AAAE welcomes airport participation in DOT/FAA Aircraft Diversion Forum

Posted: 29 November 2011 | American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) | No comments yet

Executives from commercial airports will be among the aviation industry stakeholders participating in the DOT/FAA Diversion Forum…

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Executives from commercial airports of all sizes will be among the aviation industry stakeholders participating in the Department of Transportation/Federal Aviation Administration Diversion Forum, convened by DOT Secretary Ray LaHood and FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt and being held tomorrow in Washington, D.C.

Airport executives will join colleagues from the airlines, airport ground service providers, key federal agencies and consumer groups to discuss ways to improve the experience for passengers diverted to alternate airports due to bad weather.

“Weather-related aircraft diversions set in motion a very complex chain of events that affect and require cooperation and coordination among a number of entities, including airport operators, airlines, air traffic controllers, ground service providers, and federal agencies,” AAAE President Charles Barclay noted. “The recent events in the Northeast have highlighted the numerous and significant challenges that arise in these instances, and we appreciate the leadership of Secretary LaHood, Administrator Babbitt and their teams for bringing the government and industry together to find a way to minimize the impact of diversions on passengers while maintaining operational safety and efficiency. Airport executives stand ready to play an active role in helping to mitigate future disruptions caused by weather-related diversions and look forward to continuing our work with the government and our industry colleagues toward that end.”

Forum participants are slated to discuss all of the factors that influence diversion decisions and airport capacity in bad weather situations, including aircraft parking and gate availability, jetway and air stair access, the status of navigation equipment, Customs capacity, refueling and de-icing assets, and general ramp operations and security.

Among the AAAE members scheduled to participate in the forum are several members of the association’s Operations, Safety & Planning committee and Large Hub Winter Ops and Deicing Conference committee.

The forum’s work will continue efforts already underway by airports and other stakeholders to address managing diversions, or “irregular operations.” For example, the Airport Cooperative Research Program, part of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, is developing a guidebook for airports to use when developing irregular operations contingency plans. Airports also have held several forums to discuss and share lessons learned on developing and executing plans for handling aircraft diversions.

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