Ah, spring; a time when Wiscon-sinites no longer walk on water, and the aviation industry meets ...
At this years annual AAAE Con-ference in Los Angeles, security still headed the marquee. Incoming chair Bonnie Allin, president/CEO of the Tucson Airport Authority, sums up the thoughts of many airport managers: "I think we all know what we need; its a matter of getting funding."
The push is on to get that funding to accomplish the goal of in-line screening at U.S. airports, a high priority of TSA. Pushing back on how much funding is Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY), who heads up the subcommittee overseeing homeland security dollars. While TSAs Admiral Loy has said he will cut back 6,000 screeners by October, Rogers says that isnt enough, and that Congress is going to hold TSA to the 45,000 cap originally set.
It appears part of that security funding is going to come from Letters of Intent through the TSA. While LOIs sound good at this point (heck, these days the sound of a kids piggy bank makes some managers sweat), it bears watching how the program is administered. In the '90s the FAA got into the LOI business and soon found that it was a good way to mortgage away future AIP monies.
Speaking of which, the Airport Improvement Program stands to get $3.4 billion in FY04 if the current winds prevail. Air-21s replacement, called Flight 100 (as in Wright Broth-ers), may be a two- or four-year reauthorization. Some think shorter may be more prudent, considering the uncertain times. Woodie Woodward, Associate Administrator for Airports, says she is "very worried" about money for small airports. About TSA, Wood-ward says, "It is frustrating and difficult to have another agency that youre just the flow-through for."
And, in the "How much will the airlines lose this year?" sweepstakes, put down $11 billion as Inspector General Ken Meads guess.
Just before presstime, we return from Las Vegas, site of the NATA-PAMA conferences and the co-located AS3/GSE Expo. Putting the two trade shows together made sense on paper; it worked even better in person (well over 4,000 trade show attendees).
A key note from the NATA meet: EPA will soon publish a "white paper" in which it will finally detail its position on secondary containment for refuelers. Monitor www.epa.gov/ oilspill.
Finally, an observation: In the aftermath of the Chicago mayors destruction of Meigs Field, the silence of the airport associations has been quite remarkable.
Thanks for reading.