The Right Stuff

Paul Bowers

Coverage of airport projects is the glue that binds Airport Improvement together. Sharing these stories with the industry serves all of us well.

Detailing the construction of new terminals, the coordination needed for updated security systems, and the precise scheduling required for runway reconstruction are staples in every issue. However, airports also engage in important projects that don’t necessarily add new infrastructure, yet still have a profound impact on passengers and operations. We feel these initiatives deserve coverage, too. 

Last issue, we chronicled how El Paso International created an entrance that helped the airport engage, and literally connect with, the community directly outside its property. We also reported about 30 U.S. airports teaming up with the Airport Minority Advisory Council and several rental car companies to help increase opportunities for existing and potential ACDBEs in their markets.

This issue, we include two more examples of nontraditional projects. 

The new multi-sensory room at Miami International Airport is not only a project worth knowing about, but also a case in point about serving a smaller demographic. Clearly, this was not a revenue-driven project; rather, the motivation was looking out for the well-being of a group of vulnerable passengers and their families.

Finally, our Industry Insider, written by Brian Ryks of Minneapolis-St. Paul International, discusses a brilliant project that is truly a win-win. The airport is partnering with a local organization to offer airport and vendor employees free English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction. The goal is to help attract and retain qualified employees, and to also provide better customer service to passengers. 

There are no laws or guidelines that require airports to step in and provide services like ESL classes or special rooms for passengers with autism. Fortunately, we have bright, compassionate, entrepreneurial leaders who see a need and fill it. They create great examples for us to share with you.

Thanks for reading.

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