world’s largest "for airports, by airports" event. See you in Nashville! 



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Aviation Headlines

Just because you're at a conference doesn't mean the world stops. This section will feature the latest industry news so you don't miss a beat while networking with old friends and new connections. 

>> American Airlines CEO says airlines, airports 'not going to agree' on higher ticket fees
Airports and airlines are split over whether to raise passenger fees to fund airport improvements, a divide that American Airlines CEO Doug Parker said Tuesday he doesn't see going away. However, Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) President and CEO Kevin Burke said raising the cap would give airports more control over how they plan their growth and adapt to the changing industry. Read the full article >>

>> Fliers may soon board more international flights with a picture rather than a passport
More travelers could soon be offered the option of taking a picture at the gate to board an international flight, rather than providing a boarding pass and passport, after a summer experiment with JetBlue Airways at Boston’s Logan International Airport. Read the full article >> 

>> As Maria looms, U.S. airlines cap fares out of storm's path
Major U.S. airlines said on Tuesday they would cap one-way air fares to aid evacuations out of Hurricane Maria’s dangerous path, in the second such costly move in less than a month.Read the full article >> 

>> GOP senator calls for House to act on must-pass aviation bill
Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) says the House has to act first on a short-term aviation bill, but he hopes the lower chamber passes legislation to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for as long as six months. Read the full article >> 

>> FAA awards infrastructure grants to DFW, NY JFK, Houston Bush
FAA has awarded approximately $733 million in airport improvement program (AIP) grants so far in September, including $448.1 million in discretionary funds, pushing AIP awards in 2017 over the $3 billion mark. Read the full article >>

>> Frontier Airlines announces addition of nine new routes across the nation
Denver-based Frontier Airlines is adding nine new routes connecting 13 cities, including four routes in Colorado Springs, as part of a broadening of its network announced Tuesday.Read the full article >> 

>> Porter Airlines in hiring mode
Toronto-based Porter Airlines is looking to hire Northerners as flight crew by establishing a Thunder Bay base this January, creating 40 jobs for pilots and flight attendants in the process. Read the full article >> 

>> JetBlue CEO blasts big U.S. airlines for wielding ‘anti-consumer power’
JetBlue Airways CEO Robin Hayes on Monday criticized United, American and Delta airlines for opposing the three-largest Gulf carriers as they expand in the United States, calling the situation "...the perfect illustration of how we see mega-carriers trying to use their muscle and deep pockets to limit competition." Read the full article >> 

>> American Airlines keeps price war alive with vow to match cheap fares
American Airlines Group Inc. will "absolutely, positively" match discount fares from low-cost rivals, Chief Executive Officer Doug Parker said, signaling no end in sight for a price war that has knocked down industry shares this summer. Read the full article >>

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Airport Lounge Development
Synect
Thank You to the 2017 Annual Conference Sponsors
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2017 Annual Conference Reading List

 

The latest issue of Centerlines, ACI-NA’s flagship magazine, is here! Each topic and article was carefully selected to position 2017 annual conference attendees ahead of the curve. Read the articles below or stop by registration to pick up a copy!

A Brand-New Energy—A Look at the Industry’s Emerging Leaders: ACI-NA profiled 20 first time airport directors who have assumed their roles within the last three years. Explore how their new ways of approaching industry challenges are paving new paths forward for the next generation of airport industry leaders.

Post-Crisis Transformations: Through collaboration, risk-based approaches, and reliance on credible intelligence, airports continue to ensure that the safety and security of the traveling public remains their top priority, while facing new global threats to aviation security.

Energy, Efficiency and Sustainability Working Together: Airports are taking new approaches to longstanding sustainability priorities, and leveraging airport resources to contribute to the success of their communities. Learn how airports are tackling sustainability to improve airport operations.

Airports Cater to Great Expectations: Explore how airports are developing new and innovative approaches to airport passenger amenities, while continually working with their concessionaire partners to enhance the passenger experience and strengthen the bottom line.

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Naylor Association Solutions
Naylor Association Solutions
 

 

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