What Ontario International Airport is doing to improve foreign travelers’ experience

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An artist rendering of the Ontario International Airport international terminal. The new terminal is in the initial phase. (Courtesy artist rendering) By lmarquez | Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
February 3, 2018 at 8:17 pm

Foreign travelers to Ontario International Airport disembark much like local travelers did before the modern terminals were opened two decades ago.
International passengers must exit the plane down a staircase, carry-on suitcase in tow. They make their way off the tarmac to a modular building.
This was considered behind-the-times for domestic passengers, which is why new terminals were opened in 1998. In 2018, the experience is so outdated it simply doesn’t meet requirements of modern-day passengers, said Ontario International Airport Authority CEO Mark Thorpe.
“Customers today expect jet bridges. It’s an inferior service to go down to the FIS facility,” said Thorpe, referring to the federal inspection services facility.

  • An artist rendering of the Ontario International Airport international terminal. The new terminal is in the initial phase. (Courtesy artist rendering)
  • An artist rendering of the Ontario International Airport international terminal. The new terminal is in the initial phase. (Courtesy artist rendering)
  • An artist rendering of the Ontario International Airport international terminal. The new terminal is in the initial phase. (Courtesy artist rendering)
  • An artist rendering of the Ontario International Airport international terminal. The new terminal is in the initial phase. (Courtesy artist rendering)
  • An artist rendering of the Ontario International Airport international terminal. The new terminal is in the initial phase. (Courtesy artist rendering)

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An artist rendering of the Ontario International Airport international terminal. The new terminal is in the initial phase. (Courtesy artist rendering)

In January, the authority’s commissioners agreed to solicit design and construction proposals that will ultimately replace the 44,000-square-foot federal inspection facility and international terminal. The effort is part of the authority’s overall goal, since regaining local control November 2016, to improve the customer experience at Ontario Airport.
Construction is anticipated to begin this year and wrap up in the first quarter of 2020, according to a report to commissioners. Based on preliminary costs, the replacement project could cost between $70 million to $80 million.
“We won’t know until the design bids come in,” he said.
The authority is still exploring a range of funding options for the project, “and our goal is to find revenue streams that are the least amount of burden on the airlines,” said Atif Elkadi, senior director of marketing, communications and external affairs for Ontario airport.
The current facility is a detached building west of the twin terminals. Officials envision building the future facility to the east, connecting it to Terminal 2.
Renderings depict a sleek facility within the center of a multi-level building. The three-story building would include an airline lounge on the top floor, a departures concourse on the second and the FIS and arrival hall on the lower level.
“Without building an entirely new terminal, we’ll be able to provide that world-class experience that international passengers expect,” Thorpe explained.
As of now, departures via an international carrier such as Volaris or soon-to-be carrier China Airlines leave from Terminal 2, but all international arrivals must pass through the FIS facility. Then airport staff have to tow the aircraft back to the terminal, an unneeded expense and waste of time, Thorpe said.
The new building would allow for international carriers to arrive and depart from the same gates. Thorpe said the authority considered four different iterations of the proposal and felt this was the best for ONT.
“All other options would have required a cannibalization of too much of our revenue-generating facilities in the terminals,” Thorpe said. “This was a way to accommodate this traffic without cutting into revenue-generating space.”
According to the report, international travelers would enter security through Terminal 2. Once they’ve cleared security, international passengers would head to the eastern end of the terminal where they would enter the federal inspection services facility. The new building would have food and retail options, something the current one doesn’t offer.
It would accommodate three to four wide-body gates, less than the nine the current facility can hold, but still suitable for the airport’s projected growth.
“One of the key points for us is that we’ll have wide-body jet-bridge capacity, which is important for flights from Asia and flights from Europe,” Thorpe said.
The current building dates to 1994, prior to the security standards set after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Replacing the facility would help the authority meet new security standards implemented by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in 2017. Under those standards, passengers must pick up their checked baggage before getting in line for immigration inspection.
In August, the authority ordered two boarding ramps that could accommodate wide-body aircraft. Ramps are a safer option than purchasing staircases, Thorpe said.
Ontario’s governing body in a special meeting Feb. 2, approved a resolution that would make a little more than $1 million in technology-related improvements before China Airlines begins operations March 25.
As part of the vision for the replacement international terminal, arriving passengers would clear customs and exit the facility, heading west to catch any domestic flights in Terminal 2 or exit the terminal to the north, where there would be passenger pickup curbside, a shuttle or other ground transportation.
Commissioner Julia Gouw asked Thorpe during the Jan. 23 meeting if Ontario would outgrow this facility in a few years.
“I hope so,” Thorpe replied.
Eventually, Ontario will have the capacity for a new passenger terminal, he added.
The international terminal would be designed to handle 800 passengers per peak hour, a 14-percent increase compared to the existing facility which handles 700 passengers per peak hour.
“This is a smart way to bridge the gap from where we are today to that need for a new terminal. If we built it today, we’d be overbuilding,” Thorpe said.
“This allows us to accommodate a significant amount of growth and then establish a market that would justify an expansion.”
Because this is a replacement project, airport officials said a whole new environmental report would not be needed.
As Commissioner Curt Hagman points out, the replacement international terminal will only be a temporary facility that can be used for the next two to seven years. The time period will depend on how fast the airport grows. Ideally, he’d like to see passenger traffic grow 10 percent from the previous year.
Building a permanent, state-of-the-art-facility would require a five-year build-out process, a luxury ONT doesn’t now have due to a pressing need for an updated building.
“This FIS facility will put us on the radar,” Hagman said. “We just can’t do things fast enough, unfortunately, and there’s a lot of catching up that we have to do.”

Drone has frightening apparent close call with jet

Too close for comfort:

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The FAA has launched an investigation after a drone had an apparent close call with a jumbo jet.

Danny Clemens

Saturday, February 03, 2018 01:32PM
HENDERSON, Nev. —
The FAA has launched an investigation after a drone had an apparent close call with a jet near McCarran International Airport.

Video circulating online shows the drone hovering as what appears to be a Frontier Airlines jet flies almost directly beneath it.

It’s not clear who shot the footage or when it was taken, but ABC News has confirmed that it was taken in the vicinity of McCarran.

FAA regulations generally prohibit drone operators from flying above an altitude of 400 feet, near other aircraft or in controlled airspace like the area near an airport. There are, however, instances in which pilots can apply to have those rules waived under specific circumstances. It’s not clear under which regulations this pilot was flying.

According to the agency’s website, flying a drone in a manner deemed reckless could lead to fines or criminal action.

In addition to the FAA, the local police department is now investigating the incident and the FBI “was made aware of it as well,” according to ABC affiliate KTNV-TV.

Drone U, a company that offers drone flying and photography services, posted the video to Facebook along with a message condemning what they called a “reckless and criminal act.”

“Drone U and it’s [sic] members work tirelessly in making our skies safe for all users of the National Airspace System. This pilot’s actions not only endangered the flying public, but has the potential to discredit an entire [Small Unmanned Aircraft System] industry,” the company wrote. “It is the opinion of Drone U and it’s [sic] members that the pilot receive swift and just punishment for this example of irresponsible and reckless flight.”

Some online viewers have speculated that the footage could be fake, with the possibility raised that the footage was crafted using shots from a video game.

TSA Updates Security Rules Leading into the Holidays

By Pedro Pla, on Dec 04, 2017

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is taking measures to ensure that the holidays are merry, bright and safe for the 100 million American passengers who are expected to travel by plane this year. The TSA has announced some changes regarding its screening procedures going into the busy holiday travel season. The biggest change that travelers are likely to notice is that all electronic items larger than a cellular phone must now be removed from carry-on bags and placed into bins for X-ray screening.
People who travel regularly are probably already familiar with this procedure when it comes to laptops. However, it is being expanded to include a variety of electronics. This means that anyone packing their bags for a trip during the holiday season should be prepared to remove items like Kindles, iPads, cameras and more. The additional screening rules are being applied at all airports throughout the country.
The holiday season is a time when passengers should pay attention to any gift items that they plan to bring with them when they board flights. Some items that may seem like harmless gifts may actually trigger security issues in TSA screening lines. Objects with sharp points or liquid components could raise red flags or violate TSA safety requirements.
For instance, gift items like snow globes or corkscrews may need to be confiscated or forfeited before a passenger can get on a plane. Even something as innocent as a culinary gift could cause a headache in an airport security line. While baked goods like cakes and pies are permitted, jars of jams and jellies that exceed the TSA’s limit for liquids are not. The TSA recommends that passengers leave gifts unwrapped before placing them inside carry-on bags.


Pedro Pla is co-founder of GET.com. He has been around the globe several times and considers collecting air miles and points from credit cards to be a hobby, if not, an obsession. Email: p@get.com.

Firearms seized by TSA surpasses 2016 numbers with TPA top of the list

BY JESSICA DE LEON jdeleon NOVEMBER 20, 2017 09:57 PM

With the busiest week for travel in the nation underway, the number of firearms seized by Transportation Security Administration officers at Florida airports has already surpassed the 2016 total, the federal agency announced Monday.
In Florida this year, TSA officers have seized 440 firearms at security check points as of Monday, according to statistics released by TSA. Last year, a total of 411 firearms were seized at security checkpoints in Florida.
At the top of the list is Tampa International Airport.

Airport expansion on the horizon?

Friday, November 3, 2017

Jason E. Silvers
2969046-M.jpgPictured is the south end of the runway of the Fort Scott Municipal Airport. A proposal to expand the runway is currently in the preliminary stages.
Jason E. Silvers

Continued growth is on the horizon for the Fort Scott Municipal Airport.
The airport has recently undergone some improvements and there are others on the slate in the coming years. In recent months, city officials learned of an economic development proposal that calls for new businesses at the airport, as well as an expansion and extension of the airport runway.
One recent project involved rehabilitation of the concrete apron near the fuel system at the airport. That project, at a cost of about $690,000, was funded by a 90-10 matching grant that included Kansas Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration money and city funds. It involved rebuilding concrete on the apron ramp area.
Another project involved replacement of the airport’s Automated Weather Observation System. It was funded by a 90-10 matching grant with KDOT. Project are required to meet FAA requirements and are dependent on available funding, Airport Manager Kenny Howard said.
“It will benefit pilots,” he said of the new AWOS system. “They will have true weather right on the field.”
Aaron Phillips, a local spray plane pilot, has plans to build an additional hangar next to his current hangar at the airport. The new building will be used for storage of supplies and built at “no cost to the city,” Howard said.
Howard said a project to expand the runway an additional 2,500 feet and widen it an extra 12 feet on each side is in the “preliminary planning stages.” He said city officials planned to have a telephone conference within the next 30 days with the engineering design firm of Olsson and Associates, the city’s new airport consultant, to discuss the project. There is also a plan to meet soon with FAA representatives about the airport’s layout plan.
“So we can come to them with a sound plan,” Howard said.
The proposal for the runway extension includes topographic surveys and drillings, as well as an aeronautical survey being done by Olsson and Associates. The surveys are part of an environmental assessment that must be done prior to the project. The surveys have been funded by city funds and “some private funding,” Director of Economic Development Rachel Pruitt said.
“The surveys have to be done to see if we can even extend the runway,” Pruitt said.
City commissioners approved a master agreement and work orders for the surveys with Olsson and Associates in August.
City officials have been searching and applying for various state and federal grants, as well as other financing options that can be used to help fund projects.
“We’re trying to do it without raising any taxes,” Howard said.
Howard said the airport must have 500 operations – takeoffs and landings – per year “to get the runway expansion.”
Pruitt said so far, city officials have applied for two state grants – one through the KDOT Aviation division and another through KDOT economic development.
“We’re also applying for a federal grant for the whole project,” she said. “This a really in-depth type of project.”
The runway expansion is part of an economic development proposal that also involves bringing a new jet repair station to the airport. Spectra Jet, Inc., a certified aircraft repair station based in Springfield, Ohio, has come to Fort Scott as part of its expansion. After researching airports, Pruitt said the city wanted to take advantage of an “MRO” (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul) opportunity.
Part of the proposal with Spectra Jet is to enlarge the runway, which is currently 4,400-feet-by-75 feet. It would need to be expanded to 6,100-feet-by-100-feet for this project. The company performs mechanical work on Lear and Challenger jets. The runway expansion is needed to house those models of aircraft.
Howard said Spectra Jet has already brought some equipment in to the airport but no personnel as of yet. The proposal is for Spectra Jet to relocate eight jet engine mechanics here.
Pruitt said preliminary estimates show the proposal to extend the runway would cost about $4.3 million, while the widening of the runway would cost about $3.7 million.

Elon Musk’s brilliant email rule at Tesla

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Elon Musk is famed for his unconventional management style. Photo / Getty Images
news.com.au
31 Aug, 2017 2:43pm by: Frank Chung

Elon Musk is famed for his unconventional management style.+
The South African-born entrepreneur behind companies including Tesla and SpaceX has described himself not as a micromanager but a “nano-manager”, news.com.au reports.
Musk works about 100 hours per week at the electric carmaker and involves himself in even the tiniest aspects of the business – and this email, sent by Musk to Tesla employees several years ago, shows how.

In the email, published by Inc Magazine, the eccentric billionaire outlines his approach to communication inside the company.
“There are two schools of thought about how information should flow within companies,” he writes. “By far the most common way is chain of command, which means that you always flow communication through your manager. The problem with this approach is that, while it serves to enhance the power of the manager, it fails to serve the company.
“Instead of a problem getting solved quickly, where a person in one dept. talks to a person in another dept. and makes the right thing happen, people are forced to talk to their manager who talks to their manager who talks to the manager in the other dept.
who talks to someone on his team. Then the info has to flow back the other way again. This is incredibly dumb. Any manager who allows this to happen, let alone encourages it, will soon find themselves working at another company. No kidding.
“Anyone at Tesla can and should email/talk to anyone else according to what they think is the fastest way to solve a problem for the benefit of the whole company. You can talk to your manager’s manager without his permission, you can talk directly to a VP in another dept., you can talk to me, you can talk to anyone without anyone else’s permission. Moreover, you should consider yourself obligated to do so until the right thing happens. The point here is not random chitchat, but rather ensuring that we execute ultra-fast and well. We obviously cannot compete with the big car companies in size, so we must do so with intelligence and agility.
“One final point is that managers should work hard to ensure that they are not creating silos within the company that create an us vs. them mentality or impede communication in any way. This is unfortunately a natural tendency and needs to be actively fought. How can it possibly help Tesla for depts. to erect barriers between themselves or see their success as relative within the company instead of collective? We are all in the same boat. Always view yourself as working for the good of the company and never your dept.”
Inc Magazine’s Justin Bariso argues that while he’s a “huge fan” of the message the email conveys, it’s “easier said than done”. “Communication that is forced to go through the ‘proper channels’ is a recipe for killing great ideas and burying the feedback that a company needs to thrive,” Bariso writes.
“There’s only one problem with Musk’s proposed solution: it’s extremely difficult to cultivate in the real world. Of course, leaders have to set the example. That means looking beyond individual achievements and key performance indicators, which takes courage, insight, and emotional intelligence. It means making yourself available to hear as many voices as possible.”
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AIRPORT TRAGEDY: Plane crashes at Wales airport killing at least one as witnesses describe seei ng ‘massive explosion’ on tarmac

The pilot was pronounced dead at the scene

By Aletha Adu
6th September 2017, 8:50 pm
Updated: 6th September 2017, 10:54 pm

A PILOT has died after his plane crashed and “exploded into a fireball” as it attempted to land at a Welsh airport this evening.
Horrified witnesses told how they heard a massive blast and saw a bright light before plumes of think, black smoke began filling the air – just moments after the plane came in to land at Caernarfon Airport.
Groups of emergency service workers are at the scene trying to tame the reported blaze 7

Groups of emergency service workers are at the scene trying to tame the reported blazeWelshpool air ambulance has arrived at the scene 7

Welshpool air ambulance has arrived at the sceneA lighter aircraft lands at Caernarfon Airport - after witness reports of an explosion 7

A lighter aircraft lands at Caernarfon Airport – after witness reports of an explosionPolice have launched an inquiry into the Caernarfon Airport crash which took place earlier this evening 7

Police have launched an inquiry into the Caernarfon Airport crash which took place earlier this eveningEmergency crews raced to the scene shortly after the horrifying crash occurred at around 6.20pm.
An onlooker said there were “unprecedented” levels of police surrounding the local area.
A witness told the Daily Post she heard a “very loud boom” and saw a “massive fireball” after the aircraft started to fly very low.
Dog walker Mark Hancock recalled seeing the crash landing.
He said: “The first thing I noticed was that the plane had no landing gear on. And then I realised it was going too fast. It came in and hit the tarmac and loads of debris came off it.
“It was a sort of belly flop and it bounced up. It had caught fire straight away. When it hit the ground again it exploded.”

Emergency services attend plane crash at Caernarfon Airport, Wales
Caernarfon Airport is primarily used for training flights by Wales Air Ambulance and HM Coastguard helicopters ALAMY
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Caernarfon Airport is primarily used for training flights by Wales Air Ambulance and HM Coastguard helicopters”At 18:29 North Wales Police received a report that a light aircraft had collided on the runway and was on fire. The emergency services were called to the scene however sadly the pilot was pronounced dead at the scene.”
plane-1.png?strip=all&w=624 7

North Wales police are at the runway, dealing with the incident.
A cordon has now been set up around the airport, as emergency services continue to deal with the smoking aircraft.
Caernarfon airport – home to the HM Coastguard helicopters, operated by Bristow – operates training flights.
Welshpool air ambulance have been called to the scene, along with another smaller aircraft.
pkane-2.png?strip=all&w=626 7

Chief Inspector Sharon McCairn, North Wales Police said: “A cordon is in place around the site and we are urging the public to remain clear of the area to allow the emergency services to deal with the incident.
“Enquiries into the full circumstances are ongoing and we are in contact with the Air Accident Investigation Branch.
“No further details are currently available.”