Page 1 | February/March 2008

Signage/Wayfinding Crisis Communications Runway Rehab

innermarker M









sean broderick Publisher

Joan Lowden Executive Editor

Ellen P. horton Dep u t y E d i t o r

Barbara Cook NEWS Editor

Holly Ackerman assistant Editor

melissa babula Art Director

daryl humphrey G r a p h i c De s i gne r

JOACIR SOTO contributors

Tom Esch Broderick Grady Jeff Price Clif Stroud Eryn Travis STA F F P HOTO G RA P H E R

JAMES MARTIN S t a ff V i c e P r e s i d en t S a l e s a n d M a r k e t i ng

Susan Lausch director S a l e s a n d M a r k e t i ng

Mike candela E d i t o r i a l Off i c e

601 Madison Street, Suite 400 Alexandria, VA 22314 (703) 824-0500, Ext. 126 Fax: (703) 820-1395 Internet Address:

Customers First At Dulles


he Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) recently signed a deal to bring Registered Traveler to Dulles International and Ronald Reagan National airports. Part of the deal, I assumed, would be the demise of a welcomed perk at Dulles: the “premium passenger” checkpoint lane. After all, aren’t the folks buying premium tickets and flying enough to qualify for status in airline frequent flyer clubs also the prime Registered Traveler customers? Happily, I’m wrong, which makes Dulles the latest example of an airport capitalizing on an opportunity to deliver quality customer service directly to the folks who matter most – the passengers. Granted, the premium passenger perk is tied to the passenger’s loyalty (or financial commitment) to an airline. But by laying out the red carpet for those loyal travelers, Dulles gives them something for spending some money at its venue. MWAA officials said their logic is simple: as a huge international gateway, many first- and business-class passengers fly out of Dulles to other countries. Registered Traveler may not appeal to them if Dulles is their only frequent U.S. destination, and they should get something besides airline club access for spending several thousand dollars on a seat. Plus, the myriad ways one can qualify as a premium passenger — all of local market share leader United’s Mileage Plus members with at least a Premier status can use the lanes, even when traveling on coach-class tickets, for example — mean that the premium lane gets a fair amount of traffic, Hence the appeal of adding a Registered Traveler option as well. An airport’s carriers come and go, but its customers will always be there. Catering to the former remains important. Catering to the latter is becoming a more important strategy.

Send editorial materials/press releases to: Rep r i n t i nf o r m a t i o n

The Reprint Department (717) 481-8500 Airport Magazine is published bimonthly by the AAAE Service Corporation Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of the American Association of Airport Executives, and the Airport Research and Development Foundation.

Sean Broderick Editor

Subscription price for AAAE members is included in the annual dues. U.S. subscription rate to non-members is $45 for one year. International rate for non-members is $75. Single copy price is $10. Copyright 2008 by AAAE. All rights reserved. Statements of fact and opinion are the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of AAAE or any of its members or officers. POSTMASTER Send address changes to: Airport Magazine 601 Madison Street, Suite 400 Alexandria, VA 22314

Airport Magazine | February/March 2008


Volume 20/ Number 1 | February/March 2008










William G. Barkhauer Morristown, New Jersey bill hogan Reynolds, Smith & Hills, Inc. james E. Johnson Odessa, Florida Randy D. Pope Burns & McDonnell



KRYS T. BART, Reno, Nevada First Vice Chair

JAMES P. ELWOOD, Aspen, Colorado Se c o n d V i c e C h a i r


JOHN K. DUVAL, Beverly, Massachusetts Se c r e t a r y / T r e a s u r e r

JAMES E. BENNETT, Washington, D.C.


F IRST P a s t C h a i r

ELAINE ROBERTS, Columbus, Ohio



cover: aircraft rescue & firefighting

Inner Marker Corporate Outlook


Cargo Fire Challenges | 18

Market Scan


Lessons learned from a 2006 on-airport cargo fire at Philadelphia International.



General Aviation




Legislative View


Successful Signage | 28

Legislative View


A well-planned signage and wayfinding system can go a long way in moving passengers through your airport.



Advertisers’ Index


airport signage

vegetation management

Up Front

Innovative Vegetation| 34

coming in airport magazine

Innovative vegetation control methods offer airport safety and savings.

GIS and Airport Applications (April/May)

Crisis communication

Focus on Concessions (April/May)

Beyond The Press| 44 Airport crisis communications means more than dealing with the media.

runway projects Hold the Frills | 40 Rapid Resurfacing | 51 Planning and teamwork were the keys to a successful runway rehab project at Jacksonville, N.C.

Cover Photo: Jim Martin at TEEX Cover Design: Daryl E. Humphrey

second Past Chair

R. LOWELL PRATTE, Louisville, Kentucky

3 6

Board of DirectorS

STEPHEN J. ADAMS, JR., Manchester, New Hampshire JEFF L. BILYEU, Angleton, Texas GARY A. CYR, Springfield, Missouri BENJAMIN R. DECOSTA, Atlanta, Georgia KEVIN A. DILLON, Orlando, Florida ROD A. DINGER, Redding, California LINDA G. FRANKL, Columbus, Ohio MICHAEL J. HANEY, Moline, Illinois GARY L. JOHNSON, Stillwater, Oklahoma ALEX M. KASHANI, Washington, D.C. SCOTT C. MALTA, Atwater, California JEFFREY A. MULDER, Tulsa, Oklahoma ROBERT P. OLISLAGERS, Englewood, Colorado LISA A. PYLES, Addison, Texas WAYNE E. SHANK, Norfolk, Virginia SUSAN M. STEVENS, Charleston, South Carolina DAVID R. ULANE, Aspen, Colorado C h a p t e r P r e s i d en t s

LEW S. BLEIWEIS, Louisville, Kentucky KIM W. HOPPER, Portsmouth, New Hampshire GARY L. JOHNSON, Stillwater, Oklahoma LYNN F. KUSY, Mesa, Arizona TORRANCE A. RICHARDSON, Fort Wayne, Indiana ROGER SELLICK, Kelowna, Canada P o l i c y Re v i ew C o mm i t t ee

BONNIE ALLIN, Tucson, Arizona WILLIAM G. BARKHAUER, Morristown, New Jersey THELLA F. BOWENS, San Diego, California MARK P. BREWER, Warwick, Rhode Island TIMOTHY L. CAMPBELL, Baltimore, Maryland CHERYL D. COHEN-VADER, Denver, Colorado LARRY D. COX, Memphis, Tennessee ALFONSO DENSON, Birmingham, Alabama MICHAEL A. GOBB, Lexington, Kentucky THOMAS GREER, Monterey, California SEAN C. HUNTER, New Orleans, Louisiana CHARLES J. ISDELL, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania JIM KOSLOSKY, Grand Rapids, Michigan MARK D. KRANENBURG, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma JAMES MORASCH, Pasco Arizona ERIN M. O’DONNELL, Chicago, Illinois BRADLEY D. PENROD, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania MORTON V. PLUMB, Anchorage, Alaska MARK M. REIS, Seattle, Washington MAUREEN S. RILEY, Salt Lake City, Utah LESTER W. ROBINSON, Detroit, Michigan JAMES R. SMITH, Newport News, Virginia RICKY D. SMITH, Cleveland, Ohio MARK H. WEBB, San Antonio, Texas P r e s i d en t

Charles M. Barclay, Alexandria, Virginia


Airport Magazine | February/March 2008


Congress Poised To Approve FAA, AIP Funding Congress at Airport Magazine presstime was close to approving a short-term bill to extend funding for FAA through June 30 and allow the agency to begin distributing AIP funds. The bill would provide more than $2.76 billion in AIP contract authority for a nine-month period beginning Oct. 1, 2007 — the beginning of the current fiscal year. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, introduced H.R. 5270, which would extend AIP contract authority through the end of June. Although Congress appropriated more than $3.5 billion for AIP in fiscal year 2009, AIP contract authority expired at the end December 2007, so FAA did not have the ability to distribute AIP grants. H.R. 5270, the Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2008, also would extend the aviation excise taxes, which are slated to expire at the end of February, and airport and airway trust fund expenditure authority. FAA needs all three components extended in order to begin distributing AIP funds. The bill also includes a provision, advocated by AAAE and the association’s Airport Legislative Alliance (ALA), which would maintain the higher federal matching share for AIP projects at small airports. Vision 100 included a provision that increased the federal matching share for small hub and smaller airports from 90 percent to 95 percent. However, that provision expired at the end of September 2007. H.R. 5270 also would extend eligibility for three Essential Air Service (EAS) communities: Brookings, S.D.; Hagerstown, Md.; and Lancaster, Pa., through the end of fiscal year 2008. Those 6

communities are no longer eligible to receive EAS subsidies because a provision contained in Vision 100 related to mileage calculations expired on Sept. 30, 2007. Leaders on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the aviation subcommittee cosponsored the bipartisan bill. The ALA has urged Congress to pass a multi-year FAA reauthorization bill that raises the PFC cap to $7 and increases AIP funding by $100 million per year. If that is not possible, the ALA asked lawmakers to pass a short-term fix that would allow FAA to begin to distribute AIP funds.

DOT To Expand Rates, Charges Policy DOT has proposed expanding its airport rates and charges policy to give congested airports the flexibility to vary charges based on the time of day and the volume of traffic. “Airports will now be able to more efficiently and effectively finance the kind of projects that will give travelers more options, airlines more opportunities and cities like New York more visitors,” DOT Secretary Mary Peters said. Once finalized, the policy would encourage congested airports in New York and across the country to move away from the practice of charging aircraft landing fees based simply on the weight of the plane, Peters said. As a result, airports would be able to spread traffic more evenly throughout the day — allowing them to serve more passengers, reduce delays, and help avoid the need for sustained federal government intervention, she said. The changes to FAA’s Policy on Airport Rates and Charges also would allow airport operators to include the cost of projects designed to expand

Airport Magazine | February/March 2008

capacity in the new landing fees. Currently, airports only may include those costs after the projects have been completed, Peters noted. She said this change would lower the cost of construction projects by helping airports avoid sizeable financing fees. The new policy also would allow airport operators that operate multiple airfields, such as the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, to distribute landing fee revenue among those separate facilities, Peters said. For example, landing fees collected at LaGuardia, Newark or Kennedy International would be available for improvements to Stewart airport. As a result, more travelers may soon be able to take advantage of under-used airports, relieving pressure on the other airports and giving the city’s travelers even more options, Peters said. Public comments on the proposal are due March 3. The AAAE Regulatory Affairs staff is coordinating the association’s response to the proposal and reaching out to members who are interested in participating. Contact AAAE Vice President-Regulatory Affairs Melissa Sabatine at melissa. or (703) 824-0500, Ext. 138, for more information. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey issued a statement that described the new policy as a minor fix for a major problem. “It’s good the FAA is focusing on the delays issue, but these small steps don’t address the fundamental problem when dramatic action is needed. The right solution is expanding capacity through 21st century technologies, working with the airlines on more rational schedules, and better customer service. The port authority has an extensive plan on the table with more than 100 recommendations, formulated by a broad coalition of advocates, to meet those goals and

courtesy of The tucson airport authority

The Tucson Airport Authority (TAA) Fire Department has taken delivery of a new aircraft rescue and firefighting vehicle. Known as Airport 44, the Panther 6 x 6 measures 39 feet long, weighs nearly 80,000 pounds, and, excluding its mirrors, is just under 10 feet wide. Manufactured by America Rosenbauer of Minnesota, the Panther carries 3,000 gallons of water, 500 pounds of dry chemical and while driving down the runway at 50 miles per hour can dispense foam and dry chemical. This is the airport’s third Panther. The rapid intervention vehicle is equipped with numerous cameras, including a forward-looking infrared camera capable of detecting heat on an aircraft and the ground during the day or at night.

our plan should be implemented.” The port authority’s Flight Delay Task Force earlier had proposed 27 short-term initiatives to reduce delays by summer 2008. Most of these recommendations focus on the implementation of readily available technologies or modernizing outdated policies.

The remaining recommendations deal with the physical capacity of airports, sophisticated technology that will require time and substantial investment to implement, and complex new policies and procedures.

Some key long-term measures include:

• Installing advanced ground surveillance systems, which would help ground controllers have a better understanding of where planes are on the tarmac. This helps move planes on and off taxiways and in and out of gates faster and more efficiently; and

• Improving the configuration of the airports’ runways and taxiways, which would allow planes to move more quickly and efficiently on and off runways. The port authority noted that its 2008 budget provides for construction of taxiway additions to improve arrival and departure capacity at the three airports;

• Opening new routes in the most congested airspace.

• Implementing area navigation, or RNAV, an advanced technique of

Key short-term measures include:

precise point-to-point navigation; and • Developing new procedures and technology to use multiple runways simultaneously. With these new tools, aircraft will be able to land on two runways, taking full advantage of the existing airport infrastructure to move more planes.

Customer service initiatives recommended by the task force include: • Establishing a baseline maximum time, two hours for departures and one hour for arrivals, for a plane to sit on the tarmac before the airlines must notify the port authority. • Creating an “early-warning” system that would allow passengers to avoid frustrating waits at the airport; and

Airport Magazine | February/March 2008


news briefs

Gale Rossides, who has served as acting TSA deputy administrator since April 2007, has been named the permanent deputy administrator. “There is no one more committed to the people and mission of TSA than Gale Rossides,” said Kip Hawley, TSA administrator. “Her leadership in developing innovative, employee-centric programs has been key to cultivating our 43,000 officers into a well-trained, highly qualified, professional security workforce.” Rossides was one of the federal executives selected to build TSA after its establishment in 2002 and has served in several executive leadership roles, including serving for a year as a senior advisor to the deputy secretary and under secretary for management for DHS. Most recently she held the position of associate administrator for business transformation and culture, where she established TSA’s senior leadership team....Tom Greer, A.A.E., general manager of Monterey Peninsula (Calif.) Airport, has been named a member of AAAE’s Policy Review Committee (PRC). PRC members serve as an advisory panel to the AAAE Board of Directors on association and industry issues….The Rhode Island Airport Corp., operator of T.F. Green Airport, announced the selection of Kevin Dillon, A.A.E., currently deputy executive director at Orlando International, as the new president/CEO. Dillon served as director at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport from 1999 to 2007. He is a AAAE board member and a past president of the AAAE Northeast Chapter…. Kim Day, former executive director of Los Angeles World Airports, has been named aviation manager of Denver International Airport, effective March 3. She replaces Turner West who is retiring.


• Providing delayed passengers with information on alternate flights and ground transportation.

Airports Named For Screening Test TSA is working with seven airports to implement the pilot employee screening programs that were mandated by Congress in the omnibus appropriations bill passed late last year. Under terms of the legislation, 100 percent physical screening of employees will be evaluated at three airports and alternative means of screening will be evaluated at the other four airports. The pilot tests will be limited to 90 days at each airport. Boston Logan International (Fla.), Jacksonville International (Fla.) and Craven Regional (N.C.,) will pilot 100 percent physical employee screening. At Boston, the 100 percent physical screening will take place at the perimeter and will include screening of vehicles and pedestrians. At Jacksonville and Craven Regional, TSA will pilot 100 percent physical screening through a security checkpoint, although not necessarily through a passenger security checkpoint. At the remaining four airports — Denver, Kansas City, Eugene (Ore.) and Southwest Oregon — alternative measures such as behavior recognition programs, employee security awareness training, deployment of portable screening equipment and biometric access control will be implemented in a variety of combinations. Selected airports can choose not to participate in the pilot program if they are no longer interested, and one airport on the original list of seven did so. TSA selected a replacement based on the same criteria that were used to develop the original list.

Airport Magazine | February/March 2008

Federal security directors are to work closely with the airport operators to determine how and where the various screening operations will be implemented at each facility. TSA will administer the program at each airport and several details, such as how the funding will be distributed among the pilot programs, are being resolved. However, airports will not receive directly any of the $15 million appropriated by Congress to fund the tests. TSA said it will conduct the pilot programs from May to July 2008. Under the legislation, TSA must report to Congress by September on the cost and effectiveness of each of the pilot programs.

Eugene’s Heart-filled Children’s Gallery Eugene (Ore.) Airport has teamed with A Family for Every Child’s Heart Gallery of Lane County to help local foster children find permanent families. The gallery showcases children through professional photographs on display in the lobby of the terminal. The organization says the goal is for each child to find his or her own “forever family” and to raise the community’s awareness of Oregon’s children waiting to be adopted. The gallery at the airport started in 2007 as an experiment, but airport officials say it has become a permanent fixture that’s making a difference in the lives of children. About 10 professional portraits and stories of children currently in foster care are on display in the terminal lobby. A Family for Every Child works with the Oregon Dept. of Human Services, Services to Children and Families, to adopt children in foster care. The majority of the children are considered hard to place

courtesy of San Diego International Airport

San Diego International (pictured) and Phoenix Sky Harbor International were among airports that offered free flu shots to passengers, employees and visitors at their airports in January. San Diego International partnered with the Community Health Improvement Partners organization to provide more than 600 people with the free shots during the one-day event. Free pneumonia shots also were available. At Phoenix, nearly 2,000 people received free flu shots during a six-day period. Sky Harbor joined with the Arizona Partnership for Immunization and the Maricopa County Department of Public Health to offer the service.


because they are not infants. “There are a variety of photographers who donate their time, print shops that donate the printing and frame shops that donate the framing,” explained Tim Doll, A.A.E., Eugene Airport director. “Pictures are rotated in and out of the display quite often.” Airport staff members report that the response to the Heart Gallery at Eugene Airport has been “wonderful.” Every day, visitors to the terminal stop and look at the display, with many people taking the time to carefully read about each child. The most rewarding part of the partnership comes when a connection is made, staff members say, citing the story of two brothers, Brian, 8, and Brandon, 10, who were adopted directly as a result of having their portraits displayed in the heart gallery at the airport. “The decision to exhibit the Heart Gallery at the airport has been well received,” said Doll. “We receive numerous positive comments from the passengers, and it is a great way to support the local community.” The Heart Gallery has chapters across the country. Eugene airport officials suggest that, with a little extra space along a wall or in an alcove, other airports also could partner with a local Heart Gallery chapter. To learn more about the Heart Gallery of Lane County, visit www.

Fly SUX — New Marketing Plan While most airport executives probably don’t give their airports’ three-letter identifiers much thought, that’s not the case at Sioux Gateway Airport in Sioux City, Iowa. With an identifier like theirs — SUX — 10

they’ve given it a lot of thought, but until recently those thoughts were less than positive. What changed? Faced with unsatisfactory choices for a new identifier from FAA, airport officials made the decision to embrace the existing one, and have reaped the rewards of their creativity. “The idea of promoting SUX came about with an informal discussion with our Board of Trustees,” said Rick McElroy, airport director. He credited airport board member Dave Bernstein with having a few T-shirts made declaring “Fly SUX” to give out at the airport’s annual travel agent appreciation banquet. “They were a big hit and were the most popular item among the giveaways that evening,” McElroy reported. The T-shirts surfaced again at the event for Frontier’s inaugural flight in early October. The board president posed with one of the T-shirts presented to Frontier officials, a photo that was widely distributed through the Internet. And the rest, as they say, is history. With a new marketing campaign in full swing, the airport has sold merchandise to people in every state in the union and some foreign countries, as well. “The reception has exceeded any expectation imaginable,” said McElroy. “We have been inundated with e-mails, phone calls and interview requests. All have been positive responses, congratulating us for embracing our identifier and having fun with it while raising awareness of our airport.” McElroy said their initial goal was to increase awareness within the region about Sioux Gateway Airport, but noted the movement has “gone global.” “We have had responses to our Fly SUX campaign from all over the country and from a few international locations at this point,” said McElroy. “Our board members, elected officials, chamber personnel, | February/March 2008

and I have been interviewed by newspapers, radio stations, and TV stations all over the country, as well as the BBC. Our campaign has been the subject of TV talk shows, news channels and radio stations that have included the Keith Olbermann show on MSNBC and the National Public Radio. We have also sold Fly SUX T-shirts and caps to individuals in every state and a few international locations.” In addition to selling Fly SUX merchandise in the airport’s gift shop, the items also are available on the Internet at www.siouxcitygifts. com. McElroy in late October speculated that the campaign would have a positive impact by encouraging people in the Sioux Gateway catchment area to take a look at the airport when making travel plans. He said he anticipated that the campaign, along with other efforts, would help curb the 70 percent leakage the airport has been experiencing.

on the west end of Concourse B at Washington Dulles International. AirTran, JetBlue and Virgin America began operating in the new area on Jan. 15. American and Delta are scheduled to move to the new area later this year.

The expansion of Concourse B is part of the D2 Dulles Development program. Since 2001, MWAA has invested more than $3 billion in improvements at Dulles. The completion of the $137 million Concourse B extension completes

In fact, in the months following the initial media blitz over the Fly SUX campaign — which came a couple of weeks after the launch of new Frontier Airlines service in October — the airport has reported triple digit traffic increases (135 percent in October, 161 percent in November and 127 percent in December). And the increases have not been just in response to the new service. The airport’s existing carrier, Northwest, has matched Frontier’s lower fares, and has seen significant increases in traffic, too. With talks underway with a third carrier, McElroy said they’re looking at possible improvements to the airport to keep the positive trend going, including restoring an unused taxiway and renovating the terminal.

IAD Opens Concourse Extension The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) has opened a new 15-gate extension | February/March 2008


courtesy of Denver international airport

the build-out of Concourse B, the first permanent midfield concourse at Dulles. The expansion adds 240,000 square feet to the facility, bringing Concourse B to a total of 800,000 square feet.

Denver Opens 1,800-space Garage Denver International opened an 1,800-space parking garage in late January that brings the airport’s total public parking spaces to just under 41,000. Construction of the $47.5 million garage began in May 2006. The new garage module is located at the southwest corner of the Jeppesen Terminal.   Elevators on all five levels of the garage lead to a walkway that

provides access to the terminal. The daily rate for parking in the new garage will be $18, the same as in all other Denver International garages.

Boston Executive Terminal Seeks LEED Certification The new Signature Flight Support Executive Terminal at Boston Logan International Airport has been

submitted for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, and is anticipated to be the world’s first LEED certified fixed-base operation (FBO), according to an announcement from SchenkelShultz, the Orlando-based architecture firm that designed the building in association with Chan Krieger Sieniewicz of Boston. The LEED designation is a


seal of approval for structures that are designed and built in an environmentally responsible fashion to be profitable and healthy places to live and work. The 22,000-square-foot Signature terminal was honored with the Award of Merit in 2007 from the New England Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Signature Flight Support said that SchenkelShultz will apply its green philosophy to designs for new and existing Signature facilities at its campus at San Francisco International.

Delta Offers Dedicated Lane To Elite Flyers Delta announced that its Elite customers flying within the U.S. now have a dedicated lane at each airport gate allowing them priority boarding anytime during the process — not just when their zone is called. The new lanes, called Breezeway, are marked by red signage and blue carpet, and are located throughout the U.S. in cities served by Delta. Breezeway lanes will continue to expand through early 2008 in Canada, the Caribbean, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and those destinations served only by Delta Connection, the carrier said.

Atlanta Busiest U.S. Airport Again For the third consecutive year, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International in 2007 ranked as the busiest U.S. airport in terms of number of operations, according to FAA data. The airport totaled 994,466 flights last year, almost 2 percent more than 2006. Chicago O’Hare International was

the nation’s second busiest airport, with 935,000 flights, down 2.4 percent from its 2006 total. Dallas/Fort Worth International was the third busiest airport last year, with 686,711 flights, down 2.3 percent from 2006, FAA said.

Airlines Predict Profit In 2008 Improved passenger and cargo revenue — particularly in the international arena — will help offset a sizeable increase in U.S. carrier fuel expenses and a modest increase in non-fuel expense, enabling the industry to post a $3.5 billion to $4.5 billion net profit this year, according to the Air Transport Association’s (ATA) industry outlook. Indicators point to another year of improving fuel efficiency, despite air traffic congestion and resultant taxiout and airborne delays, ATA said. Comparable load factors are likely to be accompanied by individual airline efforts to realize higher yields by increasing business travel as a share of total traffic, the association said. In addition, ATA said that, although final figures will not be available until May, the past two years (2006-2007) are expected to show the first back-to-back net profit for U.S. carriers since 1999-2000. “While the ultimate margin will undoubtedly be sub-par by typical corporate America standards, the two consecutive years of profitability come as welcome relief after an unprecedented five-year loss of $35 billion,” ATA said.

US Airways Selected For China Route DOT has made a final decision to select US Airways to inaugurate its first U.S.-China service in 2009, as

well as to award additional U.S.China passenger flights to American, Continental and Northwest, also for 2009. The department’s decision confirms its tentative decision issued in a 2007 show cause order. The awards are the result of an agreement signed in July by the U.S. and China to open up new opportunities between the two countries that will double the number of daily flights allowed over the next five years.

FAA Awards Contract For New Reno-Tahoe Tower FAA has awarded a contract for construction of a new air traffic control tower at Reno-Tahoe International. Devcon Construction Inc. will receive $18.4 million to build the new tower and a base building. FAA said the total project cost will be $27 million, which includes construction costs plus air traffic control equipment and internal FAA project support costs. Construction should begin in early 2008 and end in late 2010. The new tower will be 195 feet tall — almost three times the height of the current tower — and will sit atop a one-story, 10,000-square-foot base building, which will house administrative offices. The location of the new tower will be on the airport’s east side, on the site of the former Brookside Golf Course. The current tower is on the airport’s west side, near the National Guard base. Reno needs a taller control tower to provide air traffic controllers with better airfield views, FAA said, noting that the airport’s runways are considerably longer than they were when the existing tower was built in 1957. In addition, air traffic at RenoTahoe has been increasing steadily in recent years, FAA said. | February/March 2008



BA To Launch ‘OpenSkies’ Airline British Airways said that in June it will launch its new U.S.-European Union (EU) subsidiary airline “OpenSkies” with daily flights from New York to Brussels and Paris.

The airline will institute service with one 757 aircraft that will operate from New York to either Brussels or Paris Charles de Gaulle airports. A second aircraft will be added to the fleet later this year to fly to the other destination, BA said. The plan is to operate six 757s by the end

of 2009, all of which will be drawn from the current British Airways fleet, the company said. British Airways’ Chief Executive Willie Walsh commented, “This is an exciting new venture for us and we’re confident that it will be a great success as we build on the strength of British Airways’ brand in the U.S. and Europe. He added, “By naming the airline OpenSkies, we’re celebrating the first major step in 60 years towards a liberalized U.S./EU aviation market, which means we can fly between any U.S. and EU destination. It also signals our determination to lobby for further liberalization in this market when talks between the EU and US take place later this year.”

DHS Increases Fingerprint Collection DHS said that it has begun collecting additional fingerprints from international visitors arriving at San Francisco International Airport. The change is part of the department’s upgrade from two- to 10-fingerprint collection to enhance security. Houston Bush Intercontinental began 10-fingerprint collection in February. In addition, Washington Dulles International, HartsfieldJackson Atlanta International, Boston Logan International and Chicago O’Hare International also have begun 10-fingerprint collection. Four other airports soon will begin collecting additional fingerprints. They are Miami International, Detroit Metro, Orlando International and New York’s Kennedy International. The remaining airports, seaports and land border ports of entry will transition to collecting 10 fingerprints by the end of 2008, DHS said. A

14 | February/March 2008


Project Definition |

An Effective Strategy for Implementing Capital Projects


The fundamental components of project definition are: Consultant Selection: A qualification-based process (FAA model) should be utilized for assembling the consultants for project definition. Focus on the experience of the people, not the firm, in your selection. To ensure that the people proposed are those who actually perform the full scope of services, the airport should consider specifically identifying them in the agreement. Utilize specialty consultants’ expertise and assemble them into one collaborative team.

Focused Project Organization After assembling a collaborative team, create a focused, cohesive and efficient organization. Managing the roles and responsibilities among the multiple firms involved in the process is essential. The airport must establish the leadership to accomplish the objectives of the process. This leadership is critical and should be staffed by one or more individuals who are not responsible for the daily operations at the airport. Standing meetings should be conducted locally, allowing appropriate interaction with the airport’s staff

Significant Cost Estimating This may be the single most important component because of the economic changes in the aviation industry. Instead of basing the budget on a gross cost per square foot, a thoroughly developed concept with cost estimating accuracy can avoid

cost overruns during the implementation of a project. The airport, consultants and airlines should choose three experienced estimators to work simultaneously and conduct cost reconciling work sessions where no one is right and no one is wrong. The airport’s estimator should prepare the final estimate.

Successful Negotiations Successful projects are those that meet the expectations of the constituents. Limited financial resources and dynamic environments affect these expectations and should be addressed in the agreement between the airport and its tenants. Clearly define success factors, such as cost per enplanement. The airlines can relate to this metric and quantify the capital project’s impact to their financial model. The aviation industry continues to be very dynamic. Therefore, adequate planning contingency should be factored into the project agreement. Expect change; TSA, e-ticketing, construction cost fluctuations and airline bankruptcies are all factors that one could not have predicted 10 years ago.

By Richard Potosnak

any capital projects never evolve out of airports’ master plans or are hastily executed from master plan to final design. Often the project doesn’t develop beyond the master plan stage because of lack of constituency support. Sometimes the project is prematurely thrust from a master plan state to detailed design before an operational and financial strategy is developed. This can cause anguish for the airport and often set up a project for failure. Project definition has been proven to be an effective transition from a master plan to the implementation of projects at airports, including Indianapolis International, Raleigh-Durham International and Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport. This strategy provides a well developed concept with an operational plan and a fixed capital cost.

Deliverable The key deliverable from the project definition process is a comprehensive design and cost document that provides the guidance and metrics for design and implementation. Successful completion of the project relies not only on knowing the facts, but also on being open to change. This will provide the flexibility and discipline to continually improve the project. In today’s operating environment, the airport should stay open to increased business opportunities beyond the traditional revenue sources. All of these components should thoroughly be developed before implementing the project. The results of project definition become the cornerstone for negotiating agreements with the airlines, selection of program management team, selection of design team and construction procurement strategy. The project definition process requires the airport to make an investment of resources early in a capital project. With this initial investment, an airport can expect to reap benefits during the implementation and execution of the project. A Richard Potosnak is President of Transportation Consulting & Management. Contact him at Airport Magazine | February/March | February/March 2008 2008



Cargo Fire Challe By Jeff Price

Removing a planeload of passengers from the ARFF incident equation doesn’t make things as easy as you might think, as Philadelphia firefighters learned two years ago.



he good news about fighting a cargo aircraft fire is that 150 passengers aren’t on board. But there are plenty of hazards that can injure or kill aircraft rescue firefighter (ARFF) crew members if they aren’t careful when responding to a cargo plane emergency. On Feb. 7, 2006, ARFF crews from Philadelphia International Airport, responding to a fire on board a UPS DC-8, learned numerous lessons the hard way. Fortunately, no one was injured seriously, but their actions, both good and bad, provide

Airport Magazine | February/March 2008

valuable lessons for what to do and what not to do when responding to a cargo plane crash. It was nearly midnight when the flight crew on UPS Flight 1307 inbound to Philadelphia from Atlanta smelled smoke in the cockpit. The flight engineer went into the cargo area but didn’t see any fumes or fire. Since cargo aircraft are filled wall to wall with shipping containers, he was unable to walk around the cabin to identify the source of the smoke.

Three minutes shy of landing, the captain reported that he was losing the use of some electrical instruments, and smoke was beginning to enter the cockpit. At 11:58 p.m., with outside air temperatures at the freezing point and 55 percent humidity, Philadelphia airport ARFF crews rolled. As the stricken aircraft approached the airport, Philadelphia’s ARFF crews made their way to Runway 27L, the airport’s designated emergency strip, as it is both a bit longer and wider than Runway 27R, and farther away from the terminal. Philadelphia air traffic controllers cleared the plane to land on 27L. The UPS flight crew lined up on Runway 27R, however; the controllers changed their clearance and notified the ARFF crews. The first responders then made their way to the active runway, arriving before the DC-8 touched down.

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Airport Magazine | February/March 2008


arff Upon landing on Runway 27R, the UPS aircraft, with a crew of three, still had 22,000 pounds of fuel on board. Crew members immediately opened the cockpit windows to vent smoke, which now filled the cockpit. The lack of visibility affected the ability to determine the type and location of hazardous materials that were on board. This information is kept in the cockpit in the Notice to Captain or NOTOC book. The flight crew searched in vain for the NOTOC, but it had been moved from its normal location. The choking smoke forced the flight crew out of the cockpit and down the emergency slides before they could locate the book. Flight crew members ran away from the aircraft just as the first ARFF unit with the Rapid Intervention Vehicle (RIV) arrived. The Oshkosh 1,500-gallon RIV unit approached the nose of the aircraft.

On-duty ARFF Crew At Philadelphia, an on-duty airport ARFF crew — or battalion — numbers 11 firefighters, two paramedics, one lieutenant and a shift captain. Once on site, the battalion of first responders made a call for additional support. That call brought out four engines, three ladders, two battalion chiefs and one division chief. With the flight crew safely out of the plane, fire crews could focus on putting out the fire, rather than worrying about rescuing passengers. In a passenger aircraft accident, the primary goal is to create an egress path for passengers, preferably within the first 90 seconds of the incident, which is the time it takes for a jet fuel-driven fire to burn through the fuselage. A cargo plane is a different challenge. Finding the source of the fire and accessing the aircraft are hampered by the fact that a cargo

Not All DC-8 Doors Are The Same


Airport Magazine | February/March 2008

plane doesn’t have any windows, nor does it have numerous people on board to tell firefighters where the fire is located. One challenge for the Philadelphia ARFF crew was determining where to use the single Snozzle-equipped truck. A Snozzle, an extendable turret with a skin-penetrating nozzle that is manufactured by Crash Rescue Inc., penetrates an aircraft’s skin and dispenses water and foam inside. In a presentation to the ARFF Working Group’s 2006 annual conference, Philadelphia airport Battalion Chief Paul Flanagan noted that it would have been helpful to have additional Snozzles to combat the UPS aircraft fire. The benefit of using a Snozzle-equipped truck to fight an aircraft fire was underscored by George Quick, assistant director for programs and operations at the University of Nevada-Reno Fire Science Academy. “Accessibility is one of the big problems in a cargo fire,” Quick told Airport Magazine in an interview. “Once you can get in the door, you can’t get a whole lot further. You have to move containers to get anywhere in the aircraft, which makes the Snozzle that much more effective in these kinds of fires.” Flanagan also noted that many of the crew that night, including himself, had limited ARFF experience, though they had undergone required FAA Part 139 training and instruction on how to use the Snozzle. The uniqueness of the UPS incident — a point underscored by investigators during the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) probe and public hearing on the incident — made it a challenging situation for any ARFF personnel, regardless of experience. Flanagan said his crew had a good plan in place to respond to the UPS incident but was frustrated initially by the inability to open the main cargo door, known as the L-1 door. “A firefighter tried to open the door the way he was taught to open aircraft doors, but the door didn’t move,” Flanagan said. “The guy put a Halligan [prying tool] on it, and the door handle spun, but it still didn’t open.” Firefighters are taught to open a variety of doors on different types of aircraft, but the DC-8 has an unusual door mechanism that, without internal power, requires a complicated, precise sequence of actions that must be completed both from within the cockpit and from within the cabin in order for the door to open. The issue is further complicated by the fact that not all DC-8 doors are the same, meaning different procedures are required to open the different doors. Investigators also found that Philadelphia’s ARFF personnel were not provided with “accurate or complete” diagrams showing how the DC-8 doors worked, NTSB noted in its

Jim Martin at TEEX

Lessons Learned

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ere’s a summary of lessons learned from the UPS accident as related by Philadelphia International Airport Battalion Chief Paul Flanagan at the ARFF Working Group 2006 annual conference. Assembled by Jeff Price. —You play like you practice, but remember to use all potential tools and resources. Even though you only train with water, remember that firefighting foams and dry chemical are still available. —Resupply water to the trucks on the line, rather than having them leave the fire line to go back to the station and refill. —Consider putting the RIV where the fire is. —Have the right tools for the job, i.e. cutting blades, dry chemical. —Know how to open the aircraft doors and have a variety of options if they won’t open. —Watch your step. Flanagan noted that the quantity of hose line spread around the incident scene created trip hazards. You need adequate lighting, and if it’s freezing, deice the area around the aircraft where the first responders are working. —Have a communications plan, have a radio for each frequency, and assign someone to help coordinate the communications. —Ensure that airport operations obtains the equipment that is needed in a timely manner and that personnel know how to operate the equipment.

—Call for help early. Anticipate needs and start moving while the plane is still in the air. —Coordinate operations. Meet face to face with command staff. Communicate anticipated actions to other sectors operating on the aircraft. Get technical experts when required. Be careful of other issues, such as getting a t-stand for the aircraft, so it doesn’t tilt when the cargo is offloaded. —Diversify training. It shouldn’t all be classroom work. Make it realistic; make sure training is current and up to date. —Keep the flight crew at the scene, if possible, since they are the primary source of information about the flight and the contents of the aircraft. Second, don’t assume that flight crew members are the only humans on board. While most cargo flights have only a crew of two or three on board, responders should assume that other passengers still may be in the plane, such as off-duty flight crew who are deadheading, or individuals who may be escorting certain types of sensitive cargo such as exotic animals. —Be familiar with aircraft types. Schematics of aircraft are widely available and should be part of any ARFF equipment list. Many ARFF units now carry laptop computers with a database of aircraft schematics. Also, all personnel should be made aware of critical areas within the aircraft, such as the location of fuel bladders, the batteries and any access points. A

Airport Magazine | February/March 2008


arff final report on the incident — a fact that surely hampered their effort to open the door.

No Fuel Hazard After determining a fuel hazard did not exist near the door, firefighters utilized acetylene torches and saws on the door. The saws were equipped with composite blades, which deteriorate as they are used. Concrete blades were available but were not used. At the ARFF Working Group conference, several alternative suggestions were offered for accessing the cargo door, including the use of concrete, diamond and carbide blades. The potential use of torches and saws raises the concern for sparks, particularly when fuel is involved. Some fire departments have kept down sparks caused by the use of saws by using a hand-held fire extinguisher on the cutting area. One suggestion was to ignore the door altogether and cut the fuselage out around it. Fire crews used hand-held infrared cameras to identify hot spots where they could concentrate their extinguishing efforts, and Flanagan kept handline operations going on the right and left wings. This kept the fire contained to the back of the aircraft. The handline operation, however, turned out to be risky business for the firefighters as the water from their hoses quickly turned to ice, leaving firefighters standing on slippery wings. In addition, the Snozzle operations didn’t go smoothly. Firefighters using the nozzle had to re-position it several times before piercing the DC-8’s fuselage, NTSB noted in its final report. At one point during the re-positioning efforts, nearby firefighters accidentally were sprayed. The Snozzle challenges experienced at Philadelphia were similar to ones reported by responders to a February 2005 incident at Teterboro, N.J. “Specifically, the piercing tip


Airport Magazine | February/March 2008

folded back and had to be reset during piercing attempts,” NTSB noted in its UPS report. Flanagan said the Snozzle challenges highlight the importance of knowing the limitations and operating characteristics of your equipment. NTSB agreed; one of the board’s recommendations stemming from the probe is to have FAA “provide guidance to [ARFF] personnel on the best training methods to obtain and maintain proficiency” using Snozzles and similar equipment. Fighting a fire for four hours brings with it operational challenges, as trucks had to keep returning to base to refill with water. The first truck to run out of water was the 3,000-gallon Snozzle-equipped Oshkosh truck. Rather than have the most important piece of equipment leave the scene to get more water, Flanagan recommended using other trucks to tanker water to the primary frontline vehicles. Knowing what type of fire you’re up against and what extinguishing agent should be used is another critical component in battling a cargo fire. According to both Flanagan and Reno’s Quick, most cargo fires are Class A-type fires, which normally could be handled with water. Foam is usually used when aviation gas or jet fuel is on fire. However, in this case it wasn’t until firefighters started applying foam to the inside of the cabin, some four hours into the incident, that the fire went out. Flanagan said he wasn’t sure why they had not switched to foam earlier on. In testimony to NTSB, Philadelphia ARFF Captain Gary Loesch noted that the switch to foam was made after the fire had vented itself.

Using Dry Chemical Both Quick and Flanagan suggested using dry chemical to put out a cargo fire like the UPS fire, provided firefighters are able to get the dry chemical agent to the interior

of the cabin, which means successfully breaching the aircraft fuselage. “Dry chemical works by stopping the chain reaction,” explained Quick. “Plus, it gets into voids and spaces where the water would not. If it’s a smoldering fire inside the metal container, water isn’t going to get inside the metal container until the container burns through. You have to get the agent where the fire is, and dry chemical can do that.” After the passengers, one of the most important elements of a cargo fire is identification of hazardous materials on board. Air cargo planes can carry certain types of hazardous material that commercial air carriers cannot. Therefore, it is critical to know the type and location of the hazardous materials (hazmat) on board. After the incident, both Flanagan and UPS made procedural changes. UPS now provides shipping information to many of its stations via computer so that hazmat details can be accessed online. But, even when the NOTOC is available, responders still should be careful about other unknown hazmat that may be on board. “The cargo company is relying on their shippers to provide them good information on what they are shipping,” said Quick. “The shippers, to save some money, could lie about what they are shipping to avoid paying the hazmat shipping fee, or could ship hazmat they don’t know actually is hazmat. You have a lot of private people who may ship anything not realizing it’s hazmat.” Cargo aircraft also often carry animals and human organs. Responders need to be cautious of any animals carried on board, particularly dangerous ones, and of biohazards such as bloodborne pathogens, Quick said.

Among the lessons learned from this incident, Flanagan pointed to the need to call for extra help. By the end of the incident, more than 80 firefighters had responded. The need for cross-training is another lesson learned. Flanagan implemented plans to fix many of the problems that were identified, both during the incident and in the NTSB report. “I don’t know of any fire in its own right that [unfolds] really smoothly. For most events, it’s chaos in motion. You kind of overcome and adapt,” said Flanagan. “Sometimes you overcome and adapt from your own mistakes.” NTSB never determined the fire’s origin. The board’s report concluded that it started from “an unknown source… most likely located in cargo container 12, 13 or 14.” Breaking down any incident — let alone one as challenging as UPS Flight 1307, involving a cargo plane with hazardous materials onboard, at night, in freezing temperatures — inevitably leads to lessons learned. The big picture, however, should not be overlooked: the ARFF crews, other responders, and everyone else who helped fight the UPS fire that night in Philadelphia performed exceptionally well under the circumstances. “Clearly, valuable lessons were learned from this incident, but, overall, I think the performance of the Philadelphia Fire Department and the airport’s staff was truly heroic,” said Philadelphia Director of Aviation Charles Isdell, A.A.E. “The fact that the airport returned to normal operation within six hours was miraculous and minimized the impact of this fire on the national air system.” A Jeff Price is a professor in aviation management at the Metropolitan State College of Denver.

New ARFF Training Product To Debut The ARFF Training Alliance is creating an interactive, computer-based ARFF FAR Part 139 training series designed to meet the FAR Part 139 Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting recurrent training requirements (with the exception of the live-fire exercise). The series, designed to be an integral tool in the ARFF training toolbox, will meet the covered training requirements for all index airports. Each module includes electronic recordkeeping and the ability to print a certificate of completion. The series has 12 modules that are self-paced and designed to be completed by individuals as their schedules allow. Module one “Airport Familiarization,” will be released in the first quarter of 2008. The series is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2008. The content of each module is being reviewed by the FAA. The ARFF Training Alliance and FAA are collaborating on the development of test questions. The ARFF Training Alliance, a partnership between the ARFFWG and AAAE, was established to design, develop, and promote quality training and educational opportunities for ARFF personnel to help maintain the highest level of aviation safety. For more information about the ARFF Training Alliance or the interactive ARFF FAR Part 139 Recurrent Training Series, contact Barbara Haas (ARFFWG) at or Jim Martin (AAAE) at A

Airport Magazine | February/March 2008



Top 25 International Destinations by Country from the U.S. March 2001 vs March 2008 (non stop, operating passenger flights only)

Available Seats

Destination Country

March 2001

March 2008

Variance 2008 vs 2001









United Kingdom




















Dominican Republic
















Republic of Korea




Costa Rica








Chinese Taipei




















Spain & Canary Islands








Netherlands Antilles
















Data Copyright 2008 OAG Worldwide. All Rights Reserved.


Airport Magazine | February/March 2008


TRAINING grounds

Oakland International Airport | Terminal 2


ake the popularity of gourmet coffee, combine it with a community need, and the result is Training Grounds at Oakland International Airport’s (OAK) Terminal 2. The concession, opened in November 2007, employs 30 at-risk youths who work for six months at a time. Training Grounds is operated by HMSHost Corporation, in partnership with the Port of Oakland — owner and operator of OAK — and was designed to give young workers hands-on management experience and an opportunity to learn other valuable job skills. Training Grounds is located in the baggage claim area, providing a place for travelers to get a cup of coffee and a snack while waiting for their luggage. According to Susan Goyette, senior director, communications and public relations, HMSHost is very pleased with the results of the program so far. “It is our goal, as the concessionaire, to create a program where we can teach marketable skills to younger people in the workforce. We hope they can make the transition to other HMSHost concessions, not just at OAK, but in some of our other California airport locations.”   Local HMSHost management works with Youth Employment Partnership Inc. (YEP) to provide ongoing mentoring and support to Training Grounds’ young staff. “Kids have a greater chance

At OAK, teens learn how to run a business and make a great cup of coffee. of success – and believing they are successful – when they are given responsibility,” said Michele Clark, executive director of YEP. “By putting Training Grounds in the hands of local youth, we are empowering them to learn more, do more, and expect more from themselves.” Steven Grossman, director of aviation for the Port of Oakland, explained why establishing a business like Training Grounds at OAK is a recipe for success: “At an airport, the world is your customer, and when you are a teenager or young adult running an airport business in Oakland, you get to show the world what you can do and why we are proud to call Oakland home.” A second Training Grounds is scheduled to open in OAK’s Terminal 1 this year. A

With the cooperation of HMSHost, YEP, and the airport, Training Grounds provides young workers with valuable hands-on management experience. 26


Airport AirportMagazine Magazine| |February/March February/March2008 2008


An Ongoing BRAC Success Story an airport in a major metropolitan area. Millington is a Part 139 airport and now logs about 120 operations per day. As the headquarters for the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Memphis is home to a huge military community, and Williams noted that about 80 percent of the airport traffic is military related. The field also serves as an alternate for Memphisbased FedEx, when the weather at Memphis International is bad. The freight company is under contract with the airport authority, and in 2006 paid $618,000 as reimbursement for costs that the airport incurred as an alternate. The balance of the airport traffic is business jets; about 10 corporate flight departments are based at Millington. “They can avoid the hassle factor of going through Memphis International,” Williams said. Williams has some specific ideas about the kind of businesses that she would like to see located at the airport, although she said that she “would like to meet the demand, whatever form that takes.” An avionics shop or some sort of maintenance, repair and overhaul facility would be ideal, as would a flight-training school, she said. “We’ve been doing some aggressive marketing over the past few months,” Williams reported, “advertising in various aviation trade journals and local newspapers.” Tulsair, a Raytheon Beech dealer, service center and full-service FBO, currently serves as the sole FBO on the field, although Williams would not rule out adding another FBO if future demand warrants. Millington is also home to the Mid-South Air Show, a major attraction held every other year that brings 75,000 people to the airport and raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for local charities. Williams’ primary task now is to focus on development of the airport, essentially replacing the aging military infrastructure that was torn down with the BRAC mandate, with new businesses that need to be on or near an airport. She is overseeing the implementation of the airport authority’s capital improvements plan, building new hangars and ensuring that the airport is on sound economic ground—which it is, having erased an earlier budget deficit. “Now we are ready to focus on development,” Williams said. A

By Clifton Stroud


romotion takes passion, whether you are promoting a boxing match, a new car or an airport. That passion is best conveyed by someone excited and well informed about whatever he or she is promoting. Such is the case with Tracy Williams, A.A.E., executive director of the Millington (Tenn.) Regional Jetport, located 16 miles north of Memphis. Williams, a 20-year veteran of airport management, joined the Millington Airport Authority in June 2006, having previously served as director of Montgomery Field and Brown Field, San Diego’s two primary general aviation airports. She is only the second airport director to serve at Millington. The jetport is the site of the former Memphis Naval Air Station, which dates back to 1917 when it was Park Field, an Army Signal Corps Aviation School used to train pilots for service with the Allied Forces during World War I. The base was closed in 1997 and converted into a commercial airport as part of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process. It’s a long and arduous process, but some studies have shown that 90 percent of the jobs lost from the military in a base closure are eventually regained through private industry. Like many airfields around the country that have gone through the BRAC process, the task for Millington now is to attract businesses to the airport and, in this case, the adjacent 1,800-acre industrial park. That task falls to Williams. “I really want to bring business to the airport and create jobs,” stated Williams, “and meet the aviation demand as it occurs.” Williams said the jetport has a lot to offer, including an 8,000-foot runway with ILS, easy access to downtown Memphis, a full-service FBO, control tower, and the enthusiastic support of both local and state economic agencies that would like to see the airport fully developed. The local chamber of commerce boasts that, “The unique geography of the Loosahatchie River wetlands separates the two cities, allowing Millington to maintain its small-town country atmosphere. With a population of just over 10,000 and growing, Millington is able to provide sanctuary to those who prefer to maintain a slower pace of living with an option to drive into downtown Memphis within minutes.” It’s an attractive scenario and one that should appeal to a business looking to be on

Airport Magazine | February/March 2008





By Tom Esch

A well-planned signage and wayfinding system can go a long way in moving passengers through your airport.


hether rushing to a gate to catch a flight, or exploring the airport with time to spare, the passenger will have a better experience when a good signage and wayfinding system is provided. A successful system seamlessly combines directional and informational signs, directories, flight information displays, other environmental graphics and the physical space to help guide the passenger effortlessly through the airport. The challenge to airports, and more specifically to their signage managers, is to design and deploy an effective signage and wayfinding system and then maintain it. So what makes up a successful signage system? What best practices exist to assist the signage manager? How do you develop a sustainable system? Do your customers trust and use your signs with ease? This article summarizes information about airport signage programs we studied as we redeveloped the signage program at Mineta San JosĂŠ International Airport, while we entirely replace and renovate our terminals. A signage and wayfinding system typically is developed specifically for each airport, based on its unique requirements, available resources, architectural design and local preferences. Security and regulatory requirements (federal, state and local) introduce a separate level of information to consider and address. Effective signage is impacted by the environment in which it is deployed. Even good signage systems are challenged by wide open or closed-in spaces, maintenance standards, lighting levels, proximity to food and retail signage, advertisements and art. When there is too much information and too many graphics at a key decision point, the value and intent of a directional sign may be lost. 28

Airport Magazine | February/March 2008

Signs direct passengers to gates, airline clubs and lodging.

Airport Sign Managers Network A terminal may begin with clean signage and a smart wayfinding system that was carefully designed in a deliberate policy framework. Inevitably, a complaint or two, whether from customers or politicians, may trigger a “slap up a sign” solution to resolve the perceived problem. Further, new security messages need to be deployed. Operational changes and remodeling bring more signs. Tenants and the airlines then add their proprietary promotional information, branding and marketing signs. Staff members post freelance temporary signs with their own artwork. Eventually, the original smart signage and wayfinding system becomes cluttered and loses its effectiveness for its principal


hat happens when you have no peer network for airport signage? You create one. Mineta San José International teamed up with Phoenix Sky Harbor International to survey airport signage programs in 2004, and we needed to develop contacts with other sign managers. Participants in the survey were unanimous in their request to stay in touch with each other, leading to the creation of the Airport Sign Managers Network (ASMN) in 2005. The network, currently sponsored by Mineta San José International, consists of 80 individuals from 70 airports who are involved with airport signage programs. The ASMN Web site ( contains questions and solutions for specific signage issues. Partnering with the Society for Environmental Graphic Design, ASMN organized an Airport Signage and Wayfinding Workshop in October 2007. The event was successful and attendance was high, and we agreed to make it an annual workshop each October. The ASMN plans to develop a signage peer review program, providing a list of signage managers with significant signage experience for any requirement an airport wishes to address, such as site specific signage issues, wayfinding, operations and maintenance, design, and assistance in developing guidelines or programs. Also, ASMN actively is participating in a new research project by the Transportation Research Board aimed at developing new airport signage and wayfinding guidelines for the industry. This research is intended to document the best practices, evaluate new and emerging technologies and prepare updated guidelines. Contact Tom Esch at for more information about ASMN. There is currently no membership fee. For information about the new Signage and Wayfinding Guidelines, contact Kathleen McCauley at A

purpose – aiding the passenger. So what is an airport to do? It is time to reassess the situation – not just sign placement, but the fundamental business and airport philosophy behind the signage program. Getting to Successful Signage The life cycle of airport signage is similar to a building life cycle: conceptual development, design and construction, periodic maintenance, rehabilitation to extend the life cycle or to meet new standards and total replacement. Resources (staff, equipment, funding and schedule) are dedicated to manage and maximize the use and efficiency of a building. And so it should be with a signage program. In order to gain the desired results from a signage system, a logical approach must be employed by airport management, environmental graphic consultants and designers. The process typically involves a

professional consultant skilled in environmental graphics and begins with a signage philosophy that leads to principles and guidelines in a signage master plan. This document becomes the program’s overall framework that is the basis of design and signage decisions by the airport. An airport’s signage philosophy may include: • celebrate the experience of travel; • enhance the passenger experience; and • create an identity for your airport. General principles may include: • develop a single signage system, consistently deployed; • design a system that serves both short-term and long-term needs; • compliment the surrounding architecture; and • ensure a sustainable system that is

Airport Magazine | February/March 2008


signage A key point for successful systems is that one individual is assigned to lead and manage the signage program. controllable and manageable. Signage guidelines apply these principles and philosophy and provide an overview of the signage applications in terms of family, color, location, type style and usage. Guidelines also address the use of symbols, message hierarchies and terminologies to ensure they are consistent internally for the airport and generally with other airports across the country. A signage and graphics stakeholder should be assigned to the team involved in the design and operations of the airport’s facilities. This ensures that someone is involved both with the proper design for intuitive wayfinding and with other graphic elements such as art, advertisements, flight information displays and concessions. Signage is most successful when facilities are constructed so that they are logical and easy to navigate by travelers. As the facility is developed, an evaluation of the signage standards may necessitate adjustments and updating to meet real requirements. How does an airport sustain a successful signage and wayfinding system, and how do airport leaders ensure the sign system remains consistent despite changes in management personnel? Sustaining the signage program involves thoughtful management, policy and a team approach in order to achieve the consistency and quality that best serves the passengers and other stakeholders. While airports may use different organizational structures to define responsibility for signage, a key point for successful systems is that one individual is assigned to lead and manage the signage program. Whether reviewing new requirements, addressing signage 30

challenges, developing signage budgets, maintaining the system or helping with new construction, the signage manager needs to be “in-theknow� to ensure the airport sign system remains consistent and effective. A clear and supported signage policy will aid both the signage manager and others in the airport. The policy will ensure that tenants and the airport understand their mutual responsibilities regarding signage ownership, location, quality and maintenance, and that signage

Airport Magazine | February/March 2008

and messages for airlines, rental cars, concessions and airport operations are consistent over time. The policy must address operational issues faced daily. It defines what is acceptable or not acceptable for signage, graphics, materials and placement. While signage and graphics master plans or guidelines provide standards and signage philosophy, it is the signage policy

that states how, on a sustainable basis, the airport’s signage philosophy and principles are carried out. The airport also may establish a signage and graphics committee to maintain guidelines and principles, as well as address non-standard issues. The committee can include key stakeholders from within the airport organization. Some airports include airline representatives in the committee. They would be trained in the signage guidelines and program objectives to provide general oversight of the program objectives, while the signage manager actually implements the program. Just what exactly is the signage business like for the signage manager? Further, where do airport signage managers, or even members of a signage and graphics committee,

learn the signage business? The accompanying Web sidebar story, Signage Issues and Topics, (see outlines various signage challenges confronting today’s airport signage managers. The challenges include meeting new operational requirements, maintaining the signs, defining performance measures, developing a signage asset management system, and managing

resources, staff and vendors. The business involves not just wayfinding signs and directories, but the hundred or so various minor signs and labels found in the terminals, garage or parking areas, security perimeters, back-of-house spaces, roadways, curbside and support facilities. The signage manager also must stay involved in issues affecting signage and graphics of all types, as well as participate in new plans for

Airport Magazine | February/March 2008


signage airport development. Learning the business starts with understanding basic signage principles and guidelines for the industry. Referenced by AC No. 150/5360-12C, a document entitled “Guidelines for Airport Signing and Graphics” was presented by AAAE, Airports Council International-NA and the Air Transport Association and developed by Apple Designs, Inc. The Transportation Research Board

has just begun a project to update these guidelines. Signage managers also can learn about good signage practices from their peers. The Airport Sign Managers Network (www. was established in 2005 as a forum to share information and advice and offers an annual workshop on current issues and new trends. (See the accompanying sidebar Airport Sign Managers

Airports have a wide range of users, and the expectation is that a signage system must work for all of them. Network.) In addition, the Society for Environmental Graphic Design represents professionals in the field of environmental graphics for transportation systems and college campuses, as well as other challenging and tense environments such as hospitals. Information on SEGD can be found at Frank Kirkbride, assistant director at Mineta San Jose International, pointed out that signage really can get you into trouble at airports. Airports have a wide range of users, and the expectation is that a signage system must work for all of them. Yet is that an unrealistic expectation? When resolving a wayfinding problem, is the signage system considered a separate entity (that is, should signage solve the problem), or should it be evaluated as part of the entire environment in which it resides? While likely it is the latter, yet each situation is unique. Everyone seems to have an opinion about signage, yet principles, philosophy and standards should be applied consistently in order to meet the expectations of the users. In the end, the user’s needs must be met. Now is the time for airport managements to look closely at their signage programs and determine if they are truly the best they can be. Understanding an alternative approach to developing a successful signage system, such as seeking a peer review, is a start. A Tom Esch is senior engineer responsible for signage at Mineta San José International Airport. Contact him at


Airport Magazine | February/March 2008

Better Wayfinding At CVG


ome 16 million people pass through Cincinnati/ Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) every year. Airport officials realized that their traditional static signage was losing its effectiveness, and, with such a high volume of passenger traffic, they needed a better way to reach visitors in crucial areas of the 2 million-square-foot facility. Alpine Systems, the integrator of the signage project, provides public information display systems for transportation, airport, conference, parking and point of sale applications. Corey Airport Services, which helped to develop and design the project for CVG, creates customized display programs that deliver advertising messages to commercial airline travelers by utilizing the latest in technologies and innovative concepts. Based in Atlanta, Ga., the company offers contemporary products such as its diorama, digital billboard network, vertacular poster-size displays, wall wrap, floor displays/exhibits and informative kiosks. CVG realized that its static airport advertising was losing its effectiveness. The challenge was to convert from static signage to digital signage. Not only did stationary advertisements appear uninteresting, but also they were difficult to update, which is essential in a time-conscious airport environment. Airport administrators needed the flexibility to update information quickly, not only for advertising usage, but also in case of an emergency. “The [digital] displays can be used in emergency and urgent situations to direct and reach the travelers occupying the airport,” said Dave Kellerman, the airport’s retail manager. “Where static signage makes this impossible, the [digital] displays would allow us to announce vital information when need be, and update it as often as is necessary.” Important areas of the terminal where signage could have high visibility and recognition first had to be determined. The transportation mall, where two underground trains connect concourses to terminals, became a key area for development. Other important areas for digital signage were baggage claim,

bathrooms, check-in counters and escalator passages. A final challenge presenting itself to planners was the issue of mounting the signs. For example, placing a video wall 30 feet above long, large escalators was problematic. Planners selected seven key areas to locate the new digital signage. In addition to vertical advertising, most areas would include a cluster of NEC displays made into a video wall configuration that would present a large “wow” factor to the captive audience it faced. More than 60 displays make up these clusters, which include two 3-foot-by-5 foot arrangements, four 2-foot-by-2-foot arrangements, and a single 57-inch display. CVG used 46-inch NEC MultiSync LCD4620 displays in their video walls. “Corey Airport Services brought in unique things to our airport,” said Kellerman. “The intent of using the LCD displays was to enable us to specify advertising for time of year, time of day, or even what hour of day.” The first three advertisers to take advantage of the new set-up are Christ Hospital, University of Cincinnati and Rusty McClure, co-author of the best-selling book Crosley. “The displays allow us to let advertisers segment their ads and choose when and where they want their ads to run,” said Kellerman. “If we know a lot of new passengers will be entering the airport through Concourse C during the afternoon hours, a business may choose to advertise there as opposed to another area of the airport. “Businesses advertising with us now are able to make more detailed ads and make decisions which will drive their revenue, which in turn is beneficial for us,” said Kellerman. “The decision to switch to digital signage has been so valuable for the airport’s business, and the new use of video walls brings something unique to our space while maintaining a constructive purpose.” A

Airport Magazine | February/March 2008


Innovative Vegetation Control Methods Offer Airport Safety and Savings Jeff Morgan (left), maintenance supervisor at Smyrna Airport, and Doug Zimmerman, BASF ProVM sales specialist, inspect the progress of their seedhead suppression program.


Editor’s note: This article was developed from a case study prepared by BASF.

lthough mowing may seem to be the most effective way to control vegetation on the airfield, it can pose safety issues, plus intrude on aircraft movements.

Some airport vegetation management crews today are responding to out-of-control vegetation near runways by implementing integrated vegetation management plans that couple the use of herbicides with a reduced mowing regime. Today’s herbicides are designed to be highly selective, meaning they can control undesirable grasses, while allowing preferable low-growing grasses to flourish.


Airport Magazine | February/March 2008

Vegetation The result is shorter “When grass grows grass that reduces the need for frequent too high or onto mowing, which limits the risk of runway incursions the pavement, it involving maintenance can block the lights crews in runway and taxiway areas. lining our runways “When grass grows and taxiways.” too high or onto the pavement, it can block pull the plane out of the lights lining our runways and the grass and back taxiways,” said Lawrence Thompson, onto the runway. maintenance supervisor at Acadiana Trying to pull a plane (La.) Regional Airport. “If pilots can’t out of deep grass is see the boundaries of the runway, Proper safety precautions, such as wearing gloves and eye not an easy or quick this can be extremely dangerous for protection, are listed on the label and must be followed process.” planes that are landing.” carefully when tank mixes are prepared. Right-of-way and ditch edges also “One of our safety goals is to keep can pose a danger for taxiing aircraft Grass Height Limit the maintenance crew away from due to their weight. If edges aren’t critical zones in the airport, such as clear and the vegetation in the ditches To meet airport right-of-way safety taxiways and along runways,” said guidelines, which call for grass is too soft or deep, aircraft may Smyrna (Tenn.) Airport Manager Lois along runways and taxiways to be sink. That means major delays and Vallance. “But to stop working for kept under 12 inches in height, headaches for airport staff and flight every takeoff and landing isn’t very many maintenance crews spend operations. productive either. We had to figure most of the summer on mowers. “Planes are so heavy that they out a way to control the vegetation This not only consumes time and will sink the minute they hit grass,” and keep our workers safe.” budgets, but leaves workers at risk Thompson explained. “If that for accidents, including jet blasts. happens, it requires a tow truck to

To remove weeds around airfield signs, an ATV sprayer with adjustable booms can do the job better than a mower.

Airport Magazine | February/March 2008



Both Smyrna and Acadiana airports turned to herbicide experts at BASF, a chemical manufacturing specialist, to find new and more cost-effective ways to keep their runways safe.

Creating Test Plots Doug Zimmerman, BASF vegetation management sales specialist, helped Smyrna Airport develop and establish its integrated vegetation management program, which uses both herbicides and mowing to keep the grass low. “Airfields should determine the best turf grass for their area and establish a monoculture of that species. In the South, it’s usually bahiagrass, centipede or bermudagrass, but it varies from place to place, so managers should work with local experts,” Zimmerman said. “The next step is to create test plots that will demonstrate different herbicides on the ground and find the one that works best for the specific plant mix. “The best herbicide tank mix will decrease the undesirable grass species, allowing desirable species to re-establish themselves and stay there,”

he explained. “Once the right kind of turf fills in, the mowing workload should drop significantly.” At Smyrna, Johnson grass was the target of control operations all season long. This perennial grows in dense stands up to 6 feet high, with large seed heads. Maintenance crews worked to keep

“By using selective herbicides, we can give growing bermudagrass populations a real boost in right-of-way areas.”

Using a smaller boom sprayer allows applicators to work in areas around equipment and still get the job done quickly.


Airport Magazine | February/March 2008

Located 12 nautical miles south of Nashville International Airport, Smyrna Airport serves as a reliever airport for Nashville, Tenn.

Photo credit needed here

this tall grass under control primarily through mowing. The process took 40 hours and was repeated every 10 days from March through November.

Herbicide-Release Program “When the operators weren’t mowing the areas directly adjacent to the runways, they had to mow the rest of our 800-acre field,” said Smyrna maintenance manager Jeff Morgan. “These guys didn’t get off the tractors much.” By implementing a long-term herbicide-release program, the airport aimed to phase out tall-growing grasses and replace them with low-growing bermudagrass over a three-year period. The ultimate goal for the program was to ratchet up the presence of bermudagrass to 100 percent of airport

Airport Magazine | February/March 2008


Vegetation right-of-way areas. “Bermudagrass is great at keeping invaders out once it is established, but it sometimes needs a little nudge to compete,” according to Todd Horton, a BASF market development specialist. “By using selective herbicides, we can give growing bermudagrass populations a real boost in right-of-way areas.”

Mowing Program Acadiana Airport, 40 miles southwest of Baton Rouge, La., also was fighting tough grasses with an expensive and time-consuming mowing program. Crews spent three to seven days each month mowing the 1,000-plus acres of the Acadiana grounds throughout the long growing season. The vegetation growing along the runways is a tough mix of common and invasive grass species, such as dallisgrass, bahiagrass and smutgrass. In an area that receives 60 to 65 inches of rain in an average year,

Plateau herbicide provides excellent long-term control of undesirable vegetation in areas surrounding runways and taxiways at Acadiana Airport in Louisiana.

these quick-growing grasses are a (left to right) BASF sales specialist serious threat. “Dallisgrass, bahiagrass Wayne Ducote worked with Lawrence Thompson and Matt Rivet of the Iberia and smutgrass are very difficult Parish Airport Authority to develop a to mow and maintain because it’s control program for weed species. incredibly thick and fast-growing. It slows down our cycle quite a bit,” said Thompson. “There was just no many as eight weeks that Thompson way we could keep up, and our turf and his crew can now spend on other areas always looked disheveled.” maintenance requirements. By using herbicides in place of repeated mowing, Acadiana Regional Effect Of Spraying officials estimate that the airport is After adopting a recommended saving an average of $22,000 per year herbicide program, Thompson on maintenance. discovered that he didn’t need to Mowing alone costs around $50 per mow in the test plots for two months acre at Acadiana, compared with $30 after treatment. “After seeing the per acre with the herbicide program effectiveness of the herbicide mix, we integrated into the management plan. decided to implement an application Smyrna Airport has experienced program throughout right-of-way similar savings. Before using areas immediately,” Thompson said. herbicides, the airport spent $80,000 Spraying the airport’s 1,000 acres a year on maintenance. In 2003, the requires just half a day’s work twice total cost for the custom herbicide a year. The first treatment comes application and five mowings per in late April or early May, and the season was about $40,000. second treatment in early August. “We couldn’t believe what we The control offered by herbicide saved,” said Vallance. “To anyone treatments has reduced mowing to who’s thinking about this kind three times per year – before, between of program, I can testify that it is and after the two spraying cycles. It affordable and, after you start it, was a dramatic shift from the once-a- you’ll wonder why you didn’t month mowing routine, freeing up as change sooner.” A

To remove weeds around airfield signs, an ATV sprayer with adjustable booms can do the job better than a mower.

38 | February/March 2008

ARINC Gets Dubai IT Work ARINC Managed Services (AMS) has partnered with Dubai International Airport to install and maintain its IT infrastructure as part of a major terminal expansion. AMS will install, test and provide maintenance for seven IT systems in the new Terminal 3 and Concourse 2, as well as in Terminals 1 and 2 and Concourse 1. The systems include an airport operational database, a flight information display system with 1,400 screens, and a public address system capable of broadcasting in eight languages. The IT improvements are part of a $4.5 billion Dubai International Airport Expansion Programme, involving construction of Terminal 3 and Concourses 2 and 3. Officials expect completion of the work by 2009, adding significant capacity to the world’s fastest-growing airport in 2007 in terms of international passenger throughput. The airport is slated to handle sixty million passengers annually by 2010.

Houston Employs Robotic Sweeper Officials at George Bush Intercontinental Airport have begun using an automated sweeper to help clean the airport’s 1.5 million square feet of terminal space. The Intellibot IS800 scrubber can clean approximately 70,000 square feet of floor per day, using only 50 gallons of water. It uses ultrasonic sensors to navigate and memorize floor plans; and can communicate with its human counterparts in case of emergencies. Eighty to ninety percent of all floor scrubbing costs are labor related, claims Henry Hillman, Jr., president and CEO of Intellibot Robotics, 40

LLC, maker of the Intellibot IS800. “I think robotic floor cleaning will revolutionize the way that floors are being cleaned in the future,” noted Hillman. “The next level is to free up the operator to do other tasks while the robot continues with the repetitive job of cleaning the same floor day after day, night after night.” The Intellibot stands just three and a half feet tall and weighs six hundred pounds. Despite its relatively small size, its efficiency provides significant time savings for IAH staff.. Kenneth Brooks, building services senior superintendent for the Houston Airport System, said that “Bush Intercontinental is using technology as a force multiplier to increase the level of productivity and efficiency in cleaning the airport’s facilities,” “This will free up our workers to do other tasks such as high dusting terminal facilities and dust mopping in the immediate vicinity of the machine.” Even with its technological sophistication, the Intellibot requires some human supervision in case the machine encounters physical obstacles while sweeping. The IS800 is equipped with twenty ultrasonic sensors which alert it to areas in need of cleaning, as well as people and obstacles to avoid. If a passenger approaches the machine, it stops automatically to avoid collision.

Sky Harbor’s Metal Facade To Resist Wind High temperatures and strong winds can inflict heavy damage on an airport tower if it is not properly shielded from the harsh elements. Recognizing this, planners who designed Phoenix Sky Harbor International’s new $89 million control tower added a climate-proof metal facade consisting of 55,000 square feet of 22-gauge aluminum

Airport Magazine | February/March 2008


By Broderick Grady


composite material (ACM) panels in platinum, white and copper to protect the facility from relentless summer heat and persistent desert winds. Not only is metal an effective barrier to wind and temperature extremes, but it projects a clean, contemporary look consistent with the international design of most major U.S. airports and the sleek, metallic jets they accommodate. In designing Sky Harbor’s new nerve center, the project architects, Jacobs Engineering Group of Arlington, Va., employed colors and textured materials reminiscent of the fractured rock found at the Grand Canyon, the red rocks of Sedona and other nearby geological formations, according to Stephen Wakeman, Jacobs’ chief project designer. Jacobs worked closely with the Riverside Group, a Windsor, Ont.-based metal fabricator, in developing the design scheme for the tower’s complex facade. While Jacobs envisioned a multidimensional exterior that incorporated several different materials, including concrete and rolled copper, ACM

panels were designated the primary material because of their durability and design flexibility. “Each material considered for the tower’s exterior has its unique characteristics, but we recognized that the primary cladding used on the façade, especially the upper tower, had to be capable of withstanding high temperatures and heavy wind loads,” Wakeman explained. “It also had to be sufficiently flexible to be formed and curved into the unique shapes that we needed. Only a metal composite could meet all of these requirements.” One of the tallest structures of its kind in the world, Sky Harbor’s new control tower replaces a 180-foothigh tower built in 1978 that overlooks the main terminal and parking garage.

Off the Wall Unveils Bollards An anti-terrorism bollard manufactured by Off the Wall Products recently passed K12 vehicle

crash testing and will be certified K12, L3. The bollard is a shallow mounted steel security device. It requires excavation of only18 inches and standard strength concrete. The devices are currently in wide use in Europe, where they protect airport terminals, government buildings, power plants, refineries and other installations. Bollards installed outside Glasgow Airport’s terminal were credited with limiting the damage from the attempted car-bombing there in June 2007. The K12 certification means that bollards can sustain the impact of a15,000-lb. truck moving at 50 miles per hour; this

reporting by the airlines. This creates a more efficient process and reduces costs for airports and airlines alike. The PASSUR system calculates fees using the radar record and an integrated database of flight information, including detailed owner/operator information, maximum certificated weights by tail number, seat configurations, runway utilization, and other details in aggregate and by individual flight.

represents the highest level of certification offered by the U.S. State Department. The L3 designation signifies that any penetration of the bollards by a test vehicle is less than three feet.

The system also allows for online billing support and a complete professional support services package. More than 25 airports use PASSUR to manage their landing fee programs. AIAS, which includes Ted Stevens Anchorage International and Fairbanks International Airports, has also purchased live operations control programs from Megadata. These include coordination, communication and information sharing tools which provide vital operational information via a “web dashboard.” The applications also include web-based flight following capabilities, combining national en route flight tracking with terminal tracking for real-motion tracking and aircraft movement. A

Anchorage, San Antonio Pick Passur Megadata Corporation has recently announced deals with the Alaska International Airports System (AIAS) and San Antonio International Airport to provide its PASSUR Pulse Landing Fee Management Program. The program allows airports to generate landing fee reports and invoices instead of relying on self-

Airport Magazine | February/March 2008



Fiscal Year 2009 Bush Budget: Boost For Baggage Screening, Cut For AIP

by Joel Bacon


Airport Improvement Program: AAE’s Airport Legislative Alliance (ALA) The $2.75 billion requested for AIP is $765 miland the airport community have their work lion below the amount approved for fiscal year cut out for them with the annual budget 2009 and $1.15 billion less than the $3.9 billion process, thanks to a proposed $765 million authorized amount approved by the House and by reduction in Airport Improvement Program (AIP) the Senate Commerce Committee as part of their funding included in the Bush Administration’s respective versions of FAA reauthorization legislafiscal year 2009 budget request, which was tion. Of the funds made available for AIP, the budformally released on Feb. 4. In addition to singling out AIP once again for one get calls for $87 million to administer the program, $15 million for the Airport Cooperative Research of the largest cuts in the entire federal government Program and $19 million for airport technology – from the $3.515 billion level enacted for fiscal year 2008 to a proposed $2.75 billion for fiscal year research. 2009 – the Bush budget targets small community air service programs for cuts or elimination and Small Community Air Service Program: continues the push for a hybrid system of user fees The administration did not request any funds and taxes to finance FAA. for the popular Small Community Air Service “Once again, the Bush administration has taken Development Program in fiscal year 2009 – $35 mila short-sighted approach to airport infrastructure lion less than the amount included in the House funding in its proposed budget,” said AAAE and Senate versions of the President Charles Barclay. FAA reauthorization bill and “As the administration “Once again, the Bush $10 million less than the knows full-well, this amount Congress appropriadministration has request is destined to be ated for the program in the ignored by a Congress taken a short-sighted current fiscal year. that strongly supports AIP approach to airport funding for its proven Essential Air Service Program: record in improving infrastructure funding The administration again is safety and alleviating air in its proposed budget,” proposing to eliminate fundcongestion and delays.” ing for a number of commuDuring budget hearings, said AAAE President nities currently participating lawmakers from both Charles Barclay. in the Essential Air Service parties were quick to Program. The President’s criticize the President’s fiscal year 2009 budget request includes only $50 budget request for AIP and other critical aviation million for the program to be derived from overprograms as well. The following list, prepared by the ALA, outlines flight fees. This is at least $83 million less than the amount included in the House and Senate versions other key items in the DOT budget request: of the FAA reauthorization bill and $75 million less than the current funding level.

FAA budget highlights


FAA reauthorization:

Airport Cooperative Research Program:

The fiscal year 2009 budget request indicated that the administration will resubmit its FAA reauthorization proposal, which calls for a cost-based financing system despite continued opposition to this approach from the House and Senate.

Again, the administration is requesting $15 million from the AIP program to pay for the Airport Cooperative Research Program – $5 million more that the amount that Congress appropriated for the program in fiscal year 2008. Both versions of

Airport Magazine | February/March 2008

the FAA reauthorization bill also recommend $15 million for the program in fiscal year 2009.

TSA budget highlights The Department of Homeland Security did not suffer under the same budget axe as DOT in the president’s request. Most notable for airports in the budget plan was the inclusion of a proposed $0.50 increase in the $2.50 passenger security fee per enplanement with a maximum increase of $1 per one-way trip. Under the administration’s proposal, the additional collections would be devoted exclusively to accelerating the deployment of optimal checked baggage screening systems and addressing the need to recapitalize existing equipment. While this is the first year that the administration has proposed a fee increase tied directly to baggage screening upgrades at airports, previous proposed increases in the $2.50 passenger security fee have been met with stiff resistance on Capitol Hill, and this year likely will be no different. Other key items include:

TSA budget: Overall, the budget request includes nearly $6 billion for TSA aviation security and for federal air marshals.

The Department of Homeland Security did not suffer under the same budget axe as DOT in the president’s request. the budget for the purchase and installation of additional equipment at a level lower than the $544 million that was approved as part of the fiscal year 2008 omnibus bill.

LOIs for inline systems: Also of note in the budget request is a proposal to ignore provisions included in the 9/11 bill aimed at restoring a multi-year Letter of Intent (LOI) process for building in-line systems at airports. Essentially, the administration’s budget request would allow TSA to distribute funding for inline systems “in any manner deemed necessary to ensure aviation security.” The budget calls for limiting the federal government’s share of any project’s cost to 90 percent. The ALA staff will be working throughout the appropriations process to ensure that the 9/11 law is followed and that multi-year LOIs are issued in order to leverage existing resources.

Checkpoint screening: EDS purchase and installation: According to budget documents, $1.2 billion is provided “to recapitalize checked baggage screening devices and accelerate deployment of inline systems that will increase baggage throughput up to 300 percent.” However, a big portion of the additional funding proposed for baggage system upgrades – some $426 million – is contingent upon the unlikely approval of the proposed $0.50 increase in the $2.50 passenger security fee. • Additionally, large portions of the reported $1.2 billion for upgraded baggage systems would go toward maintaining existing equipment and other purposes, leaving the actual amount included in

The request calls for $128 million for enhancements at passenger screening checkpoints. While a significant reduction over the amount approved for fiscal year 2008, TSA claims it has ample resources to pilot technology and make necessary upgrades.

Air Cargo: The request calls for nearly $100 million for air cargo security inspectors, canine teams and the Certified Shipper Program to achieve the mandate to screen 100 percent screening of cargo by 2010. A Joel Bacon is a vice president in AAAE’s Airport Legislative Alliance. For the latest airport-related legislative developments, visit

Airport Magazine | February/March 2008


Beyond The Press Airport crisis communications means more than dealing with the media.

By Eryn Travis


hen most people think of airport crisis communications, they think of heading off the frenzied crowd of reporters that descends on the airport soon after an incident.

44 | February/March 2008

While media relations is an important element of crisis communications plans, today’s successful plans put the needs of victims’ families first, understand the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation process, identify

outside public relations expertise, invest in community relations, rely on established media relationships to challenge inaccurate information, and monitor and are prepared to respond to social media. Underneath these specifics is a commitment to accuracy, speed of information and transparency. Get this right, and keep the public’s trust during and after a crisis. Fail, and risk permanent damage to your reputation, your credibility and the future success of your organization. Michael Gobb, A.A.E., executive director of Lexington (Ky.) Blue Grass Airport, got it right. On Aug. 27, 2006, at 6:05 a.m., Comair Flight 5191 crashed after taking off from Blue Grass Airport, killing 49 passengers and crew. The industry has given Gobb and NTSB high praise for how they handled communications following the crash. Here’s what worked in Lexington, plus strategies for an effective crisis communications plan.

Put Families First After the scene was secure, the first order of business for the airport was taking care of the victims’ families. Gobb advises to pull advertising and promotional campaigns; select a date for families and attorneys to visit the airport; reassure the community on the safety of air travel; provide an outlet for family members and the public to express their grief; and provide counseling opportunities for employees.

Master Media Relations Today’s demand for news is faster and more global than ever before. Within four days after the Blue Grass accident, 6,116 articles were published nationally and 87 articles were published internationally. “I think we are all used to doing

interviews but not literally going live around the world,” Gobb said. The first Blue Grass Airport press briefing, which included representatives from the police, fire department and the coroner’s office, took place at 8:30 a.m., two and one-half hours after the incident. The media briefing included an overview of the accident and rescue efforts. Gobb recommends that any media relations plan should include: providing food, beverages and work space for media members to use in between briefings; sitting down oneon-one with media representatives to provide background information; meeting with editors and television station directors in addition to reporters; carefully selecting the background and environment for interviews; and writing editorials. Building relationships with the media should be another cornerstone

Michael Gobb, A.A.E, executive director of Blue Grass Airport, speaks to the media about the casualties of Comair Flight 5191. Photo by Pablo Alcalá/Lexington Herald-Leader. | February/March 2008


Beyond the press

Blue Grass Airport Director Michael Gobb, A.A.E., wiped away tears after visiting a memorial to honor those who died in the Comair Flight 5191 crash. The memorial was installed in a parking lot at the airport. Photo by David Stephenson/Lexington Herald-Leader.

of any plan, and these relationships must be established before any crisis hits. Blue Grass Airport, after receiving FAA permission, was able to reopen at 10:30 a.m. that same day, which Gobb attributes to the loyal community and the responsive communications efforts of the airport and other impacted organizations. Gobb also advises to be prepared for the attention first responders will receive, including preparing them for media interviews and developing an internal process for awards and special recognition that they receive.

Retain External PR Having outside public relations expertise on hand before the accident was one thing Gobb said he would have done differently. The Wednesday after the crash, Gobb hired APCO Worldwide, a communications firm headquartered in Washington, D.C. The APCO team included David Wescott, APCO vice president, whose office is in 46

Lexington; former FAA Administrator Jane Garvey; and former NTSB Managing Director Peter Goeltz. Noting that one of the challenges to his team was that it had been five years since the last major aviation accident, Gobb said that the airport “needed different advice.” Wescott said APCO gave the airport strategic counsel and access to experience and expertise about the NTSB investigation. “We could help guide them and help them make decisions as they worked through this process,” Wescott said. APCO assisted the airport to work with NTSB to release information to the families and to help the airport prepare when major information was released. The PR firm also ensured that members of the media were aware of NTSB milestones. “Even if the airport isn’t at fault, the airport is still the public face of the accident,” Wescott explained. “We’re the people who are here, so we have to deal with it.” Wescott said there is always an urge during a crisis to tell people | February/March 2008

what you think they want to hear. His advice to airports facing a crisis is always to be on the same page as investigators; don’t release information without letting them know; support their efforts; and understand how they are running things. Gobb said he was “extremely pleased” with the APCO team. “Every airport regardless of size needs to identify that type of a resource quickly,” he said.

Understand NTSB NTSB Member Deborah Hersman, who served as the board’s representative in Lexington, said that a challenge for any entity is understanding how NTSB does its job and runs an investigation. She added that for most organizations dealing with an accident, it will be their first time working with NTSB. There are opportunities to become familiar with NTSB through training at the NTSB academy or through industry conferences, she noted. “We are more

than happy to try to do advance work crisis situation and noted that it takes time and effort. as it pays dividends to all of us,” “The first thing is to know the Hersman said. community and their needs. That Part of working with NTSB means can’t start the moment the crisis understanding that for NTSB to begins,” he said. keep its independence, the board Wescott said that Gobb is wellmust brief families and the media separately, and it can not share space known as a community leader, which with any other organization impacted paid off because when the airport needed help, the airport’s neighbors by the accident. In Lexington, this didn’t hesitate. Local fire and police presented a logistics challenge. departments, the Salvation Army, Gobb said that he did not realize his the Keeneland team and other stakeholders “The communication Race Course — which provided would not be able on scene, the media space — to use the same and the Crowne briefing room as completion of the Plaza Campbell NTSB. Network resources had to investigation and the House — which provided space be moved to a memorial were all for the families different location, — were among which Gobb said well done.” the organizations made it difficult in the Lexington for the media. As community that came to the airport’s a result, he advises airports to plan aid. “The words you put down on on three separate briefing areas: one paper aren’t nearly as important for NTSB to brief the family, one for as the commitment you made to NTSB to use, and one for the airport the community years in advance,” and other organizations to use. Wescott said. Hersman said her experience in Lexington was “overwhelmingly positive. There was incredible support, incredible cooperation and a real commitment to doing the right thing at this accident scene. People in organizations were not there for their own glory. They did what needed to be done like extra shifts and overtime.” She added that, “Everyone did their job with professionalism and dignity.” Completing the investigation of Comair 5191 was a high priority for NTSB. Hersman said she was proud that the board was able to release its report before the one-year anniversary of the crash. “The communication on scene, the completion of the investigation and the memorial were all well done,” she said.

Challenge Information Inaccurate or false information is likely to arise during coverage of any crisis situation. In this case, Gobb said he felt unprepared for attorneys who attempted to use the media to reach potential clients. Although federal law prohibits attorneys from contacting victims’ families about potential lawsuits for 45 days after a crash, nothing prohibits attorneys from trying to gain media coverage in order to attempt to reach the family members. APCO’s Westcott described this type of situation as “‘very dangerous” since it’s difficult for media representatives to apply proper context when someone has an agenda. “Most local media aren’t experienced in dealing with situations like this and don’t know to ask if they have a client or if someone is paying them,” he said. “We can explain the situation and the law and make sure the media understands the process involved,” he said. Gobb’s advice is to encourage media representatives to request a

Invest In The Community Gobb, Wescott and Hersman all described the Lexington community as very tightly knit. Wescott stressed the importance of building relationships with the media and the community well in advance of any | February/March 2008


Beyond the press

source’s credentials before publishing information and to advise members of the media to be wary of attorneys who bring experts to interviews. “These flamboyant attorneys don’t have to be accurate, but it gets their name in front of the client,” he said. In this case, Gobb said his team relied on relationships built over a decade and conducted off-therecord interviews and background interviews to help set the record straight. Wescott said that, while transparency is the best approach, there are times like these when going “off-the-record” may be necessary. He added that Gobb’s pre-established, close relationships with the local media allowed him to have these background and off-therecord conversations to provide some context to the media.

Consider Social Media Four days after the accident, the online grieving site had 1,200 postings regarding the Comair accident. Most experts agree that social media have changed the news and public information businesses. In addition to getting information from the traditional news media, the new public expectation of directness includes text messaging, Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds, e-mails, updates to websites, blogs or other social media sites, according to Gerald Baron, CEO of PIER Systems Inc., which provides communications technology to organizations such as DHS, the Coast Guard and corporations that include Boeing Commercial Airplanes, BP and Shell Oil Co. Pushing out information by taking advantage of multiple modes of communications technology also has another benefit, according to Baron. “In a crisis, you can have thousands of reporters show up. One way to 48

Debbie Hersman, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board, held a press conference at the Hilton Suites Hotel at Lexington Green concerning Comair Flight 5191. Photo by Pablo Alcalá/Lexington Herald-Leader.

control that to some extent is to push changing,” he said. Gobb said that, in his case, social out your information because the best media were certainly a factor because place for a reporter to work on the reporters turned to the blogosphere story is in front of a computer – not in search of additional information on your site,” he said. where sources were given equal Discussions on social media sites weight regardless can continue long of experience. “In after traditional today’s society, news outlets “In today’s society, people are looking have moved on to other stories. people are looking for that 60 Minutes solution,” he said. Baron advised for that 60 Minutes “When they can’t that social media find it, people monitoring should solution.” get frustrated.” be an important Gobb said that his aspect of any team monitored communications blog traffic, although he had to stop plan. “You need to know what the reading it as several postings were conversation is, and what’s being personal, and some even threatened said, and you need to be able to the safety of airport personnel. participate in it,” he said. APCO’s Wescott noted that the He also warned that social media tools available to the media and to have increased dramatically the pace the consumer have become more for communications professionals, advanced than ever before, which and he urged executives not to means that today’s communications get caught up in lengthy approval professional must work harder than processes for online communications. ever. “The media will go anywhere He explained that these delays and will put all of its resources into “can possibly kill you” in the the field to get the story,” Wescott instant news world. “The media said. A environment is changing. The way people are communicating and their Eryn Travis is a freelance writer based in West Chester, Pa. expectations of communication are | February/March 2008




Airports Press for Justifiable ARFF Standards

by Brad Van Dam



AAE’s Airport Legislative Alliance (ALA) The NFPA standard also would force airports and airports throughout the country to increase the number of ARFF vehicles that continue to raise objections to a labor must be deployed at their facilities, regardless of proposal that could force airports to comply the conclusions of the ARAC’s work. The ALA with unjustifiably costly Aircraft Rescue and stressed to Congress that requiring airports to Firefighting (ARFF) requirements. Airports instead purchase additional ARFF vehicles would limit are calling for a fair conclusion to a rulemaking the amount of AIP funds available for critical proceeding already underway that would allow safety, security and capacity projects. Meanwhile, FAA to craft any new ARFF requirements with the administration proposed to cut AIP funding by input from the relevant aviation stakeholders. almost $1 billion last year. The firefighting plan, put forward by the Elaine Roberts, A.A.E., president and CEO of International Association of the Columbus Regional Fire Fighters (IAFF) and the Airport Authority, said that AFL-CIO’s Transportation the IAFF proposal would Airports argued Trades Department last require for Port Columbus that the plan would year, would force airports International an estimated to comply with National initial capital outlay of $6.7 unnecessarily override Fire Protection Association million for a second ARFF (NFPA) standards without station and additional the process already meaningful input from equipment. The IAFF underway by an FAAairports and other aviation proposal also would require stakeholders — and construction of a new ARFF led Aviation Rulemaking station without demonstrating at Rickenbacker a clear safety benefit in International, a fullAdvisory Committee exchange for the significant service cargo airport, at compliance costs. Airports an estimated cost of $3.25 argued that the plan would million, Roberts said. unnecessarily override The Metropolitan the process already underway by an FAA-led Washington Airports Authority (MWAA), which Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ARAC) operates Dulles International and Ronald Reagan to review and update current airport ARFF Washington National Airports, could face standards. substantial added costs, if the IAFF proposal Throughout 2007, the ALA and airports worked becomes law, according to James Bennett, A.A.E, to educate key members of Congress about how a president and CEO of MWAA. The authority substantial escalation in staffing and equipment estimated that initial costs for personnel, facilities requirements would severely impact airports of and equipment could reach $42 million. Recurring all sizes without evidence that the additional costs are estimated at $4.3 million per year. requirements are needed. They pointed out that The House-passed version of the FAA additional operating costs would be especially reauthorization bill contains ARFF language hard on small airports, forcing many to raise their that could force airports to comply with the fees to cover the added costs. This, in turn, could unsubstantiated standards and would render the make it more difficult for them to retain and ARAC process — a long-accepted aviation industry attract new commercial air service. tool used to develop rulemaking recommendations Torrance Richardson, A.A.E., executive director with input from all stakeholders — moot. The of the Fort Wayne-Allen County (Ind.) Airport reauthorization bill approved last year by the Authority, estimated that the IAFF plan would Senate Commerce Committee does not include any increase his personnel costs by $1.2 million ARFF-related language. The Senate has not yet annually. In a letter to Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), considered the measure. A Richardson stated that the IAFF proposal “would Brad Van Dam is a vice president in AAAE’s Airport Legislative require the Fort Wayne International Airport Alliance. For the latest airport-related legislative developments, visit to more than double the ARFF staff, from four personnel per shift to nine personnel per shift.”

Airport Magazine | February/March 2008

RUNWAY project

RapidResurfacing Planning and teamwork were the keys to a successful runway rehab project at Jacksonville, N.C. By Broderick Grady


lbert J. Ellis Airport, located near Jacksonville, N.C., recently completed a $4.1 million runway project involving the closure of its sole runway for 60 hours. The 7,100-foot runway handles approximately 100 operations a day. The typical daily mix is 20 percent commercial flights, 40 percent to 50 percent general aviation traffic, with the balance made up by military operations, primarily U.S. Marine Corps V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft.

Airport Magazine | February/March 2008


RUNWAY project

Several factors affect the time and expense associated with a runway resurfacing project


Airport Magazine | February/March 2008

In late 2006, the airport began developing a master plan to address infrastructure and growth issues for the airport over the next 20 years, in conjunction with Reynolds, Smith & Hills (RS&H). As part of this process, the runway was slated to be resurfaced. Several factors affect the time and expense associated with a runway resurfacing project, according to Bill Sandifer, project manager for RS&H. These include the condition of the existing pavement, the capabilities of the contractors performing the work, and even the quality and availability of asphalt in the area. While the Jacksonville runway was fundamentally sound, the surface of the runway was oxidizing and developing small cracks. Only one inch of asphalt would need to be removed, and two millimeters added. This simple resurfacing was made more complicated, however, by the need to replace a 30-year-old corrugated metal drainage pipe with a longer-lasting reinforced concrete pipe. Unfortunately, the pipe ran directly beneath the runway, which would require digging up a substantial section of the runway in order to remove it. The pipe replacement would take about 48 hours to complete, which would require closure of the runway — and, by extension, the airport.

Airport Magazine | February/March 2008



Ordinarily, the typical runway resurfacing could be accomplished over a series of nights, thus eliminating the need to close the runway. This is especially important for airports with only one runway, as is the case at Jacksonville. Because of the pipe removal, this project called for a more novel approach: closing the airport and working continuously on both the resurfacing and pipe replacement. Prior to project commencement, airport staff, RS&H and the project contractor, Barnhill Contracting Co., participated in extensive planning sessions to ensure that the project would run smoothly and result in as short a closure period as possible. The time frame for the project was set at 60 hours, beginning in the evening of Tuesday, Oct. 2, and running until the morning of Friday, Oct. 5. Some follow-up work would need to be completed even after reopening (e.g., paving of some blast pads), but the plan called for virtually all work to be completed by Friday morning. Even before the runway closed, preparations were well underway, said Jerry Vickers, airport manager. Barnhill had lined up “well over 100 vehicles” on the parallel access road ready to move as soon as the airport officially was closed. Rehearsals were held prior to the commencement of the project, so that any logistical issues could be worked out in advance. 54

Several key factors contributed to the success of this project. One factor was the contractor’s ability to mobilize sufficient manpower and equipment. In many cases, Sandifer said, the strengths and weaknesses of the contractor often dictate whether a project runs smoothly — and under budget — or encounters delays and additional expense. Both RS&H and airport staff praised the performance and commitment of Barnhill in this project. Vickers noted that Barnhill employed GPS technology when paving to ensure the correct runway elevation. Another crucial factor in the project’s success was the teamwork among the planners, contractors and airport staff. In addition to the planning sessions prior to commencement of construction, during the project both RS&H and airport staff provided constant oversight of the work being done. Because of the size of the project, RS&H provided five onsite inspectors for the entire 60 hours. Several key airport staff, including Vickers, also remained onsite during the project, thus ensuring that communication among all major parties remained constant throughout construction. Vickers described the effort as a “real partnership between the airport, RS&H and Barnhill. Each party had a lot at stake and understood the challenges involved in completing the project quickly.”

Airport Magazine | February/March 2008

Ordinarily, the typical runway resurfacing could be accomplished over a series of nights, thus eliminating the need to close the runway.

A retired Marine officer himself, Vickers likened the project to “a military operation,� calling it a textbook example of maximizing time and resources in order to produce extraordinary results. A Broderick Grady is a freelance writer and aviation attorney living in Raleigh, North Carolina. He can be reached at

Airport Magazine | February/March 2008


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assengers by airport Traffic for month of November 2007



Austin Bergstrom Int’l






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Boston Logan International




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T.F. Green (Rhode Island)




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domestic and international fares airlines reporting corporation

Dollars in billions



Domestic Flights International Flights


Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. announced that a subsidiary company has received a contract from Orange County, Calif., to provide management services for construction of a new passenger terminal at John Wayne Airport. The project has an estimated construction value of $249 million. Jacobs’ responsibilities will include construction management for the new 274,000-square-foot terminal, including six new bridged aircraft gates; additional boarding facilities for up to seven regional commuter jets; facilities to house Federal Inspection Services; common-use terminal equipment and program systems; and deconstruction of an existing parking structure. Separately, Jacobs Engineering Group said that it has been awarded a contract by FAA to provide architect-engineer support services for its terminal operations program. The contract has a two-year period, plus option years. If all options are exercised, the contract will extend through Sept. 24, 2012, with a ceiling value of $58 million. Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) has been awarded a contract from BAA to develop a suite of options for low-carbon energy supply at London’s Heathrow Airport. The contract requires a four-month study to identify and develop potential opportunities for the supply of lowcarbon energy to BAA’s fixed assets, which include the Central Terminal Area, Heathrow Eastern Terminal and the World Cargo Center. It also will address the need to upgrade key energy infrastructure at Heathrow such as the high-voltage network and central cooling and hearing facilities. The Kansas City Aviation Dept. has signed a 60-year lease with KC Expo LLC for development of a 200-acre tract near Kansas City International. KC Expo will construct ITEC Expo, a multipurpose, mixed-use project designed for manufacturers of heavy equipment and machinery. A

Airport Magazine | February/March 2008


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