Airport Business

DEC 2017 - JAN 2018

The airport professional's source for airport industry news, articles, events, and careers.

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Page 20 of 43

COVER STORY December 2017/January 2018 airportbusiness 21 "You know you're having a bad week when Jim Cantore from The Weather Channel, the director of FEMA, your governor, your con- gressman, your POTUS and Vice POTUS are all come through your airport," Rozansky said. A WESTWARD PUSH James Parish, CEO of Punta Gorda Airport (PDG), said the last commercial flight left the airport four days before Irma hit. They made sure all 300 T-hangars on location were secured before the storm hit. Parish said the airport was devastated after Hurricane Charlie, so all of the facilities were rebuilt to withstand major storms. "We never closed the airfield," he said. "The tower closed the day of the storm when winds reached 45 knots, but we manned the FBO until that evening, until the winds reached 60 knots." Don DeGraw, director of airports for Monroe County, Florida, said leaders there were already following Irma at the end of August as the sys- tem was making its way off the African coast. As it grew into a Category 5 storm, all eyes were on the hurricane as it took aim at Florida. "By Tuesday, we realized there was signifi- cant potential for this storm, which was at that time a Cat 5 to hit the Keys, so it was decided on Tuesday that on Wednesday morning there would be a mandatory evacuation for all the tourists in the Keys," he said. "By Wednesday afternoon, the mandatory evacuation for every- one who was in the Keys would kick in." Prior to the manda- tory evacuation order DeGraw said staff at Florida Keys Marathon I nternationa l A i r por t (MTH) and Key West I nternationa l A i r por t (EYW) were buttoning up the facilities to withstand the hurricane. Once the order was issued, staff hard to prepare the airports and give time to allow everyone to get out safely. DeGraw said EYW was going to put out the last air carrier flight on Wednesday when the storm was expected to hit on Saturday. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) told him it planned to stop all screenings on Wednesday, but DeGraw said they convinced them to run a bare minimum crew on Thursday. "It's really kind of a mass coordination effort," he said. "We kept close communication with the airline folks and TSA and everyone at the airport who makes the air carrier piece of it happen." Rozansky said Naples stocked up on fuel, asking planes leaving the area to take less and make a stop en route to their final destination. Fuel trucks were parked across the airfield to minimize the potential of losing the entire fleet. Rozansky said they bartered with corporate flights coming into Naples by offering to sell them more fuel if they brought water to supply the airport while going through recovery efforts. Fuel supplies at the airport's rental car facilities were leveraged to assist employees in refueling their own vehicles so they didn't have to face lines at gas stations in the region. "We're here to serve the public, the traveling public, however, if you don't take care of your employees and you don't take care of their basic needs, then you won't have the people available to do serve the public,"Rozansky said. TEXAS AIRPORTS AVOID BIG HITS Kim Bridger-Hunt, marketing manager for Corpus Christi International Airport (CRP), said the storm made landfall about 30 miles north of the city. On Aug. 24, United and American flew their last flights from CRP, Southwest was able to get a flight out the morning the storm hit. It took a few days to get air service back because of the cancellations in Houston. The Houston Airport System said they avoided major damage to its facilities, however, flooding issues in the metro area created chal- lenges with getting flights operational again once the storm subsided. Bridger-Hunt said CRP can never be too prepared when it comes to things like gener- ator maintenance, so the airport had power throughout the hurricane. CRP kept a handful of essential employees on site during the storm. Read more at 12376710 VAN NUYS COMES TOGETHER TO HELP IN FLORIDA VAN NUYS Airport (VNY), Pegasus Elite Aviation, Van Nuys Airport Association and Operation Gratitude held a relief drive to benefit victims of hurricane-affected areas in Florida. The collection drive ran from Sept. 26 to Oct. 9 and focused on collecting items desper- ately needed by the communities in hard-hit areas. More than 8,000 items were collected for Foundation 37, a non-profit group out of Port Orange, Florida, which worked to identify the needs of the community. Donations covered a wide variety of essential items, water, and more than 1,000 articles of clothing. Drop-off locations were stationed throughout the airport, including Aeroplex/ Aerolease Group, The Park at VNY, Signature Flight Support and VNY Administration. On Oct. 24, the donations were loaded onto an aircraft donated by Pegasus Elite Aviation and flown to Daytona Beach International Airport, where Foundation 37 coordinated receipt and transport to communities surrounding Port Orange and areas within the Florida Keys. "When tragedy strikes, we know that our airport community will step up and help out, and that is just what they did for this recent donation drive to help those impacted by the Florida hurricanes," said Diana Sanchez, Van Nuys Airport public & community relations direc- tor. "Van Nuys Airport, Pegasus Elite Aviation, Van Nuys Airport Association, and Operation Gratitude have each given back in their own unique way, drawing from their resources and engaging their people to make this drive a success. We are so thankful to all who donated to help those in need."

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