Airport EV Charging: Meeting the Coming Demand

By Tami Timperio, VP Marketing, NovaCHARGE

Whether it’s sustainability efforts or increases in EV adoption, more and more airports, both international and regional, are beginning to consider installing EV charging stations. And not to say you should keep up with the airport “Joneses” but when travelers have airport options, finding an airport with EV charging stations is becoming increasingly important.

For airports, EV charging demands mean big business too. In fact, market research suggests the airport EV charging market is expected to generate $4.1 billion (with a B) dollars by 2031.

The demand is there, but is it being met?

There are nearly 5,200 public airports in the United States with most major airports now offering some version of EV charging. That wasn’t always the case.

Airport EV charging station density is similar to what we see in other areas– making improvements but not quite there yet. EV drivers arriving at airports, hoping to charge while away or while they wait, reserve charging stations, or top up before they head home, may struggle to find available EV charging stations.

Implementing an Airport EV Charging Solution

As with any other EV charging station implementation, airports need to start with a few important decisions. The first? Determining the best locations for charging stations.

Airport EV Charging Locations

For airports, there are the standard considerations for site selection including (but not limited to):

  • Demand
  • Sustainability goals
  • Enough parking in a specific lot
  • Power/Infrastructure access
  • Space for hardware
  • Station placement would not block or impede snow removal or large vehicles
  • Easy in and out access (for heavy traffic)

There are, however, additional location considerations:

  • Which airport parking lots will you use:
    • Rental car lots
    • Cell phone lots
    • Rideshare/taxi lots
    • Employee parking
    • Short term parking
    • Long term parking
    • Shuttle bus lots
    • Ground service equipment lots
  • Proximity to rental car companies with EV rental fleets
  • Will parking structures need charging stations?
  • Is there infrastructure that may prevent network communications?

Beyond location, airport EV charging requires more logistics than other locations.

Other Logistics for Airport EV Charging

As we all know, fast charging puts an extra strain on the power grid and airports already require a significant amount of power. Not only does this mean infrastructure upgrades are likely necessary or forthcoming, but EV charging program oversight is essential.

Before engaging with any EVSE provider, ensuring they have a charging platform management system (CPMS) robust enough to help you analyze usage, manage power loads, create flexible fee structures, and assist with monitoring station performance is vital.

Given the demands, the variety of potential EV drivers who need access and, potentially, their role in airport operations, having full visibility into your charging network can help all stakeholders manage usage, adapt policies or procedures, and determine needs for expansion.

Similarly, EV charging station maintenance will need to be monitored to ensure reliability and performance. You can simplify this by selecting an EVSE provider with a strong warranty and ongoing support, but you’ll still want networked machines that can be regularly monitored.

The final destination is clear, EVs and EV charging will be essential components of airport amenities moving forward and, for rental companies situated at airports, the future is already here. The only question is whether you’re on board.

We’re ready to help, so reach out to our team today and let’s take the next steps to an EV charging future at your airport.


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.

Learnings from Attending ACI-NA’s Annual Conference and Exhibition

By Tyler Subasic, US Airport Lead, Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Prior to working at AWS, Tyler led airport affairs for Amazon Air, where he increased network destinations by 500% and led selection criteria and negotiation for four nine-figure projects.




For the past few years, I’ve been fortunate to attend Airports Council International-North America’s (ACI-NA) Annual Conference and Exhibition. These conferences attract airport leaders and solution providers from across the globe, initiating transformational changes and presenting cutting edge technologies.

While much progress is being made, it’s clear from my time at the 2023 Annual Conference that the collective participants want to move faster. Conference participants – which include airport CIOs, CTOs, and other leaders – frequently face headwinds from three topics: procurement, staffing, and risk tolerance. These common challenges are sometimes accepted as the nature of doing business.

The following three sections focus on ideas to improve common organizational roadblocks that can enable faster technology adoption and organizational advancements.

Reducing the Administrative Burden on Staff

Staffing shortages are common challenges, especially in government. Cloud-based technology can alleviate some staffing challenges by offloading repetitive and often mundane tasks. This creates more time for staff to tackle differentiated problems.

The Amazon retail platform uses cloud technology and automation extensively to improve efficiency and operate at scale. Amazon has been using artificial intelligence (AI) for over 25 years for items like product placement, package sortation, and delivery routing. Amazon’s technology infrastructure scales to meet the volume of customer demand, enabling staff to focus on business differentiators like invention and customer obsession.

AWS Managed Services (AMS) can provide similar benefits to organizations migrating to the cloud. AMS offers complete services to provision, run, and support your infrastructure. Common tasks like change requests, monitoring, patch management, and cost optimization are automated. This reduces the training and staffing worries that many organizations have about migrating to the cloud. Because AWS is pay as you go, organizations can use AMS for a few months while training staff or longer.

In addition to AMS, there are other managed service providers like eCloud Managed Solutions, a woman owned small business. eCloud Managed Solutions provides cloud and data center managed services and has shown success at Punta Gorda Airport.

Airports are common users of managed services, whether it be parking, janitorial, or legacy on-premise IT management. Similarly, airports should look at automated cloud management for improved efficiency and security. Most importantly, managed cloud services can free up IT staff, increasing focus on strategic airport initiatives.

Simplifying Procurement

E-commerce has changed the way we buy. Consumers can now shop from the comfort of their own homes, and have items delivered to their door. This convenience has transformed customer expectations and drastically changed the retail landscape.

Meanwhile, most procurement rules and regulations stem from a time when contracts were based on time and materials. As software solutions have proliferated, the procurement process has mostly stayed the same.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) Marketplace is an e-commerce like experience for software solutions. AWS Marketplace is a digital store that offers thousands of software listings from independent software vendors (ISVs). These listings make it easy to find, try, and buy software solutions. Organizations can compare solutions, read reviews, and quickly deploy software with just a few clicks. Cooperative purchasing contracts, such as Omnia Partners, are also available via AWS Marketplace.

Six U.S. airports, including large hub airports, have used AWS Marketplace today. This convenience saves airports time and money, and make it easier to find, trial, and purchase the software they need.

Risk Tolerance

Quick decision making is crucial to ensure effective resource allocation and prompt response to changing needs. By fostering a culture and toolset that enable prompt decision-making, organizations can streamline their operations and enhance their ability to meet public expectations.

Amazon’s decision-making philosophy can be summarized as one-way and two-way door decisions. This philosophy is derived from an analogy originally coined by Jeff Bezos. The one-way door refers to a decision where, once made, there is no going back. It is a decision that will have long-term implications and requires careful thinking.  The two-way door decision, on the other hand, refers to a decision that can easily be reversed or changed at a later date. Two-way door decisions should be made quickly to prioritize an organization’s valuable resources.

AWS enables two-way door decisions for organizations to experiment and innovate with IT infrastructure. Cloud services allow organizations to quickly build, test, and securely deploy new applications and services, without having to invest in expensive infrastructure. Similarly, AWS Marketplace allows organizations to trial a software solution the same day. Organizations can quickly try a new idea and see which ones add value, without having to commit to long-term contracts or spend a lot of money upfront.

If you’re interested in learning more about AWS Marketplace, AWS Managed Services, AWS Artificial Intelligence, please contact









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.

A Layover Outside the Comfort Zone: My First Airport Conference

By Ted Sullivan

Nothing grows or takes off in a comfort zone. After 29 years of working with global destinations, I got comfy. When it comes to destinations, I am deeply familiar with the needs, challenges, and pain points. But with the launch of ZDOS™ Airports, it was time to enter an altogether different landscape.

I knew I couldn’t sit comfortably and expect success to come to me. I had to embrace a relationship with an industry I was extremely passionate about and familiar with — but one where I hadn’t before worked to serve those needs.

So I went straight out of my comfort zone and presented on stage at the Airports Council International-North America annual convention in Long Beach, California, just a few weeks ago. Surrounded by knowledgeable professionals outside of my usual network, I learned just how much data airports have. But more importantly, I learned what they didn’t know they needed.

Airports use some of the most complex technology systems in the world, and the information they have about travelers going through security and their travel needs within the building is insane. They can detect materials in your luggage by material composition, parking spot usage by minute, and time in the airport by passenger prior to boarding.

But they don’t know what brings passengers to their doors or where fliers go after they walk away from baggage claim. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.

Three things I learned at the airport conference:

  1. One of the biggest revenue generators for airports is parking. A single parking spot could generate over $14,000 in revenue annually.
  2. Airport leaders don’t have access to information about how travelers spend within airport shops and restaurants.
  3. Airports do not always know the origin of the traveler within their airport or whether travelers to their destination sometimes use a competing airport.

Three things I realized airports don’t know they need:

  1. The home city or county of their inbound and outbound passengers. This information allows them to market and sell their offerings to a more targeted audience.
  2. Who is using their parking facilities, who’s getting dropped off by friends or Uber, and who’s using a competitor’s off-site parking facilities.
  3. Traveler leakage to other airports. This gives them the ability to make a better case for route development by actually seeing which airports their lost travelers are using and then where they’re going.

Sitting at my LAX gate before my return flight home to Logan, it hit me. Our data and their passenger insight voids could be quite comfortable together. But our organization needs to tell a better story about ‘why’ this improves the experience for passengers and increases revenue for the airport.

It’s time for us to step out of our comfort zones together, learn from one another, and collaboratively create the next evolution of airport data heroes.





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.

5 Major Changes Outlined in the USDOT’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking – How Your Airport Can Be Better Prepared

By: Erin Westerman, Marketing Manager, B2Gnow


The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) will help improve and modernize Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) programs. However, the steps involved for affected organizations will be complex. With change on the horizon, many airports wonder how their programs will internally support these pending requirements. Will they have the staff, resources, and tools needed to manage the proposed changes?

As your organization begins strategizing about future compliance, we’ve identified five of the most challenging requirements airports may face and suggestions on actions to take now to prepare.

  1. Prompt payment and Retainage – How well equipped is your staff to monitor and track the proposed prompt payment and retainage compliance revisions? Time to get your ducks in a row.
    As stated in the NPRM, your DBE program must take affirmative steps to monitor and enforce prompt payment and retainage requirements. To stress the importance, they propose including an additional paragraph stating that the conditions within this rule are intended to flow down to all lower-tier subcontractors. Reliance on complaints or notifications from subcontractors about a prime’s failure to comply with prompt payment and retainage requirements will no longer cut it. Does your airport have a plan to take affirmative steps to monitor prompt payment, as stated in § 26.29? Organizations using B2Gnow’s Contract Compliance Module have no worries! The system is already tracking goal compliance based on payment amounts to primes and subs and payment dates. Payments are reported and electronically confirmed for amount, date received, and promptness. It also enables contractors to easily report retainage as outstanding or paid. B2gnow’s tracking and reporting power puts all this information at your fingertips to ensure your subcontractor community is paid in full and on time.

    2. Uniform Report – This report is already known to be time-consuming and comprehensive, and given the new proposed requirements, will your airport be equipped to collect and track this new required data?
    The Uniform report, consisting of DBE utilization data, is submitted annually to the OA(s) that provide funding to them.  The NPRM seeks to revise the Uniform Report to include additional data that would assist the OAs and the Department with evaluating whether the DBE Program is progressing toward meeting its stated objectives. This expanded data collection could include additional fields for contract numbers, NAICS codes, and DBEs decertified during the reporting period, just to name a few. While there is no standard software to handle the Uniform Report’s requirements, more than 400 organizations, including more than half of all DOTs, and hundreds of transportation and aviation authorities/organizations use B2Gnow to automate, manage and report on all required information. The proposed changes will have little effect on their current data collection and reporting processes. The proposed data is native to the B2Gnow database, which means these fields are already available for reporting, allowing them to easily produce all required information with little to no impact on staff.

    3. Bidders List – Does your airport have the staff or tools to efficiently obtain and enter bidders list data into a centralized database?
    In the NPRM, The Department proposes revising § 26.11(c) to require recipients to obtain and enter bidders list data into a centralized database the Department would specify. B2Gnow helps organizations to maintain, track and report on procurement information that may be required through this proposed change.  The B2Gnow system offers a variety of tools that help DBE programs to easily build and maintain bidders lists, including modules that manage proposals, utilization plans, outreach, contract compliance, and bid management. The more robust the system, the more data can be collected and reported on to be prepared for any change!

    4. ACDBE Small Business Program – Will your airport have the capacity to manage and report on this entirely new program?
    This proposed revision to the rule, as stated in the NPRM, will replicate the DBE program’s small business element requirements for the ACDBE program. Notably, this means it would require airports to take steps to eliminate obstacles for participation by smaller ACDBEs and submit annual reports on their small business elements. While this may seem burdensome, B2Gnow already supports hundreds of organizations to seamlessly manage and automate diversity certification processes and electronically compile complex reports with the click of a button. Additionally, the B2Gnow staff have years of combined experience with the B2Gnow system and working in the industry. Many have helped implement such programs and deeply understand the complexities involved.

    5. Timely Processing of Certification Applications – Is your airport prepared to handle the complex certification process with more stringent deadlines?
    The NPRM proposes limiting a certifier’s ability to extend the 90-day timeframe during which a certifier must issue a final eligibility decision for instate certification applications. Current § 26.83(k) states that a certifier may extend the 90-day period by an additional 60 days. Their proposal would reduce the extension period from 60 days to 30 days. B2Gnow can help eliminate the need for extensions by reducing the time it takes to process an application. The Online Application Module allows vendors to submit certification applications electronically online. It eliminates paper submissions and creates efficiency, reducing the review time and ensuring that only complete applications are received. It also reduces firms’ time, effort, and expense to apply for certification and allows for the secure submission of sensitive information and documents. In addition, the B2Gnow Certification Management module provides immediate visibility into the status of all pending applications, enables the tracking of processing times, including granular “review-step” levels, and provides a complete detailed audit trail of all actions completed by staff during the review process.

While the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) will help modernize and improve the Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) programs, affected organizations will be required to make some complex changes to their current processes.  There has never been a better time for airports to take their business diversity programs digital. B2Gnow Supplier Diversity Software has your airport covered for all current, proposed, and future DBE and ACDBE regulation updates. B2Gnow is trusted by over 400 state, local and educational organizations – including more than 30 US airports. Contact us to speak with an expert and learn more about B2Gnow Supplier Diversity Software. 

Erin Westerman has worked in the cloud-based software industry for more than 14 years, gaining experience in both sales and marketing of enterprise solutions. Erin is currently Marketing Manager at B2Gnow, the nation’s leading supplier diversity management (AC/DBE), grant and procurement software for more than 400 state, local, and educational organizations.





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 submitted extensive comments to DOT regarding the proposals in the NPRM. Please click here to read ACI-NA’s comments.

Airports Council Associate Member Involvement Drives Collaboration and Learning

ACI-NA’s mission is to serve as the Voice of Airports® in Washington and Ottawa and be a fierce advocate for airport industry priorities.  We owe our success to the many members across the industry who have contributed their time, talent, and expertise to helping us navigate the challenges we have confronted for nearly three years.

To help airports coalesce around these challenges and exchange best practices, we have resumed our full slate of in-person meetings and conferences.  We are proud of our reputation as an industry resource for valuable learning and exchange.  Bringing our conferences back post-pandemic has been a full team effort. Just as the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted air travel, it has also impacted the way we present conferences and other professional development opportunities.  As such, we are excited about the launch of our U.S. Airport Professional program as an online learning resource for those seeking to expand their knowledge about strategic leadership within the industry.



Additionally, the participation of our World Business Partner (WBP) and Associate Members has never been more important.  Our WBP and Associate members bring best-in-class knowledge and expertise to complex challenges. We are grateful for an active WBP and Associates Board of Directors and for the associate members who are active within our committees.

ACI‐NA WBP and Associate members represent the wide variety of private industry businesses that provide products, equipment and services to airports and the aviation industry. Through this program, ACI‐NA World Business Partners and Associate members work with ACI‐NA Airport members to address industry issues and discuss new technologies and innovative ideas.

We are currently accepting nominations for our WBP/Associates Board of Directors.  If you are interested in applying, please contact for more information.

We appreciate the time, energy, and dedication which our airport and associate members brought to the table.  It has helped ensure that the association will continue to strengthen the ability of airports in North America to serve their passengers, customers, and communities in the years ahead.

St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport (PIE) Celebrating 15th Anniversary with Allegiant Air!

By Tom Jewsbury, Airport Director, St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport (PIE)

Fifteen years has flown by, literally, with Allegiant! In September 2006, PIE announced a new airline was coming to town with 12 non-stop, low-cost destinations! Allegiant made headlines with its 12-hour $12 fare promotion and PIE began a new chapter of setting passenger records.

Today, PIE is Allegiant’s 2nd biggest airport in the 130 plus it serves. With 59 non-stop destinations, Allegiant and St. Pete-Clearwater Int’l claim the most non-stops of all airlines in the Tampa Bay area. It launched with the idea to link small, underserved airports and create new affordable opportunities for families and friends to connect and vacation. The Result – PIE consistently ranks in the top 10 airports for lowest round-trip domestic airfare; in 2020, PIE ranked #7 with $107.16 compared to the national average round-trip airfare of $292.20 (US Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics). Together, PIE and Allegiant’s value and convenience, created a loyal passenger base and boosted our tourism economy.

“Allegiant has been the gateway to visiting my daughter and now grandchildren for the past decade. With nonstop flights from Allentown to St. Pete-Clearwater, it’s made visiting an absolute breeze! We loved St. Pete so much we decided to visit permanently in 2020!” shared Allegiant passenger Rosanne Totzke.

The first flights launched on November 16, 2006 included Allentown, PA; Rockford, IL; and Peoria, IL; and year after year, new destinations have been added. Our strong growth in passengers reflects the rise in new destinations; Since Allegiant’s first full year (2007) to 2019 (last pre pandemic calendar year), Allegiant passengers increased by over 200% at PIE!

“St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport is a terrific partner and a wonderful example of the many benefits a locally-focused, easy-to-access airport brings to leisure travelers,” said Maurice J. Gallagher, Jr., Allegiant’s chairman and chief executive officer. “Unlike other carriers, Allegiant is 100 percent focused on providing access to affordable, convenient nonstop flights that make vacations possible. Our growth and success at PIE over 15 years is testament to a partnership that helps us keep fares low, at a friendly location our customers love.”

Allegiant has celebrated our collective success along the way with some exciting giveaways and community contributions! Participating in school field trip tours and an aviation careers video, Southeastern Guide Dog Puppy Training Tours, hurricane donation drives, Big Brothers Big Sisters Workplace Mentoring program, Make-A-Wish travel packages, dedicated Veterans Honor Flight charters, Allegiant makes a difference in our community.

“PIE is fortunate to have a strong partnership with Allegiant and look forward to continued growth. Tampa Bay travel opportunities were transformed when Allegiant launched in St. Pete-Clearwater. Our improvements and growth are tied to their investment in our region.” Tom Jewsbury, St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport Director.

Leveraging Brand Values to Win back Customer Confidence

By Roel Huinink, President & CEO, JFKIAT

At JFKIAT our T4 is MORE culture is driven by our greatest asset, our people and community. However, as an air terminal with 12,000 employees and numerous stakeholders, sustaining a customer-centric culture is an ongoing effort. Together with our partners at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ), we align our T4 is MORE customer experience program with their WE SOAR program to create a consistent and holistic customer-centric culture. Over time, this strong cultural foundation has allowed us to be resilient, persevere, and win back customer confidence.

“MORE” or “Making Outstanding Rewarding Experiences,” is delivered by thoughtfully acting on our brand values that each employee wears on their lanyard: Be Happy and Friendly, Be Informative, Be Safe and Be Memorable and are directly aligned with our efforts to win back customer confidence in air travel.

Be Happy and Be Friendly

It’s been said that happy employees create happy customers, and we agree. Although it would have been easy to cancel the 2020 Employee Appreciation Day event due to the pandemic, we decided to move on with this beloved event to create cheer and show empathy and appreciation when it was most needed.

Creating a community culture is key, especially in the midst of a pandemic. We approach our stakeholders, service providers and airline customers as partners in our shared success and ask for their collaboration and feedback at all levels. After implementing our initial COVID-19 response and recovery initiatives, we actively surveyed our airline customers to measure effectiveness and gain improvement insights.

Be Informative

Being informative is at the core of what we do, and customers are quick to ask any one of our employees a question. This year we transformed our traditional T4 is MORE classroom training to a new interactive and gamified web-based training. From the beginning of the pandemic we have consistently communicated with employees via our online T4 Safe Travel Resource Center, T4 is MORE email newsletter, and virtual T4 community meetings.

Be Safe

Safety is our highest priority and creating a safe environment that wins back customer confidence depends on our employees’ behaviors and actions. For example, we have methodically increased our deep cleaning routines throughout the terminal using anti-viral solutions and electrostatic cleaning in high touch areas. Optics are critical to building customer confidence and our cleaning employees are highly visible.

Throughout the pandemic, JFKIAT’s Health and Wellness pilot program has tested Thermo Temperature platforms from FLIR, Thales, and Omnisense. We are now testing the Health Pass by CLEAR thermal temperature screening platform. We also continue to closely collaborate with the PANYNJ and all of our stakeholders, including the CDC and the New York State Department of Health, to support them in their efforts to create a safe environment.

Be Memorable

As part of our larger COVID-19 response and recovery initiatives, we developed a communications strategy to generate awareness, educate and inform both employees and customers of what to expect and what is required of them to keep everyone safe.

Rather than implementing the standard institutional instructional strategy, we developed and executed S.M.I.L.E at T4. This multichannel digital and print campaign personifies the ‘Be Memorable’ brand value, and brings positivity while informing and educating.

Although this a small sample of what we’ve done here at T4 to successfully leverage our brand values to win back customer confidence, we hope that you can apply this learning to increase customer confidence and regain business.

The Importance of Employee Resilience

By Roel Huinink, President & CEO, JFKIAT

This past year has disrupted and accelerated the pace of change in people, processes, place and technology across all aspects of the aviation industry. Although we are faced with daily uncertainty, we continue to be flexible, collaborate, share and explore new ways to adapt to the new normal of air travel.

After nearly a year of pandemic operations, it’s become clear that this accelerated pace of transformative change we’ve experienced in 2020 will remain with us for the foreseeable future. A term we have heard industry leaders use throughout the pandemic is resilience – the ability to recover quickly from difficult situations. Based on what we’ve learned at JFKIAT, resilience is just as important to reinforce within an organization’s culture as is crisis response to a global pandemic.

We have prioritized the health and safety of our employees throughout the crisis and as a result, we have a strong culture of unity and placed that first and foremost during this crisis.  We have not only persevered, but have also witnessed our community and partners go above and beyond to ensure a safe and secure environment to win back customer confidence. Thanks to our experiences, we encourage and believe deeply the value of building and maintaining a resilient employee culture.

Ensure safety and provide reassurance within the workplace

As essential workers, our employees at T4 have been on the front lines throughout the crisis. For many, this crisis began long before the U.S. response was widespread. Back in January 2020, due to CDC recommendations, our teams were meeting Wuhan flights alongside our government partners. We remained the only terminal at JFK operating 24/7 throughout the entire pandemic, and even as we saw decreases in flight and passenger traffic, our employees continued to come to work every day for 12 hour shifts to maintain separated workforces for social distancing.

In the early months of the pandemic, our team developed a multi-faceted, comprehensive response and recovery campaign to ensure the safety and wellbeing of customers and employees. To keep employees safe, we stockpiled PPE to ensure that our staff had the proper protective gear to perform their work, conducted numerous temperature check pilots for passengers and employees, and worked with XpresCheck to launch the country’s first COVID-19 testing facility at an air terminal to make testing conveniently available for our employees and travelers right in the arrivals hall at T4.

Reinforce your mission

A recent ACI study found that 80% of respondents were confident that airports and airlines are providing a safe environment.  Still, we have more work to do to demonstrate that airports are taking the right safety measures to restore customer confidence.

At JFKIAT, a cornerstone of our mission is to provide the highest levels of safety and security, and we have worked very hard to incorporate that mission into every aspect of our culture at T4. Reinforcing that mission became a critical aspect of our efforts to keep T4 safe throughout the pandemic.

Our core values became even more important as our employees implemented enhanced cleaning processes, followed new social distancing procedures, and worked to relieve customers’ anxiety during their travels. Reinforcing your core “why” is important to keep employees, and leaders alike, focused on what really matters – especially in times of crisis.

Express gratitude and appreciation

Keeping our employees and partners informed and connected was essential to our efforts as we dealt with the pandemic’s impacts, and in every communication, we let them know how grateful we were for their contributions to the T4 community. We launched a social media series, Heroes of T4, to spotlight our employees’ exceptional work, launched an employee “thank you” video within the first few months of the crisis, and hosted an Employee Appreciation Day over the summer to express our thanks for their dedication. Continually communicating gratitude to our staff has helped us to boost morale and maintain a positive environment at T4.

We recognized every aspect of this pandemic and response was not easy for most. Our industry and employees will be changed forever. If we have made a positive impact on our community to ensure they know we support their safety, security, health and well-being first and foremost goes a long way – and is the single most important aspect to restore customer confidence.  We care about every single person that walks through our doors and we prove that every day. As we look to the future, I believe that resilience within an organization’s culture will be critical as the aviation industry continues to transform.

Mask Over Matter: Communicating in the Age of the Mask

By Lise D’Andrea, CXE

So, here we are, facing our new reality behind a mask. Since the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended the use of cloth masks or face covering in early April to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we have been struggling with our new normal of trying to talk, listen and breathe behind masks. Compounded by physical distancing, from the boardroom to the frontline we find ourselves in uncharted customer experience territory.

In many countries around the globe, face coverings and masks are usually only worn by healthcare professionals or for religious or cultural observances. Overnight, this changed. While a seemingly simply and small shift, the impacts on how we communicate are profound. For those not used to wearing a face covering, many find it hard to breathe and talk, that words appear muffled, and that to be heard you have to almost yell.

Beyond words, human beings have long relied on reading entire facial expressions to reduce misunderstandings and guide interactions. The eyes and mouth provide some of the greatest clues to feelings and intent. Now, a smile that signifies a friendly hello and a chance to build understanding is covered. In the travel and hospitality industries, where the first step of customer service has always been to smile, we find ourselves having to rethink our approach.

A recent article by the BBC, “How face masks affect our communication,” shares that all is not lost. If we take cues from other cultures and professions accustomed to masks and face covering and amplify our body language, we can continue to create positive and meaningful connections with customers and coworkers.

While there are several ways to overcome the barriers of masks, these five techniques can quickly place you on the path to overcoming the “mask challenge”:

Eye Contact: Eye contact is the go-to means to make a connection with people. Continually scan to make eye contact with others around you to create connections and help proactively spot the needs of others.

Eye Gestures: It is possible to say a lot without saying anything at all – especially with your eyes. Gestures made with eyebrows, eye lids and overall eye movements can help customers better understand you, and you them.

Head and Facial Gestures: Although your face is covered, you can still support your voice with gestures using your head and face. For example, a tilted head for questions and “smiling” eyes can help deliver your message.

Hand Gestures: Hand gestures can be the megaphone for communication tactics. From a thumbs up to a wave, hand gestures help to clearly reinforce verbal and nonverbal communication.

Active Listening skills: Active listening skills are vital when you are masked, and facial and verbal cues are limited. Nodding and leaning-in show that you are listening.

In this new age of social distance, customer experience dynamics are evolving. Honing your communication skills can lead to increased confidence, stronger customer and coworker relationships, and less frustration and disappointment. As we navigate our new normal for customer and employee experiences, an innovative reality will redefine how we communicate, connect, and carry on to chart a new course towards customer experience excellence.

Lise D’Andrea is the Founder and CEO of CXE (formerly Customer Service Experts), an organization that specializes in helping airports, hospitality, food and beverage, retail, business, and government clients to define and deliver innovative and successful customer (CX) and employee experience (EX) programs. Harnessing over 25 years of experience developing customer and employee experience strategies, CXE has developed a practical eBook guide, “Mask Over Matter,” to help businesses quickly adjust to a society where mask wearing is prevalent. In August, CXE also plans to release an employee-centric, interactive, web-based training designed to acclimate employees to the new post-pandemic workplace and help them continue to make meaningful connections with customers.

Americans Are Starting to Fly Again

States around the country are taking their first steps to safely reopen our economy and to start rebuilding a sense of normal life. This Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer in North America — a well-deserved benchmark that we’ve made it through a difficult start of this year. This typically marks the beginning of our busy travel season, and while COVID-19 has quieted the typical buzz in our airport terminals and dramatically reduced the crowds, we are finally seeing an uptick in passengers who want to travel again.

Despite the challenges we still face, the Transportation Security Administration expects more than 350,000 people to travel through our airports this Memorial Day weekend. That is a far cry from the 2.7 million air travelers who passed through our airports last Memorial Day weekend, but it nearly doubles our traffic from weeks prior. Airports welcome these early signs of a rebound, and they are ready to help passengers navigate the new normal as we work to adapt to the future of travel together. If you’re traveling this Memorial Day weekend, here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Arrive early: Airports around the U.S. have enhanced safety standards and measures for all passengers. This could mean more delays as you travel through security checkpoints. Be sure to arrive early so you are able to make it to your gate and flight on time.
  • Adhere to physical distancing: Remember to keep your physical distance (6 feet) when going through checkpoints, shopping at concessions shops, or standing in line at customer service. By keeping your distance, you can help stop the spread of germs and keep you and others in your party healthy.
  • Wear a facial covering: Many states and local governments as well as airlines are requiring that masks be worn when occupying a public space. Please be sure to bring a facial covering with you to the airport and wear it throughout your duration there. For facial coverings to be worn properly they must cover your nose, mouth, and chin.
  • Practice good hygiene: Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds throughout your time while traveling. Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and then throw the tissue away in a trash bin. Avoid touching your face.
  • Be patient: We are all learning these lessons together, so please understand that our dedicated workforce is doing everything in their power to adapt to these new requirements as quickly as possible to ensure the travel experience remains as seamless as it can be in the face of new health and safety guidelines.

As the nation continues to open up and more people begin to travel, implementing these best practices will help to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy. Our airports are eager to welcome you back.