The March Kaamco meeting covered a lot of ground with discussions on gate security, Emergency Operations Center, illegal dog imports, NJYCAR, NYALO, Airport Wifi, Customs and Port fees.
From the Kaamco side, a major point of conversation centered on the use of JFK Airport generated revenue and the use, or diversion of this revenue used by the Port Authrity for tunnels, bridges and seaports not the money generating airport. This practice , called “diverting” by the International Aviation , does not allow for these monies to be spent at the airport where generated. Airline reps feel that rather than raise fees on certain Port mandated increases, the profit from JFK should be used to pay for the increases.Apparently JFK is one of only a handful of airports nationally allowed to do this.
On the Port side, Mike Moran said According to JFK Port, the Emergency Operations Center is progressing nicely, and all operations are being held at Building 111. JFK Airport has resppnded to all inquires regarding the January storm after actions and is awaiting comment and recommendations from Ray LaHood who was hired by the Port to investigate the procedures in place for extreme weather and emergencies at JFK. A separate RFI for ground handling services in in initial stages. This contract will allow Port to provide direct additional services as an additional level of support during weather or other required event. This is one of the changes being made to operations at JFK following after action reports from earlier winter storm. Moran stated that all the working groups set up after January are working well.
WiFi connectivity at the airport has been a complaint by travelers. There has been limited free connectivity but it has not been widely known. At this time the Port is rolling out free internet connectivity airport side although JetBlue and some other hotspots exist. To access this, go to JFK Free WiFi on your device.
Ajay Dhawan announced that there is a special NTSB day training on emergency procedures and the Family Assistance Center. Interested members should contact April Gaspari, agasp
Commander Hercules of the Center Disease Control reported that a new technique for smuggling puppies into the U.S is by “Flight Parents.” These “parents” are travelers provided a ticket to bring in unregulated puppies as personal pets or excess luggage and not subject to CBP cargo rules. She said it is a lucrative business bringing thousands to smugglers who transport breeds in high demand.
After considerable conversation at the meeting it was decided that better regulations on the “pet” category would prevent this potential threat to public health and scams.
CBP discussed another related smuggling scheme. This is the “Food Courier.” Typically people have operated for years bringing in legal foods by the luggage full from other countries for sale in the US. However, it has been a trend for many of these couriers to now hide narcotics and opioids in these food containers.
Both announcements are made for the benefit of spreading information among the workers at airports to be alert and help reduce possible disease and drug smuggling.
Ramp access to bonded areas is being addressed by CBP as a result of concerns by ground handling people at JFK about non-plated trucks entering through guard posts. Concerns centered around the proper identity of the truckers, and safety of vehicles , who deliver and pick up at the international cargo areas. Because of these concerns, CBP is working closely with the ground handlers for compliance and cooperation concerning truckers, forwarders and other ramp access entities as well as health concerns when transporting horses around the ramp area. At this time, it is necessary for outside trucks to be vetted 48 hours in advance of any service to bonded areas.
Dave Stewart of the JFK Air Traffic Control Tower is part of the JFKIAT Safety Committee. As such, je shared a story on the new Jamaica Hospital Ambulance service at the airport. He was happy to share that the first interaction with the service we very good in response time. H also complimented Port on the EOC and committed to providing assistance from the FAA as necessary.
Terminal One is partnering with the Port is streamling its Taxi operation. Using JFKIAT, T4, as a model, the new layout has passengers waiting inside of the terminal in a taxi queue rather that standing outisde in the elemtns. This will add comfort and better customer service to the traveler according to April Gaspari of the Port and Klaudia Fitzgerald of Terminal One.
The TSA has stepped up random searches for valid Port identification and compliance with TSA rule with inspections being made in food service facilities and also in the cabin cleaning work areas. The TSA held a subsequent unclassified security brief on state of terrorism in general. Despite statements made by politicians, the threats of various groups has not been eradicated. The number of incidents within the U.S. has dropped by the world threat continues in many countries. A reason for the reduced incidents in this country are partially due to the increased cooperations among intelligence agencies, and the identification of individuals known to travel frequently to other radical areas. The lone wolf is more a threat. So as it continues to be stated, If you see something, say something”. Prevention is the key to safety in our public spaces.
Bill Huisman of the Airport Development Council reported on the continuation of the FAA Part 150 Noise program.
He said that the second stage of coming up with solution to mitigate noise is currently being formulated. He also mentioned the New YorkCommunity Aviation Roundable (NYCAR) which was set up by Governor Cuomo as an offshoot of the noise reduction plan and incorporates stakeholders from all aspects of the noise affected and aviation land use communities. The JFK Airport Committee represents the JFK area. Several Airlines and groups such as Kaamco, JFK Chamber of Commerce and Air Cargo Association have voting seats. As the formal facilitator of NYCAR, Husiman encouraged all voting members to attend the quarterly meetings and understand the concerns of the surrounding communities.