The last Kaamco meeting of the year was a lightly attended. Many people were on vacation but this did not diminish the announcements and meeting agenda.
The new officers took place at the airline organization meeting with Judy Blainey of Cargolux taking over as President; Ana Lemos of Brussels Airlines as Vice President; Roger Scott of Virgin Atlantic as Treasurer and Phil Maret of Lufthansa as Secretary.
Kudos were given to Brian Cooley and Jayne Dietl for organizing and holding a fun Kaamco Cargo Committee Dinner honoring Robert Redes of the Customs Border Protection agency. Scores of raffle prized, and airline tickets were up for grabs during the event.
Brian Cooley reported that the mail operations at the Post Office speared to be working well with the addition of an additional building. (This was a stark contrast to last year when logistics had not been in place to handle the huge influx of ecommerce goods) . He said the handlers and airlines are working well together. Ana Lemos remarked that freight containers were being returned to their airlines by dnata were keeping things more organized.
Ajay Dhawan reported that the Kaamco 2018 annual trip would be held in Aruba from April 27-May1st. He said more details would be forthcoming.
Elizabeth Schuette of The Ark spoke about the continuous additions to services currently provided; that would include a horse quarantine being added to the current Stewart Airport facility, and how the Ark has designed special trailers for horses to be moved from the airline to The Ark.
Illegal transportation of young, undocumented and unvaccinated dogs by individuals was discussed by a representative of the USDA who told Kaamco that they have identified the offending airlines that do not seem to be doing an adequate job in preventing these animals from being shipped to the US from overseas. He said that many of these dogs are under aged, and not able to withstand the cargo shipments with some dying from exposure. He warned the airlines that they are accountable for these animals and subject to financial penalties. If no one comes to claim them then the airline must take responsibility to care and repatriate them to the country of origin. He added for airlines to be aware of suspicious arrivals of Pugs, and Bulldogs since they seem to be the more popular at this time. He shared an interesting story of how the dogs are initially brought via cruise ships to Frankfurt and Amsterdam then transferred to stations throughout Europe for eventual shipment to the US. One of the members asked the USDA man who the actual airlines are that are largely responsible for these dogs that die during transit. A specific response was declined by the USDA.
John Selden spoke about Port Authority issues. He reported that the first light snow storm was a “good warm-up with all systems working well”. He briefly complimented DHL for its annual Christmas tree shipment overseas to the US troops; thanked the Rotary and JetBlue for their Special needs Christmas party; and thanked the Community Mayors Party for over 4000 children. Selden mentioned the new cooperation with Jamaica Hospital working with the PAPD dispatch and providing ambulance service with paramedics as needed. Selden shared his experience with other Port specialists in flying to Puerto Rico to help get the water and airport and utilities get re-established after the hurricane saying ,” It was a great job on humanitarian relief efforts.”
The Port Authority Police Department (PAPD) reported that the police “surge” efforts after reports of any airport incident have been implemented twelve times in the past year and that Central Command is in place to handle any emergencies or reports of violence. They increased patrols along with the NY State Police and National Guard with joint operations. The Police added that there are closer to the terminal car checks to keep the public safe. The Captain was happy to report that airport petty larceny is down 40% and arrests are up considerable. This has had a positive impact by reducing thefts at the airport.
Sanchita Jimenez of the JFK Airtrain system stated that all the planned work and shutdowns have been completed and there are no more planned shutdowns until the spring. The optimized service changes, including one car for continual looping terminal stops, were based on passenger loads and patterns.
The spokesman for the JFK Security office reminded members that the new eight hour security training is mandatory in order to be issued new security cards. The training is being implemented gradually with all employees to be through the training by July 1st.
The Port Authority announced a new fee assessment of 5% if gross receipts for security firms that are effective January 1st, but will not begin until January 2019 to give all companies time to adjust.
Dave Siewert of the FAA thanked Kaamco for the honor for Man of the Year. He said that the air traffic control tower is always safety first when referring to two incidents; one of a clipped wing while two airlines were being tugged, and the other was an error in runway approach. He attributed quick action by the tower in handling both situations. He also praised the Port Authority for “cooperation and collaboration” working with the FAA and completing runways 4r and 22L making everyone’s life easier with the runways fully back in action. ATC Supervisor, Claude Vieira reaffirmed Dave’s comments on safety and said we are “under the spotlight” and need to maintain the highest standards for our airport’s passengers and airlines.
TSA Federal Security Director Bambury stated that a new Deputy Director has been chosen. His name is John Essig most recently Captain of the 112th Precinct in Queens.
Rodger Recker reported that safety is a major issue with all the vehicles moving around the airport and there had been a few reports of injuries. He stressed the fact that more has to be done to insure that fewer incidents occur and fewer injuries due to any factors such as weather, delays, or fueling issues.
The meeting adjourned with everyone wishing each other a good holiday and Happy New Year.