Real ID = Real challenge

Passengers from Maine, Montana, New Hampshire and South Carolina will not be able to pass airport security with a license when the Real ID mandate goes into effect.

Real ID requires licenses to have multiple security features; Maine, Montana, New Hampshire and South Carolina have no intention of reissuing licenses.

So, passengers from these states will have to use military IDs or passports. If passengers have neither, they will go through extra screening.

Are airports ready?

Columbia Metropolitan Airport is working with other Palmetto state airports to educate the public about the change through media coverage and newspaper advertisements.

“At this point, the public is very unaware,” executive director Mike Flack tells me, adding the airport is surveying passengers to determine how many have passports and or military IDs.

Passengers aren’t the only ones feeling out of the loop.

“[We] don’t have a lot of guidance from TSA. We don’t know what they’ll require. … [They] haven’t said what they’ll do,” Flack says.

His strategy is to encourage South Carolinians to arrive at any airport two hours early for extra screening, instead of his currently prescribed 90 minutes.

Not only will the airport have longer security lines with the implementation of Real ID on May 11, it will also have an influx of travellers when Spirit Airlines launches service to Fort Lauderdale on May 22.

“May is going to be a big month,” Flack says.


Help christen Brazilian startup

Opinionated consumers can help design an unnamed Sao Paulo-based startup airline. Brainstorm the company's name here.

Former JetBlue Airways chief David Neeleman is behind the venture. Domestic flights will begin in 2009, pending government approval.

The carrier will fly new Embraer E-195s featuring LiveTV satellite television.


Will green airport be painted that color?

Northwest Florida is getting a new airport in 2010. Panama City-Bay County International airport will move into a facility with a runway large enough for international commercial service on 4,000 acres donated by Florida’s largest private landowner, The St Joe Company. Airport price tag roughly $330 million.

Airport executive director Randy Curtis (right) and St. Joe senior VP strategic alliances and communications Jerry Ray touted the forthcoming airport’s sustainability during a visit to Flight International. It will be the first airport certified according to the US Green Building Council's standards for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), Ray says.

Curtis says the airport decided to pursue LEED silver certification because of the adversarial relationship it had with environmentalists.
“It evolved. How can we work together?” he says.

Construction materials will be sourced from locations within 500 miles of the airport and building material will be sustainable. Stormwater treatment will be 50% higher than required.

The airport will also pursue the use of technologies that enable it to be carbon neutral, Ray adds.

But before the location of the airport was determined, 41,000 acres were set aside for preservation, the West Bay Preservation Area, Ray says.

This makes West Bay the largest undeveloped bay in Florida. Thirty-three miles of West Bay shoreline and 44 square miles of the West Bay watershed will be protected.

Architectural renderings and site plan (below) courtesy of the airport.


Bookmark this

Check out the Canadian Airports Council's new Web site. Happy reading.


Party at DFW

Impersonators of Queen Elizabeth II, royal guardsmen, Dutch maids and a Beatles cover band will be on hand to help Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport celebrate the US-EU Open Skies agreement on Sunday. March 30 also marks inaugural nonstops to London Heathrow and Amsterdam Schiphol airports. Check out DFW's nifty countdown clock.

DFW was the first airport to win new service under Open Skies: British Airways will link the airport to London Heathrow with daily flights starting March 30.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will begin daily service to Amsterdam on the same day.

From the airport's press release: "First-flight arriving and departing passengers on American Airlines, British Airways and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will be feted with an international celebration of food and entertainment to mark the milestone day."

"KLM travelers will enjoy authentic Dutch klompendansers, Dutch coffee, chocolates and a giant windmill cake. Bagpipers will entertain Heathrow passengers on both American Airlines and British Airways as English teas and snacks are served. DFW will roll out its Texas hospitality and distribute commemorative cowboy hats with customized airline and DFW logos to all Heathrow and Amsterdam passengers. Departing first flights will be sent off by impersonators of Queen Elizabeth II, Royal Guardsmen, Dutch maids, as well as a Beatles cover band."


Rush AZA

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport wants the US FAA to adopt the airport's IATA code AZA. The airport uses AZA and IWA, the latter it adopted when the airport went commercial in ’94.

When the airport pursued an IATA code, it discovered that IWA was taken by a Russian airport. So, the airport picked AZA, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway marketing manager John Barry tells me.

The airport then asked FAA to use AZA instead of IWA but was told it would be too costly and too time consuming to change, Barry says.

The airport has the support of Allegiant Air. The Boeing MD-80 operator uses the airport as one of its bases and links Mesa with Bellingham, Washington; Billings and Missoula, Montana; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Fargo, North Dakota; Fort Wayne, Indiana; Green Bay, Wisconsin; Peoria and Rockford, Illinois; Rapid City and Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Santa Maria and Stockton, California.

Having two airport codes causes customer confusion, Allegiant planning VP Robert Ashcroft said at the FAA forecast conference in Washington, DC.

Now that the airport has changed its name from Williams Gateway Airport, and because FAA was already noting the name change in its system, the airport has asked FAA to reconsider the code designation, Barry says.

The airport is awaiting FAA's response.


All business, all the time.

All-business airlines are popping up all over the place, the latest being Calgary-based Corporate Jet Air. The newest Corpac Canada brand will offer six daily flights between Calgary and Toronto starting in late spring, VP and general manager Roger Cross tells me.

The carrier will fly Bombardier CRJ200LRs configured with 18 passenger seats instead of the standard 50.

Setup is single seat so passenger can work in privacy during the roughly 31/2-hour flight; otherwise, passengers miss half a workday between the flight and the 2-hour time difference between Calgary and Toronto, he adds.

Cross says the carrier aims to fill the gap between the corporate aircraft and the commercial airline.

Photos courtesy of Corporate Jet Air.


Shake what yo mama gave ya

Next time you’re stuck at the airport with nowhere to go, consider a re-enactment of one of my favorite music videos, Feist’s “My Moon, My Man.”

Apparently the Canadian chanteuse made the video at Toronto Pearson International Airport.

The indie rock It girl tells Britain’s Metro newspaper the video “took two nights because we filmed it on an airport travelator and could only use it when people weren’t around.”


Testing 1, 2, 3

I put off blogging mostly because I could not find a hip name for an airport blog. A big thank you to my coworkers who brainstormed with me.

Happy reading.

Rejects include:
Taxiway Kilo
Landing strip
Kuhnport (sounds weird)
Terminal A (already taken)
Short Final (an early favorite)
Takeoff and Landing (too long)
Terminal Talk (reminds me of blue-haired lunch ladies gossiping)
Terminal Story (think made-for-TV movie about a woman with cancer)