Goats, Horses & Tents

Paul Bowers
Published in: 

Just another day at the airport. What, you may ask, do goats, horses and tents have to do with running an airport? The answer is everything. Everything creative that is.

The topic came up at this year's Airport Consultants International-North America meeting in Austin when a participant asked what airport executives need from consultants and suppliers. The answer was somewhat surprising. It wasn't cheaper products or lower consulting fees. It was innovation and creativity.

The consensus was that airport managers have contained costs as much as possible without compromising safety and customer service. What's needed, they said, is help finding fresh ideas to operate and grow.

This issue of Airport Improvement is brimming with what airport executives are looking for. It has a great lineup of articles with innovative, even unusual, solutions to problems that need to be addressed. Solutions like using a herd of goats to clear pampas grass off of a fuel farm site. (See Page 22.) The solution avoided disrupting an endangered species of mouse and saved thousands of dollars over the next-best idea.

On Page 14, there's an article about volunteer horseback security patrols that keep an eye on the vast land surrounding Houston's Bush Intercontinental. Again, incredibly creative.

And the tents? They housed passenger check-in and baggage screening at Reno-Tahoe International while its new check-in lobby was under construction. The approach saved the airport $7 million and 16 to 18 months of time. See Page 8 for more details.

These three stories are only the tip of the iceberg. There's a sneak preview of Atlanta's automated people mover, an inside look at a new parking garage in Grand Rapids and plenty of other articles with take-home value for airports of all sizes.

As we wrap up 2009, I would like to thank all of you for your support. This magazine truly is a reflection of your ideas and creativity. With that, I invite you to enjoy this issue and continue sharing your thoughts with us throughout 2010.

Cheers! Paul

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