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Airport Council International - North America

Paradies Lagardere
Telrad Networks
ACI-NA Downes Award Presentation

William E. Downes Jr. Memorial Award Winner:  Louis E. Miller

After a deep and thought-provoking keynote address by CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen, General Session II attendees were able to witness a great man receiving ACI-NA’s most prestigious award. Louis E. Miller is this year’s recipient of the William E. Downes Jr. Memorial Award, awarded for his outstanding leadership and action in the cause of airport or aviation management. The award was presented by Bill Vanecek, Chair of ACI-NA.

Prior to Mr. Miller taking the stage to accept his award, attendees were shown a remarkable video complete with numerous testimonies from aviation industry professionals close to him. Each testimony included memories of Mr. Miller and his success that drew chuckles from attendees.

Mr. Louis Miller took the stage amid much applause to accept his award, and no one was more deserving than him.

Host Airport Award

On behalf of Aéroports de Montréal, President and CEO Jim Cherry accepted the 2016 Host Airport Award during the ACI-NA membership meeting at the 2016 ACI-NA/World Annual Conference.

Airport Carbon Accreditation Ceremony


Twenty North American Airports Recognized for Airport Carbon Accreditation

Yesterday, Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA) recognized the 20 North American airports to achieve Airport Carbon Accreditation during the 2016 ACI-NA/World Annual Conference. Read the full release >>


The Changing World of Slots and What It Means for Airports

Adding to the Bottom Line by Enhancing the Passenger Experience

"Does it really matter which bottom line?" Romesh Bhoyroo, CEO, Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport Mauritius began the session by posing this question to attendees.

Running a modern airport is no easy task, as they are very complex in an already competitive market. One of the most important objectives for an airport is to satisfy its customers, which leads to more revenue. However, the first step toward passenger satisfaction is to understand their wants and needs.

Each of the panelists from this session represented very different airports, but all of them agreed that data mining is a key element of passenger satisfaction. Tampa International Airport was the first airport to add a people mover for passengers over forty years ago, as a result of finding out how little customers like to walk.

It is quite a challenge to provide the same experience for travelers that they receive at large hubs like Dubai International Airport or Charles de Gaulle Airport, at small airports. Panelist Romesh Bhoyroo can attest to that. Small airports may not have as much to offer passengers as large airports do, but they can manage to keep them happy. One way Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport is able to keep its customers happy, is by utilizing its Outstanding Passenger Service Excellence program that pushes airport personnel to go above and beyond to satisfy customers. The human touch can go a long way when it comes to finding out what customers want and need, especially as passenger behavior continues to change.

Panelists Joyce Carter, President and CEO, Halifax International Airport Authority, Romesh Bhoyroo, and Joe Lopano, CEO of Tampa International Airport, understand the importance of gathering data in order to better understand passengers. They each spoke a lot about the use of surveys to help with information gathering. Simple questions such as age, gender, and income can make a difference in a customer’s happiness. Passengers are the life blood of an airport; therefore, their satisfaction is vital to an airport’s overall success.

Risk Management: Planning Before a Crisis Occurs

Breaking Down the Silos on Safety

A lack of cooperation between people on the ground and people in the towers can cause fatalities, said Moderator Bongani Maseko, CEO, Airports Company South Africa, at the Breaking Down the Silos on Safety session. "At one time, we did not talk directly to pilots." They were known as the invisible partners, he said. Thankfully, things have changed and now we all try to work together in this congested space. But, making the merge isn’t easy. 

Rob Eagles, Director Air Traffic Management, IATA, said, "I think we’ll all agree that we do have silos in our industry.... But, it is absolutely critical that we learn to work together as stakeholders. And we have to be careful not to add new silos." Eagles specifically addressed the risks associated with RPAS/UAS/drones, stressing the need to address safety risks related to "irresponsible users."

Andrella Kenner, Founder & President, CI2 Aviation, talked about runway safety. "A failure to deliver safe runway operations is almost always catastrophic," she said. She stressed the importance of situational awareness and having a checklist every day.

Dirk Geukens, Senior Safety Expert, Brussels Airport, discussed apron safety collaboration. "Most of the damages to aircraft are when they are parked and handling activities are going on," he explained. Coordination is very important in these busy, congested areas. One of the ways they addressed this? Safety Committees. "One of the major pillars of a safety management program is having safety committees," he said. They have an apron safety committee called BRUTuS (BRUssels Turnaround Safety TF) that has the objective of analyzing and documenting every apron operation.

Eduardo Angeles, Associate Administrator of Airports, FAA, commented on the discussion points brought up by the other panel speakers, as well as gave a summary of some of the items on the FAA "to do" and "done" lists. He explained that UAS was a number one issue around the world at the moment. Also, "We did a runway safety program... that was extremely successful" and took place over 15 years. And, they are in the process of "investing a lot of money into about what causes runway incursion and mitigation."

Airport Capital Program Showcase

Respond to New and Emerging Security Threats

"None of us can do the job of effective security by ourselves," said Vera Adams, Director, Director, Aviation Division, Office of Security Policy and Industry Engagement, TSA. "We have to work in a very integrated fashion."

During the Respond to New and Emerging Security Threats session moderated by William Vanecek, Director of Aviation, Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, many such valuable suggestions such as this were shared by the panelists.

Adams stressed the importance of having security policies that could be implemented, were practical and were going to be effective. She also brought up the need to have complementary programs, ones that weren’t "at odds with each other, or we run risk of being ineffective and inefficient." Adams touched on ideas currently being used, or in the works, as well. She encouraged everyone to sign up for the Rap Back program, which is a "perpetual vetting process for employees." And, she definitely encourages the use of biometrics. "Biometrics are a really good upgrade for access controls."

Neil Perry, Vice President, Service Delivery, CATSA, explained that all organizations manage risk and some assess threats - threat of completion, threat of market fluctuations, etc. We break down physical threats, aviation security and explosive threats, he said. "We don’t do it alone, however. There are partnerships." He said that to assess the risk of threats, "you rely on intelligence." Once they have all the information, you have to analyze it. The CATSA Threat Detection Baseline defines minimum threat detection standards, focuses on historical and current trends, and is adjusted, as necessary. "New ones come along, but we can’t stop looking at the old ones either," he explained.

This important aspect was reinforced by Jim Marriot, Aviation Security at ICAO. "It is very tempting to be attracted to the new emerging threats and forget about the previous ones," he said. "Threats don’t go away. They’ve been successful in the past, they’ll be tried again. It is not a list of threats where you add a new one and then you take one off." He said the challenge that ICAO has "is like the challenge you have at your airport. We have a lot of different players that need to be organized and aligned to achieve results." And there has been strong progress made recently. The first-ever Global Aviation Security Plan is being proposed at ICAO. "It will be a priority," he said. And, last week, the United Nations adopted an aviation security program (available on the Security Council website). This is another validating example of the fact that there is now "a strong rudder guiding aviation security."

Today's 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. 

Hartsfield-Jackson joins industry effort to improve security screening process: Hartsfield-Jackson International has signed on to an airport industry project aimed at improving the security screening process, becoming the first U.S. airport to participate.Read more >>

FAA touts Data Comm installations at 45 U.S. airport ATC towers: Enabling controllers at airport air traffic control (ATC) towers to transmit flight clearance information to pilots via text message will reduce flight delays and potentially expand capacity at crowded airports, according to FAA. The agency demonstrated the technology for media Sept. 27 at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD).Read more >>

House passes bill to ensure breast milk is allowed on airplanes: House lawmakers Tuesday easily passed a bill ensuring that passengers traveling with infants can bring baby bottles and breast milk through airport security. Read more >>

Clinton, Trump bring infrastructure hopes to White House: Whether it’s Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump in the White House next year, one thing is certain: Infrastructure spending is going to be on the agenda. Read more >>

Trump compares U.S. airports to 'third-world country': On Monday Donald Trump lambasted the state of American infrastructure at the first presidential debate, comparing a major New York airport to a "third-world country." Read more >>

Delta, Air France-KLM and Jet Airways to expand codeshare from CDG: Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines and joint venture partner Air France-KLM have announced an expansion of the airlines’ existing cooperation agreement with India’s Jet Airways. Read more >>

Lehigh Valley residents can sign up for TSA program at LVIA to bypass security lines: For the first time, Lehigh Valley International Airport is offering a TSA Precheck program that allows qualified fliers to bypass the main checkpoint line. Read more >>

WestJet, Air Canada facing lawsuit over bag fees: Canada’s two major airlines, WestJet and Air Canada, are facing accusations they worked together in imposing fees for checked bags. Read more >>

KCI’s passenger traffic up again in August over last year: Passenger traffic at Kansas City International Airport has increased 5.6 percent for the year through August compared with the same period last year, the city’s Aviation Department said Tuesday. Read more >>

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Be sure to tweet comments and photos from the 2016 ACI-NA/World Annual Conference/World Annual General Assembly. Mention @airportscouncil and use the hashtag #airports16

Thank You to the 2017 Annual Conference Sponsors
2017 Annual Conference Reading List

Keynote Address with Peter Bergen

On 9/11, there were only 16 people on the No-Fly List, said CNN’s National Security Analyst Peter Bergen. Now, there are thousands on this list. Those numbers speak volumes about how serious the terrorist threat danger is at airports and how seriously the United States federal government's Terrorist Screening Center (TSC) is addressing the threat.

Bergen, who has been part of this security discussion for more than two decades, shared his perspective on this topic during the keynote presentation on Tuesday. "Aviation security is the top national security issue," he said. "They remain the Holy Grail and that is not to change any time soon. They are going to find the weakest links in the systems and are going to try to attack them."

And there isn’t much you can do to discourage them trying to target you. "They are not going to target bus stations in the same way," he explained. "You can push back the perimeter, but you are just pushing back the problem." He mentioned an interesting idea he saw in Turkey, where your entire car has to go through an X-ray-type machine. But, then is this long of cars creating another target, similar to the long queue lines at gate security checkpoints?

The main security issue facing airports now is the insider threat, he said, as we saw with the Metrojet attack in Egypt last year -- the deadliest attack on aviation since 9/11. Also, not just airline or airport personnel are involved. As a recent example, he mentioned an incident at Heathrow where someone in the shopping area was in contact with a terrorist group. "The problem is people who are being radicalized and being radicalized very quickly," said Bergen. "Internet is radicalizing people and there is not a lot you can do except put better media out there."

The other problem is that if we destroyed ISIS tomorrow, "that would not be solving the problem. ISIS is the symptom of a deeper problem that is not going away anytime soon." He explained that ISIS has lost 45,000 fighters in the past two years and are no longer able to replenish themselves. But, before long, "there will be a son of ISIS or sons of ISIS."

Also, what happens as ISIS is increasingly put under pressure and defeated? What happens to the foreign fighters? They will disperse and have nowhere to go, said Bergen. "What kind of threat do they pose?"

Terrorists are also acquiring armed drones and are becoming their own media network. "ISIS is broadcasting attacks in real time," said Bergen. "It is a sobering development.’

On a good note, however, "the fact is, the U.S. government has done a good job of keeping us safe, as have the people in this room," said Bergen. Will there be more attacks? Yes. But, we have made it "much, much harder for terrorists to attack the United States," said Bergen.


2017 Agenda Highlights

ACI-NA Celebrates Leadership Rotation at Annual Conference 

Airports Council International - North America (ACI-NA) announced yesterday that William (Bill) Vanecek, Director of Aviation at Buffalo Niagara International Airport, assumed the chair position for the organization’s Board of Directors from outgoing Chair Maureen Riley, Executive Director of Salt Lake City Department of Airports. The change in leadership happened during a special reception on Tuesday, September 27, 2016, at the ACI-NA/World Annual Conference and World Annual General Assembly in Montréal. 

"ACI-NA has an ability to bring together the industry to find common sense solutions to challenges we face as airport operators," said Vanecek. "As the next chair of ACI-NA, I am looking forward to working alongside airport leaders to advance important airport priorities in Washington and Ottawa."

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