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AXiNsider by Airport Experience® News
27 minutes | 21 days ago
Ep. 117 - Rob Wigington, Executive Director, Airport Restaurant & Retail Association
“Even under the best of circumstances we don’t expect that traffic is going to get back, certainly not this year and probably not in 2022, to levels that are needed to sustain the airports and concessionaires.” Passenger counts are increasing, which provides reason for optimism, but they’re far from back to a level that can sustain airports and operators. So, while nearly $1 billion in federal aid for concessions since COVID-19 devastated the industry is welcome relief, it doesn’t mean the Airport Restaurant & Retail Association and other organizations won’t ultimately have to go back for further relief later. Airports and operators have worked together well in seeking such relief and may be in a better place now, not just for COVID relief, but to collectively solve some of the challenges currently facing the concessions industry. Connect with Rob>>
27 minutes | 2 months ago
Ep. 116 - Stephen Van Beek, Director & Head of North American Aviation, Steer
“Once we’re sort of back to some sense of normalcy we’re going to see a huge bump in economic activity, and then maybe [with] a little bit of a lag, in travel. That’s exactly what happened 100 years ago when the 1919 pandemic ended.” President Joe Biden faces several aviation-related challenges as he begins his term. They range from finding a way to pay for long-overdue infrastructure improvements in a time when the sources that traditionally fund those projects are significantly down to promoting competition between airlines and ensuring that air service to small communities doesn’t suffer due to economic challenges and pilot shortages. But there are also signs, such as projected GDP growth in the U.S. that could indicate recovery from the doldrums brought on by COVID-19 may be speeding up slightly faster than initially expected. And when the recovery is complete, the U.S. could be looking at an economic recovery resembling that of the Roaring Twenties that followed World War I and the Spanish flu pandemic. Connect with Stephen>>
27 minutes | 4 months ago
Ep. 115 - Justin Meyer & David Long, City of Kansas City Aviation Department
“We thought combining everything into one contract would provide the flexibility the financial markets would look for in order to help finance the project.” – David Long, deputy director of aviation overseeing properties and commercial development. The city of Kansas City is moving forward with plans for the concessions program inside the new terminal at Kansas City International Airport (MCI). An RFP will be on the street in mid-January. Whether it results in a single operator running the entire program or a dozen operators splitting the space, the proposal will result in a single contract that city officials think will be more palatable to financial markets offering support. The city and its consultant, ICF, will host a virtual meeting on January 12 and 13 through the virtual reality platform Virbela, where bidders can learn more. Firms can register at: www.FlyKCI.com/Concessions. Connect with Justin Meyer>> Connect with David Long>>
16 minutes | 5 months ago
Ep. 114 - Sam Whitehorn, Principal & Co-Founder, Elevate Government Affairs
“We’re anticipating money for airports …There have been no details yet, but we are anticipating a robust infrastructure package.” This episode is an update to our pre-election conversation with Sam Whitehorn, episode 112 released on October 29, 2020. The election is, well, likely almost over. Most of the prominent races that featured candidates with a history of supporting transportation funding were won by the incumbent candidate. The election of Joe Biden likely means negotiations with Congress will be at least a bit calmer over the next four years. And, even if the Georgia Senate run-offs in January result in divided government, infrastructure is generally a bipartisan issue, with influential members of both parties in favor of putting money into projects in all phases of transportation, including airports. Connect with Sam>> Learn more about Elevate Government Affairs>>
28 minutes | 5 months ago
Ep. 113 - Lise D’Andrea, President, CEO & Founder, CXE
“If the employee experience is positive, it’s going to drive optimal and exceptional customer experiences.” While there’s still a lot of uncertainty around when airports might start truly recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic that has devastated it since March, there are some positive signs in terms of hiring. A survey of its clients conducted by CXE earlier this year indicated that nearly two-thirds were starting or planning to start bringing back substantial portions of its pre-pandemic work force. Many of those companies also have started spending more time focusing on improving the employee experience, with plans to communicate regularly, train aggressively and regularly recognize and show them appreciation for their work. These strategies, in both the short- and long-term, could help improve the overall travel experience for passengers. Connect with Lise>> Learn more about CXE>>
26 minutes | 6 months ago
Ep. 112 - Sam Whitehorn, Principal & Co-Founder, Elevate Government Affairs
“An infrastructure package … is something that stimulates jobs. It does a lot to get people back working and get the economy moving.” President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden have both promised significant infrastructure bills during their campaigning for president. There aren’t a lot of details as to what their plans would include or how they would be funded. But the need for significant upgrades to roads, bridges and airports across the U.S., coupled with the ability to stimulate the economy and get people back to work, make it likely that either candidate, if elected, would make such investments an early priority.
40 minutes | 7 months ago
Ep. 111 - Roddy Boggus, Vice President and Aviation Buildings Service Group Leader, RS&H
“Millennials and Gen-Zers, so many of these people do so much from their smart device. Data is all part of that, so if we start to share data better, maybe we create a different environment and we change how we do things.” As the industry prepare for eventual recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, several other factors are affecting what the industry might look like in the future. Millennials are becoming more prominent and powerful and they’re less likely than older passengers to spend money on food or retail when they travel. So, as airports look to find ways to convince travelers they are safe, they also must deal with the likelihood of changing passenger habits that could affect the layout and mix of the entire experience.
26 minutes | 8 months ago
Ep. 110 - Christina Cassotis, CEO, Allegheny County Airport Authority, which runs Pittsburgh International Airport
“It might look like there’s not a lot going on here, but we’re almost busier than ever. In some of the areas we had identified as potential areas of growth, we’re moving really quickly on. Real estate development is one and cargo is the other.” Traffic at Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) is running at about 30 percent of 2019 levels. But that doesn’t mean the airport has nothing going on during the industry-wide COVID-19 crisis. The airport delayed the groundbreaking on a $1.1 billion modernization project, but spent time rethinking design aspects of its future terminal that airport officials hope can mitigate the impact of potential future health outbreaks. PIT also has begun development of its Pittsburgh Airport Innovation Campus, which aims to attract participants in the 3D printing industry to the airport, furthered its solar and natural gas developments on the way toward unveiling its self-sustaining microgrid, and diversified its non-aeronautical revenue formula with a foray into the cargo business.
30 minutes | 9 months ago
Ep. 109 - Bill Swelbar, Chief Industry Strategist with Delta Airport Consultants
“Carriers are burning let’s call it $25 million a day. We need to get from a cash negative perspective to a cash neutral to a cash positive, then we can talk about profitability. So, I think we’re really three or four years away.” Initially, Delta Airport Consultants’ research indicated the possibility that by the end of 2019, traffic could be back as high as 40 percent of 2019 levels. The recent second-wave of COVID-19 cases around the U.S., however, and the accompanying announcement by several carriers that they would shrink capacity after Labor Day, indicate a slower recovery, with regional air service likely to experience the greatest suffering. A slow return to flying by businesses and ongoing restrictions on international travel also represent a drag on a potential recovery, meaning it’s likely three or four years or more before traffic even approaches the record year that 2019 was for many airports.
29 minutes | 9 months ago
Ep. 108 - Rian Burger, Senior Principal specializing in Airports for Stantec Architecture
“For the first time I’m hopeful to see a seamless, touchless process in travel. People have been talking about it for a long time. … We should use the crisis to move these things along. The experience can become much more pleasant.” Rian Burger, Senior Principal specializing in Airports for Stantec Architecture While COVID-19 has had a disastrous effect on travel, it’s pushing airports to make many changes that have been talked about for years. Enhanced cleaning processes and touchless transactions are among ways the industry is getting healthier. Airports should consider furthering those enhancements and going a step further by diversifying revenue streams going forward to ensure that pandemics or other disasters don’t have the same kind of impact in the future.
27 minutes | 10 months ago
Ep. 107 - Julie Wienberg, Vice President of Aviation Infrastructure, HNTB Corp.
“I’m not sure there is ever going to be a return to exactly the way things were before. I think there will be a new normal and everyone will get used to it, but there will be a change in the way things are done that will remain permanent.” Julie Wienberg, Vice President of Aviation Infrastructure, HNTB Corp. The COVID-19 health pandemic will eventually be in the past and signage reminding travelers to socially distance and wash hands may go away with it. But this is likely not the last pandemic this country will see. Whether it’s building with materials that are easier to clean, increasing the availability of touchless options for passengers or designing security measures that ensure the health and safety of travelers and those who work at the airport, increased awareness of the implications of health-related incidents will create long-term change in the airport experience.
34 minutes | 10 months ago
Ep. 106 - Nick Baker, CEO and Creative Director, SmartDesign Group
Vancouver-based Smart Design Group has benefited significantly from its work in aviation design. So, as the effects of COVID-19 ravaged travel counts across the world, Nick Baker wanted to give something back. He's offered his company's services for free to members of the Airport Minority Advisory Council in order to help smaller businesses navigate changes necessary to consider reopening. While he's optimistic and hopeful that the effects of COVID will be a memory in the next couple years, he's also got some ideas on how the industry can evolve to win back the confidence of travelers and emerge stronger as travelers return. This episode is the first in Airport Experience New's newly branded, AXiNsider podcast series.
48 minutes | a year ago
Ep. 105 - Ross Koenigs, R&D Brewer, New Belgium Brewery
The Craft of Perpetual Creation and Reinvention. This Hub Session features a conversation with Ross Koenigs, research and design brewer for New Belgium Brewery, in which he discusses reinventing the wheel to stay abreast of trends. Hub Sessions took place at the 2020 Airport Experience Conference in Denver. We share these Hub Session recordings with you here courtesy of Plaza Premium Group, the Hub Session Sponsor.
34 minutes | a year ago
Ep. 104 - Jonathan Song, Director of Global Business Development, Plaza Premium Group
The Next in Line of the Evolving Airport Hotel. This Hub Session features a conversation with Jonathan Song, director of global business development for Plaza Premium Group, in which he discusses the ins and outs of bringing hotels to airports. Hub Sessions took place at the 2020 Airport Experience Conference in Denver. We share these Hub Session recordings with you here courtesy of Plaza Premium Group, the Hub Session Sponsor.
35 minutes | a year ago
Ep. 103 - Christina Apatow, Founder, Fetchy Fox
Artificial Intelligence and the Continued Smartening of Our World. This Hub Session features a conversation with Christina Apatow, founder of Fetchy Fox, in which she discusses the possibilities opened up by embracing artificial intelligence in the airport. Hub Sessions took place at the 2020 Airport Experience Conference in Denver. We share these Hub Session recordings with you here courtesy of Plaza Premium Group, the Hub Session Sponsor.
28 minutes | a year ago
Ep. 102 - Bethanie Nonami, CEO, Marley Nonami
The Value of Incremental Change Yielding Substantive Results. This Hub Session features a conversation with Bethanie Nonami, CEO of Marley Nonami, in which she uses data and metrics to tout the advantages of using small changes to make a big impact on customer experience. Hub Sessions took place at the 2020 Airport Experience Conference in Denver. We share these Hub Session recordings with you here courtesy of Plaza Premium Group, the Hub Session Sponsor.
47 minutes | a year ago
Ep. 101 - Dr. Keith Aqua, Chief Medical Officer, Mile Hight Labs
The Miseducation of CBD. This Hub Session features a conversation with Dr. Keith Aqua, chief medical officer for Mile Hight Labs, in which he explains the facts and the myths about CBD. Hub Sessions took place at the 2020 Airport Experience Conference in Denver. We share these Hub Session recordings with you here courtesy of Plaza Premium Group, the Hub Session Sponsor.
32 minutes | a year ago
Ep. 100 - Jason Paltzer, Concessions Operations Manager, Indianapolis International Airport
When he first transitioned into airports Jason Paltzer was just looking for a fresh start, but he wasn’t prepared for the dynamic and ever-changing world of airport concessions to be so enthralling. In this episode, Paltzer discusses how he finds the hustle and bustle of the industry invigorating and how stepping up to meet challenges has helped enrich his career. This is the latest in our series Ones to Watch. This episode was recorded in the AXN Podcast booth sponsored by Tastes on the Fly at the 2020 Airport Experience Conference in Denver.
24 minutes | a year ago
Ep. 99 - Eric Friedman, Principal Services Agent – Concessions, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport
Eric Friedman’s interest in aviation began at an early age. When he discovered life as an air traffic controller wasn’t everything he’d dreamed, he transitioned into an operations role at MSY, where he’s currently part of the concessions team. In the wake of the opening of the airport’s newest terminal and instituting a post-security pass system for non-ticketed guests to dine and shop in the airport, Friedman finds joy in providing a memorable and warm experience for all MSY guests, travelers and otherwise. This is the latest in our series Ones To Watch. This episode was recorded in the AXN Podcast booth sponsored by Tastes on the Fly at the 2020 Airport Experience Conference in Denver.
32 minutes | a year ago
Ep. 98 - Meredith Genochio, Chief Operating Officer, Tastes on the Fly
“Dragged kicking and screaming” into the airport concessions industry, Meredith Genochio, chief operating officer of Tastes on the Fly, recounts her reluctant transition more than a decade ago from the traditional dining sector to airport concessions, and how she quickly gained a passion for her company’s mission. This episode was recorded at the 2020 Airport Experience Conference in the first week of March in Denver, CO.
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