Although aviation builders and owners are operating under a "new normal" where security and screening challenges are an overwhelming reality, it still all comes down to infrastructure, a Port Authority of New York and New Jersey official told civil engineers April 24. Bill DeCota, the port authority's director of aviation, told some 100 American Society of Civil Engineers members that capacity issues at airports will return because air travel passenger numbers will reach normal levels eventually. But he and other speakers noted that the challenge of installing thousands of screening devices at airports nationwideand of choosing among a burgeoning array of new technologies offering theoretically faster, smaller or more reliable devicesis compounded by the uncertainties surrounding the Transportation Security Administration. "The TSA says repeatedly, 'I don't know,' 'I'll find out,' and 'I'll tell you when I find out,'" noted Al Graser, general manager of John F. Kennedy Airport for the port authority. A TSA spokesperson did not return a call for comment Thursday. Another speaker, David J. Nielson, chief engineer for airport strategy for Boeing, predicted that a new generation of aircraft will be introducted within the decadeincluding planes weighing 1,000 lb more than present. Boeing is working with several U.S. airports to determine the effect the heavier aircraft might have on runways, said Nielson.
Infrastructure Still A Priority At U.S. Airports, Official Says
April 26, 2002