Dolliole and Miller Launch Airport Minority Leadership Initiative

Last month at the 2024 ACI-NA/AAAE Washington Legislative Conference, ACI-NA Chair Kevin Dolliole and AAAE Chair Perry Miller announced a new initiative called Soaring Scholars: Airport Minority Leadership Initiative, which aims to increase the percentage of minorities in leadership roles at U.S. airports. Dolliole, Director of Aviation for Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport and Miller, President and CEO of Richmond International Airport, launched this initiative to recruit, educate, and develop the best and brightest students beginning in high school, through college, and into management training positions at airports across the United States.

It will be established as an independent non-profit organization that will focus on four key strategies.

  • Identify minority high school students who are interested in the airport industry and demonstrate promising leadership talent
  • Partner with colleges and universities to create pathways to assist students in their pursuit of higher education in either aviation or any other relevant field
  • Provide students with leadership development, essential people skills learning, and coaching opportunities
  • Offer scholars internships and management track roles at airports

In the coming weeks, Brad Mims will join as the Executive Director of Soaring Scholars. Mims has served as a transportation professional in government and the private sector for over 40 years. More recently, he served as the Deputy Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, and he currently works with the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Additionally, nine airports will participate in the Soaring Scholars pilot program. These airports will help to develop the key components of the internships and management training program. They also committed to being among the first to provide employment opportunities to the highly qualified candidates developed through this initiative.

The airports are:

  • Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport
  • Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport
  • Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport
  • Long Beach Airport
  • Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport
  • Richmond International Airport
  • Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport
  • San Antonio International Airport

U.S. Airports Turning to Executive Program Management as Capital Programs Move into High Gear

By R. Clay Paslay

Clay Paslay is Managing Partner and CEO of the Paslay Group, the premiere, full-service airport consultancy providing Executive Program Management, Business Advisory, and Development services for a wide array of airports implementing capital programs. Founded in 2006, PG has assisted owners in delivering airport projects valued at $21 billion and is currently managing an additional $11 billion in investments. Visit to learn more.

Fresh off what the Transportation Security Administration has called the “busiest summer travel period on record,” U.S. airport owners and federal security officers deserve our commendations.

They processed more than 14 million passengers over the Labor Day holiday weekend, up almost 11 percent over the same period in 2022. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) reports that the airline industry has mostly recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic and is operating at 94% of what it was in June 2019.

Much of this has taken place at U.S. airports with outdated security checkpoints, terminal buildings beyond their useful life, aging baggage handling systems, and airport infrastructure that ACI-NA President and CEO Kevin Burke has estimated averages 40 years or older.

The good news is that new Federal Aviation Administration grant options and flexible infrastructure funding for terminals and construction projects have given municipal governments and airport authorities renewed confidence to move long-awaited capital programs into high gear.

More often, airport owners are issuing procurements that seek proposals for Executive Program Management, the model our firm introduced to the industry almost two decades ago, to ensure their programs are planned, implemented, and executed in the most efficient and timely way. Among the recent examples are requests for EPM services from Cleveland Airport Systems and the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority.

For many airport leaders, capital programs are generational investments and the largest the airport has ever experienced. It’s not business-as-usual. The program’s magnitude requires a paradigm shift in the way airport leaders think given the number of people who will be involved, the speed of spending required, and the volume of contracts to manage. All while managing an operating airport.

Large-scale development programs come with risks. Cost and schedule are constant challenges, but reputation and community perception are as important. Executive Program Management helps owners navigate potential pitfalls.

The model works best with a small team of highly experienced development leaders who are integrated with the airport’s executive team and expand the owner’s ability to manage the development program.

Typical EPM teams include a senior Executive Program Manager, a Project Controls Manager, Construction Manager, and Design Manager. Other roles depend on the unique needs of the airport and program – an Operational Readiness and Airport Transfer (ORAT) manager, for example, or an Automated People Mover system specialist.

We’ve learned the benefits of separating leadership from the boots on the ground. The firm that provides Executive Program Management should not staff other functions, and augmentation staff should typically be procured separately. The EPM team’s only motivation should be the owner’s success.

Airport development programs are challenging. But they are also incredibly rewarding and appreciated by the traveling public.

Just look at Kansas City International’s new $1.5 billion Build KCI program that opened in February. Paslay Group’s EPM efforts allowed the owner to increase the program scope by five gates to a total of 40 and reduce costs more than $400 million from the original contractor pricing.

In 2022, JD Power ranked the 1972 MCI terminals as the worst U.S. airport for passenger satisfaction. This June, MCI was named the best airport in America by, an online travel news magazine.

Now that’s something to celebrate.










This article was provided by a third party and, as such, the views expressed therein and/or presented are their own and may not represent or reflect the views of Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA), its management, Board, or members. Readers should not act on the basis of any information contained in the blog without referring to applicable laws and regulations and/or without appropriate professional advice.

‘Reclaiming the Sky’ Resiliency Project Winners Announced on Sept. 11 Anniversary

Even 22 years later, the stories of esteemed aviation leaders and their response to the September 11, 2001, terror attacks continue to provide learning opportunities for the benefit of future airport industry professionals.

As we hold space today to remember those we lost and honor those who helped in the aftermath on September 11, we are proud to honor the legacy of so many aviation leaders through the “Reclaiming the Sky Resiliency Project,” an essay contest organized by the Human Resiliency Institute at Fordham University and ACI-NA to engage up-and-coming airport industry leaders.

Through this year’s essay contest, young professionals from across the airport industry were invited to read the stories of aviation heroes profiled in the book, “Reclaiming the Sky,” by Tom Murphy, and participate in a workshop with aviation mentors to explore lessons about resiliency.

Twenty-five openings were allotted for the program. Participants had the chance to learn about the stories of airport and airline employees who went to work in New York, Boston, and Washington, DC, on the morning of 9/11 expecting a normal day, only to find that “just doing my job” was to become the creed of heroes. The stories, including the powerful teachings from Susan M. Baer, the General Manager of Newark Liberty International Airport on 9/11, tell how the front-line aviation employees responded with courage, selflessness, and resiliency that day and in the weeks and months that followed to rebuild their lives and reclaim hope – while helping to get the country moving again.

This year’s winners were Michael Gyan, Project Manager, John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport; Salvatore Mendola, Director, Brands and Concept Development, Areas USA; and Deborah Blass, Arup, Associates, Security and Risk. Their award-winning essays can be read at

In addition to cash prizes, these three winners will also be recognized for their achievements during the 2023 ACI-NA Annual Conference and Exhibition in Long Beach, CA, on October 3.

The young professionals who participated in the 2023 include Deborah Blass, Arup; Carey Metcalfe, Lee County PA; LaTarryl Hall, City of Charlotte; Ryan Thomas, Parsons Group; Adam Ussher, Dane County Airport; Anna Phillips, Columbus Airport; Michael Hamilton, Savannah Airport Commission; Michael Gyan, John C. Munro Hamilton Airport; Juan Martinez, Chicago Dept of Aviation; Antonette Chambers, Clarksville Airport; Kendall Griswold, GSP Airport; Arjun Nair, Syracuse Airport; Jimmy Vazques, San Diego Airport; Aireyanna Kennedy, Syracuse Airport; Benjamin Torres, San Diego Airport; James Gerrald, Jacobs; Ana Zivanovic, San Francisco Airport; Esther Chitsinde, HDR; Christopher Liese, Munich Airport USA Holding; Anandhi Mahalingam, Transsolutions; Kristin Jewell, Baton Rouge Airport; Julie Seglem, Areas USA; Madison Strong, Tulsa Airport; Roeland Visser, InterVISTAS; Jeff Taylor, Jacksonville Airport, Salvatore Mendola, Areas USA; Brooke Bowman, Areas USA.

Judges for the essay competition were aviation industry leaders Cedric Fulton, Virginia Buckingham, Lysa Leiponis, Eileen Ammiano, John Duval, Kathy Denker, Debbie Roland and Jennifer Juul.

For more information, visit For aviation companies looking to participate in the expansion in 2024, contact Tom Murphy at

Airport 5G Update: Leveraging CBRS for Smart Operations

By Stephanie Czaplicki, Boingo Wireless Vice President of Account Management

The next generation of airport wireless is here, improving the passenger experience and accelerating innovation. From biometric ticketing to digital signage, security cameras, mobile concessions and more, airports are undergoing monumental change.

To keep up with passenger demands and operational efficiencies, private 5G has emerged as a go-to solution for airport IT teams. Airports must provide reliable, secure and fast connectivity for passengers and staff. Private 5G, leveraging CBRS spectrum, rises to the challenge. Providing extensive bandwidth and increased latency—working alongside existing public cellular distributed antenna systems (DAS) and Wi-Fi—private 5G enables secure on-premise data management and uninterrupted coverage for critical operations.

While Wi-Fi has solidified its rightful place in an airport’s network infrastructure, Wi-Fi alone can no longer handle the multifaceted demands of passenger mobile traffic and myriad connected IoT devices. And, when it comes to connected devices for critical airport operations such as biometric checkpoints and advanced cameras, security is a chief concern.

Private 5G networks complement existing public Wi-Fi networks, providing the added security and bandwidth needed. The 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) shared spectrum plays an essential role in unlocking the full potential of private wireless. Utilizing the shared spectrum, airports can quickly and cost-effectively isolate mission-critical connectivity solutions, keeping public networks separate from private ones. Private CBRS networks are flexible, scalable and fully optimizable for unique demands. Furthermore, the favorable mid-band spectrum can be more cost effective than traditional licensed LTE.

With the right technology, 5G can bring an environment to life. Take, for example, the state-of-the-art converged network Boingo designed and deployed at Newark Liberty International Airport’s new Terminal A, featuring Wi-Fi 6, cellular DAS, and private LTE over CBRS. The Boingo Private Network supports daily activity on the airport apron, including airside and outdoor areas where aircraft are parked, loaded and unloaded, refueled, boarded and maintained. This network solution provides a cost-effective deployment for outdoor connectivity in a tough to access area requiring extensive bandwidth for connected devices.

Private networks are much-talked about today by airport IT teams nationwide. They are also a network solution with a history of proven success. Boingo Wireless launched the first CBRS airport private network at Dallas Love Field in 2018. Since then, private 5G and LTE networks have been successfully launched by Boingo at several large venues including: Petco Park, home to the MLB San Diego Padres, to power outdoor mobile point-of-sale transactions; Chicago O’Hare Airport for touchless wayfinding; and, the United States Naval Air Station Whidbey Island where a private 5G network is supporting Department of Defense base operations and mission-critical naval functions.

An airport’s 5G network should be designed to offer fast, reliable, and secure connectivity to passengers and airport staff, while also being flexible, scalable, and able to integrate with existing systems. While these requirements may sound lofty and difficult to achieve simultaneously, CBRS private networks check all the boxes and make airport digital transformation possible. Learn how private 5G and CBRS can benefit your airport by visiting 










This article was provided by a third party and, as such, the views expressed therein and/or presented are their own and may not represent or reflect the views of Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA), its management, Board, or members. Readers should not act on the basis of any information contained in the blog without referring to applicable laws and regulations and/or without appropriate professional advice.


ACI-NA Private Wireless Working Group

The ACI-NA Private Wireless Working Group provides a platform for ACI-NA members to discuss the existing Private Wireless landscape, share information on CBRS technology, review use cases for this technology, and consider some potential collaboration between airports and other stakeholders to position the airport industry for the future.


Meeting Sustainability Goals with Innovative Financing Models

By Ramsey Nuwar, Johnson Controls

Airports across North America and on a global scale have committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, but securing the funding to achieve that goal can feel daunting to airport leaders and stakeholders with competing priorities capturing their attention and resources. Through conversations with leaders at airports of varying sizes, I’ve come to realize that the funding options available for sustainable infrastructure upgrades are not common knowledge.

As airports work to get their budgets back up to speed following a major drop in air travel in 2020 and as they brace for a potential economic recession, many facilities don’t have the financial capabilities to fund large-scale projects completely out of pocket. Ironically, it’s these projects that improve airport efficiency, comfortability, safety and sustainability that will attract more travelers in the long run.

Working with a trusted partner for guidance and expertise can help decisionmakers understand their options and their eligibility for non-traditional funding mechanisms, how best to leverage available funding options and how to attain the best possible return on investment.

Project funding can come in many shapes and forms and can be catered to each airport’s unique needs. Some options include:

  • Performance contracting: Under a performance contract, guaranteed energy savings are used to fund infrastructure improvement projects over a set period of time.
  • A transfer of project ownership: This would allow an airport to transfer ownership and the associated risks of their energy management program to a partner’s team of experts.
  • Private-public partnership (P3): P3 agreements allow publicly funded organizations to collaborate with a partner to maintain a fixed cost of occupancy throughout the contract.
  • Contingent payment program: Under a contingent payment program, the partner would take on the risk of financing infrastructure projects. Upon completion, airports can make scheduled quarterly payments over a set term to maintain a flatlined budget.

With aging infrastructure, comes higher greenhouse gas emissions and greater environmental impacts. Through retrofitting projects with a trusted partner on board, airports are able to assess where their immediate needs are through an intake on the state of their heating, cooling, lighting systems and beyond and address the most urgent updates first for the greatest impact and return on investment.

The Leonardo da Vinci Fiumicino Airport in Rome for example, is on track to meet their 2030 decarbonization goals with the help of Johnson Controls guidance and solutions. Through this partnership, the airport has achieved a 52% reduction in energy consumption. Leonardo da Vinci Fiumicino Airport was also the first airport in Europe to receive its ISO 50001:2018 energy management certification and reach the highest level of Airport Carbon Accreditation, Level 4+ ‘Transition’.

As we all know, inflation isn’t slowing down and the price of materials will continue to rise. Don’t cut your project short or wait until you’ve generated enough capital to fully fund projects outright, consider all of the funding opportunities available to meet set sustainability goals and create a healthier space for your travelers, employees and community to enjoy for years to come.

To learn more about Johnson Controls transportation offerings, contact Ramsey Nuwar at, or visit


Director of Johnson Controls Transportation Market, Ramsey Nuwar has spent the last 15 years focused on North American airports, providing leading edge building technology, passenger solutions and support systems.





This article was provided by a third party and, as such, the views expressed therein and/or presented are their own and may not represent or reflect the views of Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA), its management, Board, or members. Readers should not act on the basis of any information contained in the blog without referring to applicable laws and regulations and/or without appropriate professional advice.

FIDS Reimagined – Leveraging FIDS Screens to Improve Passenger Experience

By Colleen Hamilton, Principal, Art of Context

Maximizing resource use and improving the passenger experience are at the top of any airport’s priority list. FIDS has long been a key function in the airport ecosystem and new technologies exist that allow airports to maximize the information displayed while improving the passenger experience.

Design template (example data).  Leverage space on landscape screens without sacrificing display of flight information.


Low-Row FIDS

Single use screens are a thing of the past. Today’s cloud-based FIDS provide opportunities for airports to automatically repurpose empty screen space to offer travelers a sense of place, useful travel information, or even advertisements.

FIDS has a large amount of metadata that can be used to drive other content allowing airports to automatically fill empty screen space. Repurposing screen space provides the opportunity to increase revenue with advertising, improve loyalty with airport promotions, and encourage tourism by highlighting local culture and attractions.

The display of non-flight information is based on a data-driven trigger that allows additional content such as a QR Code for information about the airport parking membership program, to automatically be shown, but only when there is enough room on screen to make the code easily scannable.

Advertisements of different sizes can be slotted as space allows and can be tied to our proof-of-play functionality for information collection and statistics gathering.

Urgency-based tile FIDS

Showing urgency tiles and standard row and column FIDS side-by-side in the same space provides data in different formats to engage travelers with varying learning styles. It allows airports to impact passenger flow – keeping passengers close to concessions to increase consumer spend, while also providing travelers with the most up to date information.

The tile format gives passengers an easily scannable view of their flight, along with strong color cues letting them know when it’s time to either relax or get to their gate. Tiles even flash yellow when particularly urgent. Our solution ties into the airport’s common-use system to leverage status messages entered by gate agents and to determine tile messaging and urgency styling.



To learn more about how Art of Context can help you reimagine your FIDS and to optimize your screen real estate, please visit us at booth 2 at the ACI Airports @ Work conference in Seattle, April 24 – 27, or visit us at


Colleen Hamilton
is a principal with Art of Context, a Boston-based technology firm helping airports improve passenger experience through state-of-the-art technology solutions that reduce client administration and ensure extension for future innovations. Art of Context has recently been certified as a DBE.






This article was provided by a third party and, as such, the views expressed therein and/or presented are their own and may not represent or reflect the views of Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA), its management, Board, or members. Readers should not act on the basis of any information contained in the blog without referring to applicable laws and regulations and/or without appropriate professional advice.

Innovating with QR Codes

By Neil Chatwood, Transportation Lead, Omnivex Corporation

QR codes are not a new concept. They have been around for close to 30 years. However, the Covid-19 pandemic caused a resurgence in the use of QR codes in some new and innovative uses.

Virtual Queuing

A QR code on a digital screen can quickly make information portable to a mobile device, and the pandemic dramatically increased the need for this. Now wait times, scheduling information, and many other details can update in real-time on an individual’s mobile phone. In addition, the QR code enables organizations to control crowds more effectively and allows folks to move around a facility while waiting for an appointment, flight, etc.

Passenger Queue System

In 2021, Omnivex and Wipro collaborated with the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA) on a cloud-based Passenger Queue System (PQS) pilot project to improve the boarding experience. Passengers scanned a QR code with their mobile device to access real-time boarding information without installing an app or updating their browser. Omnivex Ink, a digital communications platform, facilitated this.

This innovative approach to using QR codes had several advantages:

  • Reduced congestion around the gate: Passengers didn’t need to swarm their gate to hear announcements or see the gate screen. Additionally, the gates with the PQS ensured boarding announcements and zones were visible to all guests and met ATPDR (accessible transportation for persons with disabilities regulations) requirements.
  • On-time performance: Gates utilizing the PQS system reported zero delays.
  • Reduced questions and announcements: Gates utilizing the PQS system experienced a decrease in both questions about boarding and announcements at the gate.
  • Increased revenue opportunities: Having information accessible on their mobile phone allowed passengers to visit nearby restaurants or shops. 86% of flights collected ancillary revenue.
  • No privacy concerns: Passengers could access real-time flight information from their mobile phones without logging into a platform, and the system tracked no personal information.

Monetization of screens

The combination of QR codes and digital signage provides a unique opportunity to monetize screens. For example, share vouchers and highlight limited-time deals or advertisements with a quick QR code scan. In venues such as airports, shopping malls, and stadiums, this provides a way to recoup the cost of their digital signage network while providing an enhanced passenger, shopper, or fan experience. These facilities can generate advertising revenue by enabling shops, services, and restaurants in their venue to promote themselves.

For example, in an airport, a QR code on a screen as the traveler walks to their gate provides a coupon for a new restaurant in the terminal. Similarly, a QR code on a lobby screen in the stadium includes ticket information for upcoming events.

The value of QR codes is clear, and innovative use cases will continue to evolve. QR codes are a quick and easy way to make information portable and accessible from a mobile phone. They also help align with “quiet” strategies in venues like airports by eliminating the need for announcements over the PA system.






This article was provided by a third party and, as such, the views expressed therein and/or presented are their own and may not represent or reflect the views of Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA), its management, Board, or members. Readers should not act on the basis of any information contained in the blog without referring to applicable laws and regulations and/or without appropriate professional advice.

’60 Minutes’ Correspondent Scott Pelley: Aviation is a Miracle

During the 2022 ACI-NA Annual Conference in Minneapolis, Alessio Olivetti caught up with Scott Pelley, the 60 Minutes correspondent and 2022 annual conference keynote, who shared his experience as tireless traveler and long-time journalist.


AO: You travel all around the world. It’s safe to say you’re a frequent traveler. What’s the most memorable airport experience have you ever had?

SP: My most memorable experience would have been at the very beginning of COVID, when thousands of people in the United States were dying every day.

I was covering COVID, and I was flying through Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport. I got off the plane and I was the only person in the terminal. Everything was closed. There were Texas State troopers clearing every plane and taking down the contact information for every passenger who came off.

I could hear the soles of my shoes clacketing on the floor. I was literally by myself walking through Houston Intercontinental, which I came through many times surrounded by tens of thousands of people in the terminal.

It was just such a shocking, remarkable experience to understand better in an airport than anywhere else the effects the COVID was having and would continue to have on the national economy. If Houston Intercontinental is empty of people, the economy has stopped, you can tell.


AO: You wanted to become an astronaut when you were a child. The U.S. has been the cradle of the aerospace industry for a century. Why are people fascinated in stories about aviation and lately about space tourism?

SP: People are still fascinated about the courage required to leave the Earth and fly beyond the atmosphere. Even though we have been watching that happen in the United States since 1957, the year I was born by the way, people are still fascinated about the images coming back from space, our astronauts on the International Space Station for example. And now in this all-new world of private companies launching people in space we are beginning to imagine, ‘Hey, it could be me, I could go too!’

In terms of aviation, there is just something about flying. I should be the most jaded airline passenger at all times. I’m a multi-million miler on many different airlines, but I’m still thrilled when I get on a plane and it leaves the ground. It never gets old.

I was on the A380 the other day, which is the size of an apartment building. The engineering involved in building something like an A380 or a 747-8 is a miracle, getting that thing off the ground almost effortlessly. Engineering is far beyond me, but I have so much respect for it.

There is another thing about aviation. People complain insensitively about their flight being delayed, canceled, or their luggage being lost. I get all of that, it’s very frustrating.

But I would argue that aviation today is a miracle. You can literally be anywhere on this Earth in 24 hours. Imagine such a thing.

I’m amazed at the way the airline industry runs all around the world with thousands of operations every day, and virtually accident-free. It’s one of the greatest achievements of man.


AO: What’s your favorite interview if you have one?

SP: Now I have a new favorite interview and that’s the one I did in April with Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

I’ve never met a leader of a country who has impressed me more. The courage that he took to stay in Kyiv when the Russians were coming at him in three different directions. And when he walked outside into the courtyard and filmed a video message on his phone.

That moment galvanized the country to resist. It was on the knife’s edge of collapsing until he walked out and said, ‘We’re not going anywhere, we’re all staying here.’

Just an incredibly courageous and impressive man who forced the Russians to retreat from Kyiv and from Ukraine’s second largest city, Kharkiv. He has punched way above his weight leading his people so courageously.

At the end of the interview, I said ‘Mr. President, we wish you all the luck in the world.’ He broke into English saying, ‘Half of it, I think we need half of it.’

A man with 44 million people on his shoulders and he is still having a sense of humor.

Celebrating April as U.S. Airport Professional Appreciation Month


As U.S. Airport Professional Appreciation Month comes to a close, we have been so excited to celebrate the airport industry professionals who are demonstrating their commitment to industry excellence and professional development.  We recently caught up with Sylvia A. Palmer, Vice President, Operations and Regulatory Affairs, at the Airport Consultants Council to learn about her experience in the program.  Sylvia recently completed her USAP studies and is now an accredited U.S. Airport Professional.  She is one of eleven students to be celebrated this first U.S. Airport Professional Appreciation Month!

ACI-NA: Why did you decide to enroll in USAP?

SP: In 2020, as the aviation industry was undergoing massive disruption, I desired a resource that would provide a comprehensive overview of the entire U.S. airport system as we knew it, and the all-encompassing evolution occurring as a result of the pandemic’s wide-reaching impact on the aviation industry.

ACI-NA: How is USAP making you a better airport industry professional?

SP: The USAP program’s detailed and well-constructed modules touched on every aspect of the U.S. airport ecosystem, in a cohesive manner. It helped me understand the changing industry landscape, and operational and management strategies that would help to re-invent the overall airport and travel experience. The program is also helping me better understand how to engage airport development stakeholders and regulatory bodies in the advancement of a more resilient, efficient, sustainable, customer-centric aviation system.

ACI-NA: What would you say to a friend or colleague who expresses interest in USAP?

SP: I endorse the USAP program for anyone who desires to grow as a leader within the aviation industry. It strengthens the critical skills necessary to effectively manage and lead change in the current dynamic airport environment. Congratulations to ACI-NA for delivering such rigorous professional development, and thank you for the opportunity to participate.

About the USAP Accreditation Program

In 2020, ACI-NA launched an accredited e-learning training curriculum, the U.S. Airport Professional (USAP) Program, to equip students with the leadership and strategic management skills necessary for personal and professional advancement in the U.S. airport industry.  The program was developed in collaboration with U.S. airport industry and professional development experts.

Comprised of seven online courses and a writing assignment, the USAP accreditation program covers the full range of current airport management topics, including leadership development, business strategy, commercial management, finance, operations, safety, security, air service, and more.  Each student who completes the program is permitted to use the USAP credential to demonstrate their understanding of the U.S. airport system.

Learn more about the U.S. Airport Professional accreditation program at


Marking 20 Years of Our Partnership with TSA

By Kevin M. Burke, President and CEO, ACI-NA

Collaboration has long been the hallmark of our industry.  No matter if we’re in a season of joy or a time of crisis, the greater aviation industry has always found common ground to help ensure the health, safety, and security of the traveling public.  Whether responding to a global pandemic or a security incident, our industry is built on strong partnerships.

One of our closest partners is the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), an agency comprised of tens of thousands of individuals who are dedicated to ensuring the security of the traveling public. The close partnership with TSA has been critical during the pandemic in helping airports remain operational while working collaboratively to provide for the health, safety and security of the travelers, employees and tenants.

Just two months ago, ACI-NA and the airport industry recognized the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks that significantly impacted our industry, and resulted in widespread enhancements in aviation and airport security across the world.

Today, we mark another significant milestone in aviation security: the twentieth anniversary of the TSA.  On this very day, 20 years ago, President George W. Bush signed into law the Aviation and Transportation Security Act, legislation that would further enhance aviation security through the creation of TSA and help restore public confidence in air travel.

The legislation directed the newly created TSA to hire, train, test and deploy Transportation Security Officers; purchase and install Explosive Detection Systems for screening checked baggage; hire and dispatch Federal Security Directors to airports to oversee screening operations and verify airports’ compliance with established regulations.

Airports remain committed to working with their TSA partners to ensure effective security through the implementation of risk-based measures to mitigate current and emerging threats, and in response to assessments.  Due to the unpredictable nature of security threats, airports often go above and beyond baseline security requirements, implementing additional processes, procedures, and technologies that are adapted to each airport’s unique geographic locations and facility designs.

While passengers see security checkpoints, the most recognizable part of the aviation security system they do not see the fully integrated, multi-layered approach to airport security that happens behind the scenes.

Maintaining the safety and security of the traveling public is the top priority for airports.  Airports, in full compliance with federal requirements, continually work with their TSA, law enforcement and airline partners to examine, test, and improve upon the risk-based security system to provide for the safety and security of travelers.

So much has changed in the last 20 years, including the overhaul and expansion of aviation security and the creation of agencies like the TSA.

We appreciate the strong partnership we have with TSA and our other aviation partners.  Our security mission is a shared mission.  During the pandemic airports worked closely with their TSA partners to deploy contactless security systems and technology to further enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the aviation security system.

Notably, a new generation of airport leaders have joined our industry since the 9/11 attacks and the creation of TSA.  These leaders will build upon the extensive work that has been conducted and the lessons learned through our close collaboration with TSA over the last 20 years, further reinforcing the safety and security culture we have today.

As we look toward the next 20 years of partnership with TSA and our aviation security partners, we are continually reminded that our work to provide for the health, safety, and security of the traveling public and airport workers will never be finished.