Vol. 10 No. 87                                                                                                                           Tuesday September 6, 2011


Air Cargo 911-91111
Don Basso

     I was just leaving work at Northrop Grumman in Bethpage, Long Island and heading into Queens. I heard over the radio that a plane crashed into the first Tower and was able to see the smoke from the highway. I kept driving toward Manhattan, stopping at the Brooklyn Bridge, and saw the rest of what happened. I attempted to get into Manhattan and was unable. I just stood there with thousands of other people and silently watched from the Brooklyn Bridge.
     I had a lot of close friends and extended family that worked in all of the buildings, from Architects to Admin, and almost everyone in my National Guard unit was either in the FDNY or NYPD. I had a job interview the day before with Deutsche Bank in Building 4 and my mother was also working as a Special Agent with the FBI a few blocks away and I couldn’t get in touch with her. Phones, radio and television were all having issues.
      My father was in the hospital. I was shocked and rushed into Manhattan to see if there was anything I could do. Traffic was not moving as I approached the bridge to go downtown; people were walking over the bridge and blocking traffic, pandemonium on a grand scale. That’s when the first Tower fell; my heart sunk and none of it seemed real. It seemed as if all of Manhattan was trying to leave. I was worried about my Mom and my friends, worried for all of the people that were there. I thought about my newborn sister and what kind of world she was going to grow up in. I guess to put it simply a lifetime passed in my mind, but most of all disbelief.
      My National Guard Unit got organized and we headed down the next day to assist with rescue & recovery operations at Ground Zero. The whole time we were all thinking how and why did this happen? Everyone wanted answers, but we knew we had a hugely important job to do.
     From a human perspective, everyone in the business is more aware and alert. We all act as a force multiplier for those that protect us if we follow the rules and speak up when we see something that doesn’t add up. You can also see from the present day by the myriad of acronyms all the changes that have taken place since 9/11: CCSP, IAC, C-TPAT, CSI, CFI, 10+2, ATS, ACAS, FAST, etc. and all of those are only from TSA and CBP. I would like to add that the Yemen incident is going to have a big impact on air cargo. I am still waiting to see what becomes of that; I don’t think what has been issued so far is the end of it.
     Mercury is in a unique position in that we are essentially regulated under almost every aviation security program that TSA issues. We fall under most of them because of the people we provide service to; Freighters & Passenger Airlines both foreign and domestic, IAC’s, Shippers, Part 135 Operations, etc.
     So we know cargo security, especially since we also have the first Independent Cargo Screening Facility to be certified by TSA. Three members of the AVG Flying Tigers founded Mercury; because of that, we put a special value on the freedom we have, for ourselves and for others, and also our name and reputation. When I say that we go above and beyond what people ask of us, to include the TSA, I am not speaking lightly. I left the TSA and joined an organization that is highly professional and diligent, especially when it comes to security.
     Air cargo is the heart of real-time world trade. Industry needs to work together globally and ensure that the air cargo supply chain has an effective, smart, threat-based security solution. The complete system needs to be looked at when making any changes, engaging a holistic approach if you will. Industry needs to ensure that their government is doing that and communicating with other governments. It is amazing the power that organized people wield. That and follow the rules, be diligent. Remember the purpose of what it is we do. We cannot afford for our supply chain to be disrupted for even a moment. Aircraft connect us all together; we have to ensure that we do the right thing. It really is bigger than just a business. It is a necessity in our world as we grow bigger and the distances shrink between trade and us.
     Air cargo security is 1000% better now than it was 10 years ago. Security is a part of all of our lives, in almost everything we do. I think we have a few areas that we need to continue to focus on improving international mail movement, all-cargo operations and the unique commodities that exist. Multiple security layers will do that, and not stifle trade and the freedom of movement.
     Everything should be threat and risked based; a shipment from Pfizer should be treated differently than a shipment from an unknown shipper. I am not worried about freight originating from an Apple warehouse in Cupertino, I am worried about all the other things that we all know about being directly involved in this business, things we talk about with each other—those should be addressed. Immediately.
     TSA spends its time responding and putting out fires. That’s the fundamental difference between being in enforcement and now being in business. At Mercury, if I have an idea that makes sense, and it is sound fiscally, then I have the full support of my leadership. I have the freedom to affect change immediately—forecast the future and plan accordingly. Unlike my work in government, which was dictated by the crisis or threat of the day, I can now hedge and put my money where I think the opportunity for my business is coming, not so much with Government.
     Air Cargo coming in to the U.S. is a hot topic right now and that is where we are seeing the most inquiries from outside of the U.S. Domestically, we are working on process improvements for air carriers and their air cargo operations. We have been leaning out operations, saving on the bottom line in this economy, with smarter workflows in warehouses and cargo screening/handling. Also, taking a look at improving acceptance and recovery processes at warehouses. Removing double handling and optimizing workflows saves money that can be spent in other areas.
     We need to ensure that everyone has a voice at the table, and not just depend on them to come forward. We need to enhance the Security Threat Assessment to make it a formidable background check, create a standardized training program that is good—allow businesses to get certified similar to what IATA does, create a certified shipper program that is robust enough where shippers don’t have to follow all of the requirements of the CCSP, lean passenger screening operations that are aged and divert funds to enhanced technologies, subsidies for equipment and training—especially for small business. I think there is a lot that I wish for, but you have to go with the Army you have, not the one you want.

Jack Lampinski-Air Cargo 911

Fabricator prepares the bronze plates that will be part of the WTC Memorial Pools. The names of the nearly 3,000 individuals killed in the September 11 attacks in New York City, Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon, and in the February 1993 World Trade Center bombing will be inscribed in the bronze parapets surrounding the two one-acre sized pools – the former footprints of the World Trade Center's Twin Towers. The 9/11 Memorial Museum is slated to open in September 2012.

     On the morning of September 11, 2001, I was in our JFK office (Building 151 at that time) preparing for a meeting with our U.S. based managers. Some had flown in the night before and some were flying that morning. Subsequently, they all had a story to tell.
     My wife was at home in Rhode Island watching the news. Shortly before 9am, she phoned to tell me that a plane had hit one of the World Trade Center towers. I went to our main sales office, looked out the window, and in the distance could see what appeared to be smoke coming from the north tower. My first thought was that it was probably a small private plane that ran into trouble.
      A few minutes later my wife phoned back again, this time nearly hysterical. She told me that she saw another plane hit the south tower on live television and that it looked like a large commercial jet. My initial reaction was disbelief and I questioned what, in fact, she had really viewed. Then reality set in. It was unthinkable! I quickly had a very sick feeling in my stomach.
     That day I was carpooling with a friend living in Fairfield, Connecticut. We left JFK early in the afternoon but found that both the Whitestone and Throgs Neck bridges were closed. After spending several hours in a restaurant in nearby Queens we were finally able to cross the Whitestone. From the top of the bridge we could see the smoke that was still billowing from lower Manhattan. It was chilling and very sobering. I still think about that day every time I cross the Whitestone.
     In the aftermath, our business has forever changed. Air cargo security continues to become increasingly sophisticated, increasingly complex and increasingly expensive. The investments are enormous and the approved technology is oftentimes short-lived. There is a critical need for lawmakers to better listen to industry experts and for governments to reach some common ground on acceptable security processes and procedures.      A more universal approach will further strengthen worldwide air cargo security while minimizing the escalation of associated costs.

Michael Steen-Air Cargo 911
     I woke up at the SFO Marriott for an early conference call, turned on CNN and observed the tragedy unfold. I then had to make my way back to my home in Chicago and ended up driving cross-country from the west coast, normally a beautiful drive that you want to enjoy with the family while on vacation. Certainly a drive you spend alone and spending all the time on a mobile phone whilst dealing with this challenging situation.
     It was absolutely shocking and an act of terrorism that was hard to comprehend, particularly as it was directed against civilians! Being the VP of KLM Cargo the Americas at the time, it meant that we had to go into immediate crisis mode in order to plan for the unexpected.
     9/11 changed the entire aviation industry for good, in regard to both cargo and passenger services. New security procedures have been put in place and all stakeholders in the Air cargo supply chain have had to adjust their processes, invest in hardware, technology and training as well as manpower. All of this is clearly a necessity based on a malicious act by terrorists.
     I think that the industry has come a long way in regard to developing security standards, however, we still have some way to go in order to align security processes worldwide and to ensure that they are based on a multi-layered, threat-based approach.
     The collaborative actions that the industry is currently taking, facilitated by GACAG and its members, together with various government and non-government organizations, is critical in order to align security procedures globally.
     Our industry is truly global and in order to facilitate global commerce at the same time as we are improving Air cargo security, we need to agree on security standards as per the ICAO recommendations, which will result in clear and concise guidelines with which industry stakeholders can work and comply. This will undoubtedly result in better control, improved transparency and overall efficiency.

John Cheetham-Air Cargo 911

John Cheetham
Regional Commercial Manager Asia Pacific
British Airways World Cargo

     11th September 2001 was one of those watershed days that everyone will remember. I was working at our head office in London as part of a small team managing the operation of our freighter aircraft.
     It was afternoon in London by the time events were unfolding across the pond. The first I heard was a rumor from someone on my floor that 'a couple of aircraft hit the twin towers.' I immediately thought that they must be some sort of small stunt aircraft involved in a show. It didn't even cross my mind that this might be a terrorist act.
     The internet was down on my computer and it was only when someone managed to find a television and put the news on that we started to realize the full extent of what was happening. With about 20 of us crowded around a small monitor there was absolute silence as we watched the repeated image of the aircraft hitting the towers. It was an extremely emotional time for everyone in the business and our thoughts went out to our colleagues and friends who were living out the nightmare in New York.
     From a work perspective, we were not allowed to send any aircraft over to the US. I remember seeing pictures of Halifax airport, which had been used to divert aircraft unable to turn back. Every conceivable space on the airfield seemed to have been taken up by parked aircraft. The next two weeks of my life were spent making up day to day schedules for the freighters to try and move as much freight as possible, whilst the passenger fleet was trying to get back to normality.
     As time moved on, it was clear that the world was never going to be the same again. Airport security has become more intrusive. We now think nothing of removing shoes, belts, coins and keys at the same time as trying to take out a laptop, polythene wash bag and a mobile phone, and still end up being frisked.
     Sadly, now when I hear of a disaster or explosion in the world, my thoughts immediately jump to terrorism – this was never the case before 9/11.
     From a cargo perspective, British Airways got onto the front foot in terms of a strict security regime. Cargo screening and audits of our security procedures are comprehensive, as they should be. As a frequent traveller, this gives me confidence when I set foot on a British Airways aircraft.
     I personally believe that there needs to be more consistency between regulations from country to country. It doesn't seem logical to me that two aircraft on the same route would have different regulations solely because of where they are registered.
     Recent events with the printer cartridges clearly show that we can never be complacent when it comes to security. Our processes and policies need to evolve with the technology that becomes available, but a coordinated approach from the regulatory authorities would certainly be beneficial to the industry and our customers.

Nalin Rodrigo-Air Cargo 911

     On 9/11, I was in Colombo, Sri Lanka. To be honest, I could not believe what I was seeing – I thought I was watching a movie.
     Coming from SL, we had high security vigilance, being the victims of terrorist attacks (twice), so changes were minimal, but I believe the vigilance has increased more in the passenger side of the business.
     Today, air cargo security is at an acceptable level. However, I notice that there is more active intelligence/monitoring post 9/11 in general, and I think the Air Cargo industry will benefit.
     The only thing we as an industry can do to improve security worldwide is to be prepared and have more vigilant intelligence gathering.


     As Spruce Meadows Racetrack in Calgary, Canada debuts its “Masters CSIO Jumping Horse Tournament September 7-11, Lufthansa Cargo Charter Agency comes up big moving 62 horses from Europe to the event.
    The movement complete with eight grooms to provide room service and other basic animal needs goes Calgary-Frankfurt September 13 when the horses make another big jump—grooms and all—flying back to Frankfurt.
    “Lufthansa Cargo Charter has long years of experience with the transport of horses and other animals, but organizing the charter flight to Spruce Meadows and the trust put in us makes us proud,” Alexander Schmidt, Senior Sales Manager of Lufthansa Cargo Charter said.

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RE: JFK Masterpiece To Be Torn Down

To Mr. Geoffrey Arend,
     I share your concern about T6 at JFK and I would like doing anything in my power to join forces for the same cause.
     I am a JetBlue employee.
     This is a copy of a letter that I sent to Dave Barger, CEO of JetBlue:

Good Morning Dave,
     I am crewmember Alan Fried, a GSE Tech from JFK Airport, Building 74. I had the pleasure of meeting you early one hot summer morning last year on the ramp at T5.
     You came over and introduced yourself to me while I was working on a Lav Truck.
     You had some kind words of appreciation in acknowledgment of the nature of the "Beast" we were working on, under pressure, to get the job done fast in the heat and smell of an early morning odyssey, in order to put it back in service.
     My partner and I appreciated that and you seemed to be a sincere and "regular, caring guy;" you left me with a great impression that you were an easy guy to speak to from the heart.
     Sir, I write to you today with regards to Terminal 6 at JFK where JetBlue got its start as an airline.
     As I work the ramp regularly, I can see the destruction of T6 from ramp side.
     As the work progresses forward I am very disturbed that a great miscarriage of judgment and decision is about to take place, reminiscent of tearing down the original Penn Station in New York City.
     People still look back with remorse about the loss of that building.
     Just as Penn Station introduced a new era of transportation in its time, T6 Introduced New York and the world to JetBlue, and the JetBlue experience was born there.
     T6 is an incredible, award-winning all glass structure designed by famed architect I.M. Pei; it has endured both Hurricane Gloria (1985) and now Hurricane Irene 2011, but it still awaits the fate and doom of the wreckers boom.
     As a proud crewmember of our great and forward thinking organization, I find it unconscionable in every way possible that we can allow this to happen.
     With all the things that we do right in so many ways, which have created such a growth in our organization, we can use this historic Crystal Gem of ours (The Sundrome) to our advantage.
     It could serve as a JetBlue Reception Centre, JetBlue Convention Centre, Currency Exchange Centre, Mini Postal Electronic Kiosk Center, Entertainment Centre, JetBlue Mini shops, Another Coffee and Wi-Fi Centre, and International arrivals.
     How about this –
     As we are growing in leaps and bounds into the future, imagine JetBlue Helicopters throughout the tri-state area!
     We are JetBlue!
     Our possibilities are so endless!
     The Sundrome is etched in the minds of so many as a positive beginning for a great new airline, that grew out of the same place as such earlier aviation history heavy hitters like TWA, Pan Am, and National Airlines.
     I know sir, in my heart of hearts, that T6 deserves another chance to continue to be a part of our JetBlue.
     And I know that so many will agree with me on this.
     Please take a look at this:
     And This:
http://www.cityrealty.com/new-york-city-real-estate/carters-view/port-authority-plans-demolish-jfk-terminal-6-designed-i-m-pei/32202 http://www.nyc-architecture.com/ARCH/ARCH-PeiCobbFried.htm
     Dave, I might add that I think it would be bad press for JetBlue to allow this to go down this way and great press if we preserved our gem, our history, and did something popular and creative for ourselves, our name and our flying and growing clientele who trust in our good judgment.
     As we did with Eero Saarinen's landmark TWA "Flight Center," which was the right thing to do and great press as well.
     We have only to gain, and nothing to lose.
     I am quite certain that a good number of our more seasoned and experienced crewmembers here at JFK would agree.
     I thank you from my heart for taking the time to read and consider all this information, and I pray that I may recruit your good judgment, and the powers that be as well, to reconsider this decision.

Sincerely yours,
CM Alan Fried

Dear Alan Fried,

     Your beautiful and heartfelt letter along with our original article about Terminal 6 JFK will be passed along to New York Daily News (the only big city paper that tried to help save Terminal 6 at JFK International) at once.
     The historical significance of T6 is without question and even without JetBlue it should be preserved and not allowed destruction by those thugs at Port Authority.
     The Port Authority never seems to remember that it only rents the airport and its buildings from New York City.
     PANY/NJ rips and tears and does what it wants with historic legacy property all in the name of progress, and to this point it ended up with JFK being generally viewed as among the worst airports in the world in terms of every possible passenger and cargo metric, with Newark and LaGuardia not far behind at the bottom of almost everyone’s ratings chart.
     I was able to save the Marine Air Terminal at LGA in 1980, but I guess that was another time.
     The airport manager then was Tim Peirce (left) and the Aviation Director at PANY/NJ was Bob Aaronson (right).
     Tim and Bob were renaissance men with a sense of the beauty, history and usefulness – they saw more than just an old dilapidated building at an overused airport.
     Today, MAT LGA is a national historic site unique in the world and there for ever more to be enjoyed by future generations.
     I think IM Pei (he is near 90) and his company, associates and fans in the big money arts circles had plenty of notice of Terminal 6's fate after we went global with the story over a year ago at JFK, but unfortunately they too just did not seem to care enough to help.
     I doubt that Dave Barger can or would do much either than extend some good wishes.
     Maybe he will send you a letter.
     Alan, although all the above sounds grim, please do not ever give up.
     Preservation is a miracle if you win, because you usually lose.
     Your reference to Penn Station is significant.
     Today they are spending 200 million to re-adapt the old USPS at Eighth Ave and 33 St in Manhattan into a “New Penn Station” because of its historically preserved façade – it’s ironic that it lies directly across the street from the now destroyed original Penn Station.
     You see, when McKim, Meade, and White designed the original Penn Station in 1910, the architects also designed the USPS Building across the street there as well.
     The loss of the original pink marble of Penn Station in 1963 still haunts the powers in New York, thus the idea bring Penn Station back was started and sponsored (to his credit) by late Senator Patrick Moynihan.
     The belief is that anything will be better than the current Penn Station...
     The point is, all of this takes time and money and lots of luck.
     That no real power is standing up for T6 at JFK to get it saved is no reason for any of us to give up hope – this and the next historic bit of our heritage is worth recalling and revealing for others to understand and maybe even appreciate.
     I am proud and honored to know you, Alan.
     Hope we can meet sometime… anywhere but the Lav Truck.

Good wishes,

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