Inside the Fence

March 8, 2003

It's deja vu all over again at JAX, while in Anaheim corporate marketers again find reasons for optimism ...

John Infanger, Editorial Director

Norm Mineta, the DOT Secretary, made headlines in November 2001, when he said that passenger screening (read: inconvenience) should be no more than a ten-minute experience. Well, under our recent Orange Alerts, that for the most part has been far from a reality. That is, until you travel through Jacksonville International, the subject of this issue’s cover story.

At JAX, you go up to the ticket counter, check yourself and your bags, and move on through pax screening. It’s like you were traveling on 9/10/01.

The reason is that JAX has put in place a fully integrated in-line baggage screening system, part of the TSA’s initial pilot program to explore options on the best ways to make our system more secure ... and efficient. No ETDs; no monster machines taking up lobby space; no intimidating queuing lines.

What is also interesting about the JAX experience is how well the airport director, John Clark, and the federal security director, Paul Hackenberry, seem to get along. Listen to some thoughts from Hackenberry, who served 28 years in the U.S. Secret Service, including detail for the President ...

• "The analogy I gave John when I arrived was, having been on Presiden-tial protective detail, the average person thinks that the Secret Service tells the President where he can and can’t go. The reality is the White House staff decides what the President’s schedule is, and the President goes where the President goes. They provide that information to the Secret Service, and we provide security. If we do our job well, he’s safe and we’ve enhanced the movement.

"So what I told John was, I understand you have a business to run, and I want to learn how you run that business. For me to come in and tell you to do something before I learn about your business would be short-sighted on my part.

"If I think something needs to be changed, then I ought to be able to look you in the eye and explain to you why, and the security philosophy behind the change. If I do it right, that security change will enhance your business."

• On the role of local law enforcement: "When you do advances for the President, you walk into a city and within ten days you have local police, fire, and civic groups all working together to pull that visit off. That’s how I look at the airport."

• On lessons learned: "It’s more advice to other FSDs: Stay close to, listen to, and have a good working relationship with the airport director and staff and never forget this is a business, dependent on a customer base. We can provide security around that business and be an enhancement factor. Cooperation is key; turf and ego are not good in this business."

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In Anaheim, some 200 exhibitors were working to counter the slow marketplace by selling their wares to more than 1,000 corporate aviation decisionmakers. The event: the NBAA Sched-ulers & Dispatchers annual meeting.

The schedulers and dispatchers represent corporate flight departments and Part 135 charter firms, and often make the decisions on where the company aircraft are serviced.

It’s been said here before: If you have an airport or operation that caters to corporates, and you can only afford to exhibit at one event, this is it.

Thanks for reading.