Free Aviation Guy Newsletter Want to receive the latest on aviation delivered to you? Get all the latest and greatest aviation insights for FREE! Join your fellow Av Geeks who subscribe to Aviation Guy for FREE!!

Could the Boeing 787 Dreamliner be the New Air Force One?

Air Force One.

There is probably not a more recognized plane in the whole world than the one that carries around the President of the United States.  It has been photographed more than any other plane in the world, it was the centerpiece of a major movie starring Harrison Ford, and it is getting pretty old and worn out.

Just to be totally accurate, Air Force One is technically the callsign of any Air Force aircraft that is carrying the President, just as Marine One is a Marine aircraft carrying the President.  Multiple aircraft have carried the title of Air Force One over the years, but it is currently associated with two Boeing VC-25As which are highly customized 747-200Bs.

The first VC-25A was delivered in 1990 which means that these aircraft are coming up on a quarter century of flight around the world.  While that is not exceptionally old by some standards, this platform is getting old as most airlines have retired these older models of the 747 which means that maintenance costs continue to rise as parts become less common.

So what aircraft is going to replace this iconic platform?

The Air Force put out a request for a replacement back in January of 2009 to have a new plane in service by 2017.  A couple of weeks later, EADS(Airbus) took themselves out of the running leaving Boeing as the sole bidder, with the 747-8 and the 787 Dreamliner as the proposed offerings.

President Obama tours the 787 production line with Jim McNerney, Chairman, President & CEO of The Boeing Company (right) and Jim Albaugh, President & CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Photo by Marian Lockhart.

Interestingly, President Obama toured the facility in Washington where the 787 Dreamliner is assembled.  I don’t think that is necessarily an indication of an impending decision as much as a political move of some sort, but it certainly gets the wheels turning.

The 787 Dreamliner is arguably the most innovative aircraft in the world right now.  Its carbon fiber construction, and high-tech roots make it incredibly suited to all types of applications.  One of the biggest appeals is the fuel-efficiency and eco-friendly buzz words that make so many people swoon these days.

From everything that we can tell the Dreamliner is a great aircraft that is living up to the hype, but it is hard to know how good a plane really is until it has some real-time in service.  That being said, I can think of a couple of reasons that this would be a very appealing choice for the most powerful office in the world.

As I already mentioned, being able to use those great buzz words of fuel-efficient and eco-friendly are just the type of thing that a president who is so worried about his image on the international stage would eat up.  America has a terrible reputation when it comes to fossil fuel emissions and replacing the biggest fuel burner in the US government would definitely help that image.

Being in an election year where the economy is far and away the number one issue, picking the Dreamliner would be a great move from a political standpoint.  The purchase itself wouldn’t mean a lot since it is only for three planes, but it could make a huge difference in the grand scheme of things.

I’m sure Boeing would love to have their new baby shown off to the whole world every time the President gets on and off his plane.  How many airlines would at the very least take a more serious look at the Dreamliner if the President of the United States called it his personal jet?

It is one thing to go and tour the plant and say that it is a great airframe, and all of the factory workers are doing a great job, but it is quite another to pick that plane to replace the most photographed, highly recognizable plane in the world.  Like so many other companies across the country, Boeing can use all of the help they can get.

 

February 21, 2012 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

United States Air Force Fast Tracking New Bomber to Replace B-1 and B-2

For anyone familiar with the inventory of the United States Air Force, you have to be wondering what the Air Force is doing with their bomber fleet.  The B-52 is on track to become the first 100 year airframe, the B-1B is slowly being removed from service as maintenance costs increase and its identity is forced to change.  The B-2 is a phenomenal airframe but its extremely high price of $2.2 billion is just not realistic in the long-term.

There have been rumors of the development of a new bomber for quite some time because of the impending retirement of these aging bombers.  This new bomber is now being put on the fast track by the DOD according to DoD Comptroller Bob Hale who spoke at an Aviation Week-sponsored event in Arlington, VA.

The new bomber, known as the Long Range Strike Aircraft, will hopefully be ready for initial operations in 2020, though I would not hold my breath.  Based upon the timeline for the F-35 and the new tanker that is currently in the process of coming on-line, eight years just seems way too short.

Personally, I would love to see a new bomber come into service in 2020 because by that time I would be at a point in my Air Force career that I would have enough experience in my airframe to maybe switch over and be part of something new and exciting.  But beyond my selfish desires, I just don’t see it happening this fast.

The Air Force has set aside about $300 million in their 2013 budget to aid in development which is definitely a step in the right direction.  They also plan to use a lot of existing technology which will greatly reduce research and development time.  Hopefully, the biggest incentive to work quickly is the advanced age of the current fleet.

The three current bombers are fulfilling their mission admirably and they will continue to do so backed by the best maintainers in the world for as long as they are asked to do so.  But as the costs continue to increase, a solution must be found in the form of replacement aircraft that will not require such intensive maintenance as the B-1, and will not carry such a hefty price tag as the B-2.

The estimated cost of the new bomber is approximately $550 million per aircraft with an expected fleet of 100 aircraft.  The plane will fulfill the roles of the B-1 and B-2 using stealth technology, evading advanced aerial defense systems, as well as fulfilling a nuclear mission.

Either way we are at least a decade away from seeing this aircraft being used on a regular basis, but it is exciting to see that it has become a high priority.  Hopefully, the process will be much faster than other recent development projects so that we will be able to reap the benefits that much sooner.

February 17, 2012 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

Rep. Mike Pompeo Explains Very Simply Why User Fees Are Bad for America

User fees seem to be the simple answer for so many people in Washington who have no real understanding of what general aviation does for this country.  They think it is all about rich people cruising around in their big expensive jets on vacation, and while those people do exist, the vast majority of general aviation is in support of business both big and small.

Rep Mike Pompeo of Kansas is a long-time advocate for general aviation.  That is not too shocking seeing as how he comes from Wichita, KS which is home to companies like Cessna, Learjet, and Beechcraft; as well as being the birthplace of Air Force One.  He gives a great response to President Obama’s proposed budget which includes user fees for general aviation.  Here is the video:

 

 

Like so many types of regulation in this government, user fees will hurt the little guys.  Big companies write off fees like this as nothing, or they find a loophole to get out of paying them entirely.

A better idea for funding aviation is to create a more efficient system that doesn’t throw away money on things like replacing the uniforms for all of TSA for millions of dollars.  There are plenty of areas where cuts could be made, or money could be generated, but the people making decisions are too clouded by their own special interests.

What type of an impact do you think user fees would have on an already struggling industry?

February 16, 2012 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

User Fee Debate Overshadows FAA Reauthorization Bill

It is amazing how something so good can happen at the same time as something so dumb.  On Tuesday, President Obama signed into law the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 which provides four years and $63.4-billion in funding for the FAA.  This follows 23 short-term funding bills over the past five years.

All of the experts applauded this action as it provides a certain amount of stability for an organization that has been in limbo for half of a decade.  Most people overlook the fact that the lack of funding for the FAA has also meant a lack of funding for a lot of very important airport development projects.

The irony of the situation is that just the day before, on Monday, President Obama released a budget that included user fees of  $100 per flight as well as increasing the passenger security fee from as low as $2.50 to as high as $7.50 over the next 6 years.  This increase could cause very serious issues for an industry that is still struggling in a variety of ways.

It is amazing to me that you could do something so detrimental the day before doing something so valuable.

The first concern is obviously money.  Aviation companies, both commercial and business, are struggling to make ends meet in any way that they can.  Commercial airlines will not be affected quite as much since they will simply pass the fee on to the passengers which they won’t really notice either since the $100 per flight will spread out to less than a dollar for most flights.

The security fee will be worse, but again, airlines will pass it along to the passengers, and with the high price of tickets most people will simply write it off.  But I know that I for one am tired of paying more and more for plane tickets.

Bigger business aviation companies will also not feel the pinch nearly as much since $100 really isn’t that big of a deal when you are dropping tens of thousands of dollars on fuel for every trip.  The real pain will be felt by the little guys who have less of an impact on fuel purchases, but who are responsible for a much larger portion of the total flights.

These smaller jets routinely purchase only a few hundred dollars worth of fuel because that is all they need.  They also fight tooth and nail to not pay landing fees at FBO’s because even $50 more for each flight makes a huge difference to their bottom line.  Having worked at an FBO I have seen how hard these guys fight for every dollar, because they have to.

Now they are proposing that these users pay an additional $100 for each and every flight, if they fly in controlled airspace.  Talk about a gray area.  Even people who teach aviation have a tough time defining what exactly controlled airspace is.

Does that mean that every little single-engine prop is going to have to come up with an extra $100 for every flight when they are only spending $50 on fuel?  But this becomes a much bigger issue than just money.

If the choice is between paying $100 and simply flying VFR instead of IFR, then what choice are most of these little guys going to make?  A lot of them are flying short legs anyways, so how hard is it to just fly VFR?  The vast majority of passengers won’t even realize that their safety is at risk as opposed to being under the control of air traffic controllers.

They use the excuse that aviation needs to pay for its own security, which in principle I don’t have any problem with.  The problem that I have is that the government continues to impose new rules and regulations and then expecting users to just eat the costs.  In reality, how much safer are we now than we used to be?

My own personal feelings about TSA will have to wait for another day, but the point is that the government once again feels that throwing money at a problem will be a solution despite all of the evidence to the contrary.  Look at most government-funded programs and you will see that money is generally not the real issue.

So, while I am ecstatic that the FAA is now funded for a period that will allow some serious work to take place on NextGen ATC, and a bunch of other badly needed development, I hate to see that the government is asking for even more of a sacrifice from an industry that is already struggling.  Pretty much every sector is struggling, and they all need to make changes and pull their own weight, but the changes to these fees simply is not the answer.

I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

Cessna Foresees Demand Gathering Pace in Asia-Pacific Region

SINGAPORE, February 14, 2012 — Cessna Aircraft Company, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, said today at the Singapore Airshow the company anticipates accelerating demand for light and mid-size business jets across the Asia-Pacific region in the next decade.

Speaking at the show, Trevor Esling, vice president, Sales for EMAA (Europe, Middle East, Africa & Asia), said: “The Asia-Pacific region already accounts for 10% of Cessna’s business jet sales and we anticipate demand increasing further in the medium to long term. The region’s economic resilience during the global financial crisis, rising national prosperity and Chinese airspace liberalization make it likely that the business aviation market will mature at quite a rapid pace. Cessna therefore expects demand for light and mid-size aircraft to rise accordingly.”

In the past 12 months Cessna has undertaken various measures to strengthen its presence in the region. In China, Cessna’s dedicated Citation sales team has increased to nine members, reflecting the company’s increased focus on the commercial market and determination to build on success already achieved in the governmental sector. Cessna has also based a dedicated field service manager and is expected to complete a joint service facility, with sister-company Bell Helicopter, in the second quarter of this year in Singapore.

Esling continued: “All indications are that the Chinese economy will grow by more than 8% this year alone, while forecasts for the economies of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam are similarly positive. These forecasts are extremely encouraging for aviation in general, with China expected to become one of the top 10 countries for business jet ownership by 2025.”

February 15, 2012 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

Gulfstream Aerospace and FlightSafety Launch First Flight Simulator Dedicated to Business Jet Training in Asia

Gulfstream G450/G550 Simulator Is Located In Newly Opened Hong Kong Learning Center

SAVANNAH, Ga., February 14, 2012 — Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. and FlightSafety International today announced the opening of a new Learning Center in Hong Kong. The center will train operators of Gulfstream G450 and G550 aircraft using a Level D-qualified full-flight simulator, the first of its kind in Asia. This training was previously held in the United States; the new Hong Kong center will allow pilots and technicians to train closer to where they are based.

Approximately 80 Gulfstream aircraft are located in Hong Kong and mainland China, with a total of 175 in Asia Pacific. Gulfstream is the market-share leader in the region, with 48 percent of large-cabin business jets.

“We’re pleased to partner with FlightSafety to offer this training opportunity for current and future operators,” said Larry Flynn, president, Gulfstream. “This is the first simulator dedicated solely for business-jet operators in Asia, and, as the market leader in the region, we’re thrilled to blaze this trail.”

The new simulator is indicative of the joint commitment Gulfstream and FlightSafety have made to support the region’s rapidly growing customer base. The number of training events FlightSafety provided to the region’s Gulfstream operators increased by 230 percent in the past five years. More than 4,000 courses were delivered in 2011, including more than 700 for pilots, maintenance technicians and other aviation professionals who operate and support Gulfstream aircraft.

The new interchangeable Gulfstream G450 and G550 simulator is equipped with the company’s latest advancements in flight simulation technology, including the VITAl X visual system and electric motion and control loading technology.

“The G450 and G550 are some of our most popular aircraft in Asia thanks to their intercontinental range, speed, reliability and comfort,” Flynn said. “The G450 can travel 8,061 km at Mach 0.80, linking Hong Kong and Moscow or Hong Kong and Perth. The G550, meanwhile, has a range of 12,501 km. It can easily take eight passengers and four crew members from Hong Kong to Honolulu or Hong Kong to Paris.”

Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation

A wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), designs, develops, manufactures, markets, services and supports the world’s most technologically advanced business-jet aircraft. Gulfstream has produced more than 2,000 aircraft for customers around the world since 1958. To meet the diverse transportation needs of the future, Gulfstream offers a comprehensive fleet of aircraft, comprising the wide-cabin, high-speed Gulfstream G150®; the new large-cabin, mid-range Gulfstream G280®; the large-cabin, mid-range Gulfstream G350®; the large-cabin, long-range Gulfstream G450®; the large-cabin, ultra-long-range Gulfstream G500®; the large-cabin, ultra-long-range Gulfstream G550® and the ultra-large-cabin, ultra-long-range G650®. Gulfstream also offers aircraft ownership services via Gulfstream Pre-Owned Aircraft Sales®. The company employs more than 11,500 people at 11 major locations. We invite you to visit our website for more information and photos of Gulfstream aircraft at www.gulfstream.com.

General Dynamics

Headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia, employs approximately 95,100 people worldwide. The company is a market leader in business aviation; land and expeditionary combat systems, armaments and munitions; shipbuilding and marine systems; and information systems and technologies. More information about the company is available on the Internet at www.generaldynamics.com.

I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

Boeing, Lion Air Finalize Historic Order for up to 380 737s

Airline orders 201 737 MAXs and 29 Next-Generation 737-900ERs worth $22.4 billion; Largest ever commercial airplane order for Boeing; Lion Air is launch customer for 737 MAX 9

Boeing, Lion Air Finalize Historic Order for up to 380 737s

SINGAPORE, Feb. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Boeing (NYSE: BA) and Jakarta-based Lion Air today finalized a firm order for 201 737 MAXs and 29 Next-Generation 737-900ERs (extended range). The agreement, first announced last November in Indonesia, also includes purchase rights for an additional 150 airplanes.

“The 737 MAX is the best choice for Lion Air and the best airplane to serve our passengers,” said Rusdi Kirana, Lion Air Founder and President Director. “We’re excited to be the first airline in Asia to fly the 737 MAX and to be the global launch customer of the 737 MAX 9.”

With orders for 230 airplanes valued at $22.4 billion at list prices, this deal is the largest commercial airplane order ever in Boeing’s history by both dollar value and total number of airplanes. Lion Air will also acquire purchase rights for an additional 150 airplanes.

“Lion Air has been a leader in Indonesia from the very beginning,” said Dinesh Keskar, vice president of Asia-Pacific and India Sales for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “Today more people are flying in Asia at lower fares because of the 737 and this historic 737 MAX order will help connect more people in the future.”

The 737 MAX is a new engine variant of the world’s best selling airplane and builds on the strengths of today’s Next-Generation 737. The 737 MAX incorporates the latest-technology CFM International LEAP-1B engines to deliver the highest efficiency, reliability and passenger comfort in the single-aisle market.

Airlines operating the 737 MAX will see a 10-12 percent fuel burn improvement over today’s most fuel efficient single-aisle airplanes and a 7 percent operating cost per seat advantage over tomorrow’s competition.

To date, the 737 MAX has orders and commitments for more than 1,000 airplanes from 15 customers and the Next-Generation 737 family has won orders for more than 6,600 airplanes.

Lion Air, Indonesia’s largest private airline, currently operates or has on order a total of 178 Next-Generation 737s.

I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

Gulfstream to Showcase Three Aircraft at Singapore Airshow 2012

Company To Focus On Worldwide Product Support Initiatives

G550

SAVANNAH, Ga., February 6, 2012 — Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. will display three business jets at this year’s Singapore Airshow, being held Feb. 14-19, at the Changi Exhibition Centre. They are the wide-cabin, high-speed Gulfstream G150; the large-cabin, long-range Gulfstream G450; and the large-cabin, ultra-long-range Gulfstream G550.

“Singapore is home to about 10 percent of our Asian-Pacific fleet, so this show is an excellent opportunity for us to meet face-to-face with existing and potential operators,” said Scott Neal, senior vice president, Sales and Marketing, Gulfstream . “It also serves as a centralized location for customers to learn about the reliability, availability, safety and technological advances of Gulfstream aircraft.”

The company will conduct an on-site Operators Forum from 1 to 5 p.m. on Feb. 16 in Function Room 3 to provide updates and technical presentations on maintenance and operational subjects relevant to Gulfstream operators in Asia.

The Gulfstream media briefing will be from 3 to 3:45 p.m. Feb. 15 in Function Room 4 and will focus on enhancements to the company’s Product Support network, updates on the G280 and G650 programs, and other company news.

Several members of the company’s senior leadership team will also be on hand for the show.

Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation

A wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), designs, develops, manufactures, markets, services and supports the world’s most technologically advanced business-jet aircraft. Gulfstream has produced more than 2,000 aircraft for customers around the world since 1958. To meet the diverse transportation needs of the future, Gulfstream offers a comprehensive fleet of aircraft, comprising the wide-cabin, high-speed Gulfstream G150®; the new large-cabin, mid-range Gulfstream G280®; the large-cabin, mid-range Gulfstream G350®; the large-cabin, long-range Gulfstream G450®; the large-cabin, ultra-long-range Gulfstream G500®; the large-cabin, ultra-long-range Gulfstream G550® and the ultra-large-cabin, ultra-long-range G650®. Gulfstream also offers aircraft ownership services via Gulfstream Pre-Owned Aircraft Sales®. The company employs more than 11,500 people at 11 major locations. We invite you to visit our website for more information and photos of Gulfstream aircraft at www.gulfstream.com.

General Dynamics

Headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia, employs approximately 93,800 people worldwide. The company is a market leader in business aviation; land and expeditionary combat systems, armaments and munitions; shipbuilding and marine systems; and information systems and technologies. More information about the company is available on the Internet at www.generaldynamics.com.

February 14, 2012 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

Boeing to Showcase 787 Dreamliner at 2012 Singapore Airshow

737 MAX and 747-8 Intercontinental featured; F-15SG, CH-47, AH-64D and KC-135 on static display; C-17 flight demonstration planned

CHICAGO, Feb. 7, 2012 – The Boeing [NYSE: BA] 787 Dreamliner, the world’s most advanced passenger airplane, will make its Singapore debut as part of a formidable lineup of Boeing commercial and defense products at the 2012 Singapore Airshow.

The Boeing exhibit at the biennial show, which runs from February 14 to 19, features the new 737 MAX, the new-engine variant of the world’s best-selling airplane; the 747-8 Intercontinental in distinctive “Sunrise” livery; the F-15 advanced cockpit simulator; and the Virtual Maintenance Trainer, which integrates advanced multimedia technology for training in support of fixed- and rotary-wing platforms.

The range of Boeing platforms on static display – and in service with the Republic of Singapore Air Force – includes the F-15SG fighter, the CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopter, the AH-64D Apache advanced multirole combat helicopter, and the KC-135R Stratotanker.

“We are delighted to be showcasing some of the world’s newest and most innovative commercial airplanes alongside our strong defense products and capabilities at this year’s show,” said Skip Boyce, president, Boeing Southeast Asia. “Looking to the future, the Asia-Pacific region will be pivotal to our growing international business success. We remain strongly committed to our customers, suppliers and partners here.”

The 787 will land in Singapore for the first time just before the show opens and will be on static display Feb. 14 to 17. The third flight-test Dreamliner aircraft is outfitted with a luxurious business-class cabin, an overhead crew rest compartment and an economy-class section. Boeing has 870 Dreamliners on order from 59 customers, including Singapore Airlines and Vietnam Airlines.

A U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III – the world’s premier military airlifter and transport for humanitarian and peacekeeping missions – will highlight its capabilities during demonstration flights at the show. The Boeing-built and -maintained B-52 Stratofortress, the U.S. Air Force’s prime strategic bomber, will conduct flyovers on Feb. 14, 18 and 19.

Boeing will hold a series of media briefings during the show, as listed below. Reporters should check the briefing schedule daily at the show Media Center for the latest updates.

The company will highlight its air show activities through official Twitter feeds @Boeing, @BoeingAirplanes and @BoeingDefense, and through www.boeing.com/singapore2012, starting today.

The website will be updated throughout the show with videos, briefing presentations, and any schedule changes. The website also contains program backgrounders, executive biographies and a link to high-resolution photos.

Note: All times listed below are local to Singapore.

Wednesday, February 15

1200                   BDS Heavy Lift Briefing 

BDS discusses how the unmatched heavy-lift capabilities of the C-17 Globemaster III airlifter and H-47 Chinook helicopter meet the needs of current and potential operators in the Asia-Pacific region and around the world. Briefing includes discussion of future platform enhancements.

Venue:                Function Room 5, Changi Exhibition Center

Speaker:             Tommy Dunehew, vice president, Business Development, Mobility

 

1300                   BDS Military Derivatives Briefing

A look at Boeing’s current and future military derivatives and new technologies. Highlighted programs include 737 Airborne Early Warning & Control, P-8A Poseidon and P-8I.

Venue:                Function Room 4, Changi Exhibition Center

Speaker:             Steve Nordlund, director, Business Development, Surveillance &                                              Engagement

 

1400                   Boeing Commercial Aviation Services will unveil a new standard for services

Boeing Commercial Airplanes reveals an exciting new airplane services initiative that focuses on the unmatched advantage and value Boeing provides its customers, using the industry’s largest portfolio of airline support programs and products.

 

Venue:                Boeing Exhibit, Booth U-23, Changi Exhibition Center

Speakers:           Lou Mancini, senior vice president, Commercial Aviation Services

I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

Airport Executives Seek to Expand Trusted Traveler Program Beyond Elite Fliers

February 14, 2012 Alexandria, VA — The American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) — the world’s largest airport organization, representing thousands of men and women across the country who manage and operate the nation’s airports — pledged its support today in working collaboratively with the Transportation Security Administration and Customs and Border Protection to grow the PreCheck trusted traveler program to accommodate additional fliers as quickly as possible.

“Airport executives long have advocated for the adoption of a robust, nationwide trusted traveler program to better identify and scrutinize potential threats while improving passengers’ experiences at the airport,” AAAE President Chip Barclay said.  “The recent announcement by TSA that the agency intends to bring its PreCheck trusted traveler program on-line quickly at additional airports is welcome news, and airport executives are eager to play an active role in the successful deployment of the program at their facilities.

“Airport executives anticipate great success with the PreCheck program and recognize that the next challenge will be moving from a largely airline-centric program in operation at a handful of airports to one that is operational for large numbers of travelers at airport facilities across the country,” Barclay added.  “Airport operators are uniquely situated and qualified to play a key role in assisting TSA in efficiently and effectively growing participation in PreCheck or a similar trusted traveler program.”

Barclay noted that over the past decade, AAAE and individual airports have worked closely with TSA and the technology community to implement specific programs, including Registered Traveler (RT).  In roughly one year, the RT program enrolled more than 250,000 travelers at 24 airports, proving the security and efficiency benefits that adoption of these programs provides.

PreCheck in its current form is available only to certain elite travelers on specific airlines and participants in the CBP Global Entry program. Barclay said that airport executives would like to see the program expanded to accommodate as many additional travelers as possible in an airport-centric, community-based effort.  Barclay added that while airline-based programs and Global Entry are good avenues in enrolling qualified participants, additional efforts will be needed to accommodate a broader range of qualified travelers — a goal that airports, the traveling public, and the government share.

Additional views from AAAE were outlined in a letter sent today to TSA Administrator John Pistole and CBP Acting Commissioner David Aguilar, which can be viewed here.

“Airports are confident that in partnership with TSA they can help facilitate the deployment of a robust trusted/known traveler program that focuses on enhanced security above all else in addition to expediting the travel experience,”  Barclay said.  “We are eager to work with Administrator Pistole and his team to make the promises of PreCheck a reality for a broad range of qualified travelers at airports across the country.”

ABOUT AAAE

Founded in 1928, AAAE (www.aaae.org) is the world’s largest professional organization representing the men and women who work at public-use commercial and general aviation airports. AAAE’s 5,000-plus members represent some 850 airports and hundreds of companies and organizations that support the airport industry. Headquartered in Alexandria, Va., AAAE serves its membership through results-oriented representation in Washington, D.C., and delivers a wide range of industry services and professional development opportunities, including training, conferences, and a highly respected accreditation program.

I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.