Inside the Fence
you experience the anticlimax, then it's on with reality - which can be
a good thing ...
As long-anticipated letdowns go, this was good. I don't want to be John Magaw; you don't want to be John Magaw. I don't know if he wants to be him; didn't get the opportunity to ask. He needs to work better at it.
What Magaw could have said to appease a crowd of frustrated airport managers is hard to say. It could have been good, though. To many, the belle had finally come to the ball, but decided to sit in the corner hoping no one would ask for a dance.
The Transportation Security Administration, also known as that voice behind the wall, has been everything but visible to many in this group - the annual meeting of the American Association of Airport Executives, in Dallas. For a man who is seasoned in high responsibility, visibility, and crowd dynamics, Magaw fell far short of delivering anything that resembles comfort, reassurance, or motivation.
As a high level airport manager intimated in the hallway, "I feel worse now that I've heard him."
Notes of significance from Magaw, besides his unveiling of the official TSA logo (to be worn by every screener near you) ...
o Magaw says that some of the touted federal security directors will be responsible for more than one airport; a large commercial airport and one or two small commercial facilities.
o Security implementation needs to have a heavy emphasis on local leadership - (good) news to airports.
o An interesting challenge will be to increase security while staying out of the way when a carrier wants to go from five to ten flights a day.
o TSA has put together a team to look at general aviation airports, to increase security while maintaining a business environment.
The industry is positioned to react and to implement. People want to move on, and the calendar suggests things will happen quickly. A little inspiration could only help.
In the middle of all of this, the President wants to again redirect security via a cabinet position. Hard to criticize the timing.
Meanwhile, at DCA, they're still stalling on opening it to GA.
* * *
Funny how some interviews go. Jerry Olson (page 20) is the incoming chairman of AAAE. He's also the airport manager at Cheyenne, WY, and got his start at Williston, ND, where his mentor was Jack Daniels (insert joke here).
Actually Jack is well known in FBO and NATA circles, although he retired a few years back. He ran an FBO in North Dakota for a lifetime, and was 'that voice from the Plains' to many a bureaucrat in Washington.
Recalls Olson, "As you know, that rascal made aviation not only his vocation but advocation. He wasn't afraid to pick up the phone and call (then-DOT Secretary) Elizabeth Dole and say, 'I've got an FAA inspector out here who's a great inspector, and you're treating him wrongly. You need to keep him on; he's one of your four good ones.'"
A couple of other Jack Daniels' quotes, per Olson ...
o "Mortal man made the rules and mortal man can change the rules."
o "What's right and reasonable is doable."
Thanks for reading.