Logan Airport Safety Fair: 2011 Review

Boston, MA September 22, 2011 – AirVentions Inc. (AVI) team members attended this year’s Logan Airport Safety Fair which was held September 14, 2011 in Boston (MA) .  Fair attendees ranged from those working airside or landside with tools, ground support equipment (GSE), baggage or other equipment to operation managers and other safety specialists. The Safety Fair was sponsored by the Airport Safety Alliance Committee, Jet Blue and hosted by American Eagle.

AirVentions CEO, Spencer Irvine stated, “Our participation at this event was important because it was attended by many ramp agents, supervisors, and a few management level employees. Most of these are the workers on the ground and the value to us was getting their testimonials and real world feedback. Additionally, we wanted to expose them to our AVI collision avoidance system for ground support vehicles. Their responses buoyed us and clearly shows we are moving in the right direction as we bring our AVI collision avoidance system to the market.”

Current GSE Situations/Practices
It was clear from the attendees’ comments that airport ground support safety remains challenging especially with 1) the rapid response times required, 2) problems posed by unfavorable weather conditions, 3) outdated equipment and 4) inadequate training and procedures.

To paraphrase some of the testimonials:

Weather is a major factor for when we have incidents. From where you’re sitting the end is about 3 feet away, When it is extended it’s a good 8 feet. Now you have to maneuver this big bulky vehicle and position something 8 feet away by eye. Now add in nighttime, heavy rain, snow, loud noises….stuff happens.

A belt was raised up and dented the bottom of the plane; Total cost was a couple hundred thousand. We have maintenance trucks that are only a few months old and the paint on them is already scratched. Maintenance hits aircraft a lot.

Planes are always getting hit, we usually don’t report it. We give a quick look to make sure there are no serious dents or scrapes and keep moving.

[Our airline] always changes its procedure to try to account for damages. An accident will happen, and then they’re like well that didn’t work, so the procedure gets changed again.

Many of the jet bridges are old, maybe even from the 60’s. They cause a lot of damage. Belt loaders do too.  A jet bridge hit a plane and it was out for a week. It cost the Airline about $10 million.

Reaction to AVI Collision Avoidance Concept
Overall, the response to AirVentions Product Concept was very favorable. The fair attendees welcomed the novel approach and seemed comfortable with its ease of use. Importantly, they would be even more receptive if the following were affirmed/considered: 1) the system was sturdy and survivable given the environment it would function, 2) it would not slow them down especially given the tight schedules they currently function under, 3) further modification of system to address more loading situations and vehicles and 4) robust testing of the various alerts given the harsh ramp environment.

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