Posts Tagged ‘ACC’

HMMH Fall Tour 2015: On the Road Again

Friday, November 13th, 2015

by Mary Ellen Eagan

I’ve been on the road this fall at conferences – a whole lot of air miles, too many hotels, chicken lunches, and name tags (someday these will be designed for wearing on something other than a suit jacket lapel), but lots of great discussions, more than a few cocktails with good friends, and many laughs along the way. Some common themes emerged; here’s a recap of my highlights/takeaways:


Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) Global Sustainability Aviation Summit (Geneva)

At ATAG, ACI and Canso jointly released a document entitled Managing the Impacts of Aviation Noise, which provides a concise summary of airport noise issues, strategies for mitigation, and an extensive series of case studies. On community engagement, the report recommends following guidance issued in Eurocontrol’s Collaborative Environmental Management (CEM). One key difference between the European approach and ours is that the airport is at the center of the discussion. I am pleased to have contributed to the document.



ACI World Environment Standing Committee (Geneva)

Australia has seen good success in improving relations by having a very engaged and completely independent Aircraft Noise Ombudsman, who serves as a neutral party facilitating discussion of noise abatement alternatives, and educating the public using language that is not jargon. The Australians also provide guidance to airports (and others) on how to properly address complaints. And Canada recently released an Airspace Change Communications and Consultation Protocol for engaging communities and other stakeholders in discussion of proposed airspace changes. It, too, puts airports at the center of the discussion.



ACI-NA Annual Conference and Environmental Affairs Seminar (Long Beach)

My presentation at ACI focused on the concept of social license to operate (SLO), which originated in the mining industry. The premise of SLO is straightforward: owners of businesses and other enterprises that generate negative externalities must secure permission from stakeholders in order to grow – sometimes even to operate. And that permission is earned (not simply granted), by engaging stakeholders in a relationship that evolves from acceptance to trust. As shown in the illustration below from Social License institute, deteriorating levels of trust can lead to active political engagement and protest, as we’ve recently seen with the No Fly movement.


EFCG CEO Conference (New York)

This annual gathering of almost 300 CEO’s of firms in the A&E industry provides great perspective on the state of the industry, trends in financial results and other industry benchmarks, and an opportunity for firm leaders to share experiences on all kinds of issues facing our industry, including talent shortages, ownership transition models, and implications of new business models, technologies, and regulations. My favorite moment of the conference was my realization – during a fancy dinner at the Harvard Club – that the nine other CEO’s I was dining with were more interested in talking about their pets than their businesses. CEOs are people, too.



AAAE Basics of Airport Law Conference (Washington)

John Putnam (KKR) and I provided a session on emerging noise issues. Much of that discussion focused on PBN issues, the challenges posed by NEPA requirements in evaluating PBN procedures (not only at individual airports, but on a metroplex scale), and implications of FAA Reauthorization on airport noise issues.



ACC Annual Conference (Newport Beach)

There was much discussion at the Annual Meeting on the need to engage politically in conversations about airport development. ACC President TJ Schultz’s knowledge and insight into FAA funding and other political realities provides ACC member firms (especially small ones like HMMH) with context for making strategic decisions. I am honored to have been elected incoming Secretary/Treasurer for 2016, and look forward to serving on the ACC Executive Board with Don Bergin and Roddy Boggus.



ACI-NA Marketing and Communications Conference (Nashville)

ACI-NA’s Marketing and Communications conference held a session on airport noise. This is very exciting to me because the longer I’m in this business, the more I’m convinced that a good deal of airport noise issues can be addressed by better communication. I’ve come to this for several reasons: (1) first, we know that only about 30% of people’s annoyance to aircraft noise can be attributed to the noise level – that leaves a lot of opportunity for using “non-acoustic” measures to address noise issues; (2) after 30+ years in this industry, I am positive that people don’t suddenly start complaining about aircraft noise unless there has been some change in their environment or their life: a new runway, a new procedure, a new home, a new job (and increasingly, retirement). Working with stakeholders to understand the reasons for those changes often goes a long way toward resolving annoyance – sometimes it can be addressed, but even when it can’t, folks generally are satisfied that they have been listened to and validated.

Bottom line: sometimes the best consulting one can offer is to listen.


Looking forward to a brief respite (though I’m presenting remotely to the Aircraft Noise Non-Acoustic Group (ANNA) in The UK on Thanksgiving – hopefully not messing up the turkey too badly in the process). Then back on the road again in December to wrap up the year at ACC/BAG Global Business Summit (London) and ACI/ACC Planning and NEPA Workshop (Washington).



Congress Set to Pass Huge FY 2014 Omnibus Appropriations Bill

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Many thanks to TJ Schultz (new President of ACC) for eloquently (and quickly!) summarizing the FY14 Appropriations Bill that Congress will (we hope) shortly pass.  Could it be that we can have a reasonably normal year funding-wise?  Know hope.

ACC logo

The U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate are preparing to consider a huge 1,500+ page omnibus appropriations bill that provides funding for all federal agencies in FY 2014, including the FAA and TSA. The omnibus bill is a result of the budget agreement reached by the House and Senate in December, which set overall funding levels for each federal department in 2014 and 2015. The budget agreement removed the automatic sequester cuts, so federal programs will likely not be subject to rescissions this fiscal year or next.

With the current short-term continuing resolution (CR) expiring today, Congress will likely pass an extension bill for a few days to allow each chamber time to consider and pass the omnibus legislation.

Below are the highlights:

Federal Aviation Administration

Final FY 2014 Appropriations Funding Levels (in billions)

FY 2013 Enacted (post sequester)


FY 2014 Admin. Budget Request

FY 2014 House

FY 2014 Senate

FY 2014


FAA Total































  • Funds AIP at its authorized level of $3.35 billion in 2014. With the omnibus likely to pass by next week, the FAA should have more time to work with airport sponsors to distribute AIP funding over the remaining portion of the fiscal year, compared to last year when the FY 2013 appropriations and sequester became final in March.
  • The Operations account is funded at $9.65 billion, which is $255 million above the FY 2013 post-sequestration amount. A total of $140 million is set aside for the contract tower program.
  • Appropriators kept the FAA Facilities & Equipment account at the same post-sequestration FY 2013 funding level, which is $178 million less than the president’s budget request.
  • ACRP is funded at its authorized level of $15 million.
  • $149 million is appropriated for the Essential Air Service program. There is a provision prohibiting DOT from renewing an EAS contract with a community less than 40 miles from a hub airport unless a negotiated cost share with the community has been arranged.

Thank you, Paula!

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

by Mary Ellen Eagan

Paula Hochsteler, ACC President

Paula Hochsteler, ACC President








I’m just back from the Airport Consultants Council Annual Conference in Tucson, Arizona, where there was an extended appreciation for Paula Hochstetler’s service to ACC and the industry.  I thought I’d add my voice to the chorus of thanks for everything Paula has done to make ACC really be the expert voice of airports.  Paula has been insightful, generous with her time, and a real model of successful implementation of a long range vision.

I also would like to congratulate TJ Schulz on his appointment as ACC’s new President.  I look forward to working with TJ, and watching ACC continue to flourish under his leadership.

Congratulations to you both!

Are we having fun yet?

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

by Mary Ellen Eagan

It was with some surprise that I heard TJ Schulz, incoming President of the Airport Consultants Council (ACC) quote me saying we don’t have fun anymore.   But apparently I did, in an article that has just been published in Airport Consulting.  The point I was trying to make is that one of the things that has changed most over the course of my career is the sense that folks are so busy being efficient, productive, and yes – billable – that we don’t take enough time to appreciate our colleagues.   There is apparently a great body of research to support the fact that ‘fun at work’ is important to success.


Airport Consulting, Summer 2013

Airport Consulting, Summer 2013

This issue also has a good discussion of generational issues in the workplace, and I’m interested that there are even general differences in thinking about what’s ‘fun’ at work.  So maybe this summer – when things might be just a little bit less frantic – we should try to relax.  Just a bit.  It’s good for us.

Two Articles in ACC Publication

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

by Diana Khera

“The implementation of new Performance-Based Navigation (PBN) routes and procedures will lead to enhancements in the use of airspace, resulting in increased safety, efficiency and environmental benefits. The latest version of FAA’s NextGen Implementation Plan will provide additional detail and clarity on these near-term applications. But what about longer-term NextGen initiatives and what will they mean for airport facilities?”

The latest ACC ConsultingMagazine, a quarterly publication, has an article by me on airport-related far–term NextGen initiatives (excerpted above).  There is also a ‘real-life application’ story by Bob Miller that follows the article.  The magazine and articles are posted online here.