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4 Overview Airports of all sizes are responsible for ensuring a safe and secure airport environment for the benefit of users, passengers, tenants, and employees. Maintaining a safe and secure landside and airside environment produces great benefits. In addition to minimizing aircraft, vehicle, and individual accidents and incidents, a safe and secure airport benefits all stakeholders, including airlines, aircraft owners and operators, air traffic controllers, employees, airport staff, and the community. A safe and secure airport contributes to satisfied and motivated employees, satisfied tenants, and greater community goodwill. Although all airport employees contribute, often these objectives of safety and security are accomplished by personnel in numerous airport sponsor departments (including police, aircraft rescue and firefighting, maintenance, and operations). Each employee in these departments must be trained according to FAA regulations, FAA Advisory Circulars, airport rules and regula- tions, airport training manuals, and industry best practices. Possibly the most important train- ing to accomplish, certainly for airports certificated under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 139 (CFR Part 139), is operations-related training. This synthesis focuses on airport operations employees and aims to better understand current training methods and programs in use by small airports in the United States (including non- hub, nonprimary commercial service, reliever, and general aviation) to initially and recurrently train airport operations employees. With an ever-evolving airport landscapeâincluding new or revised regulations and advisory circulars; an increase or decrease in based tenants, number of operations, and number of enplanements; and changing airline fleets and schedulesâtraining is the best method to prepare new employees and maintain proficiency in current employees for the dynamic airport industry. As stated by Szymanski (1992, p. 34): The preeminence of the airport operations job classification has prompted increased training aware- ness in the airport industry. The airports, aviation and academic communities are in a strategic direction for developing airport operations training curriculums [sic] which can be standard for delivery in acad- emy, classroom, and institute settings. This report addresses that opportunity. Quilty (2003, p. 9) notes that, if airport management is not prepared to consider changes in the work environment to support training, or fails to provide a commitment to training and education due to budget constraints or other factors, then management cannot expect to meet world-class standards or goals of the organization. The report also addresses this disconnect, and the perils of training neglect. Airport directors, operations department directors, airport human resource departments, and airport trainers will benefit from the findings presented here. C H A P T E R 1 Introduction
Introduction 5 It should be noted that, because of a lack of recent research in this field, specifically related to airport operations, some sources may appear a bit dated. This lack of recent literature not only supports the timeliness of this synthesis but also encourages other researchers in the field to examine the airport operations position and the training and retention of airport operations personnel. Differences Between Training and Education Training and education are often considered similar endeavors. Although they do share some similarities (such as the development of a highly qualified employee), they are two dis- tinct endeavors (Figure 1). On the one hand, training âis a response to a need and should stem from gaps in knowledge or performanceâ (Quilty, 2003, p. 4). Commonly, knowledge or performance gaps are identified in newly hired employees, who thus require training to prepare them to properly carry out their responsibilities. To bring employees up to proficiency in the most expedient fashion, airports generally recognize training âas a short-term focused response to organizational and individual job task needsâ (Quilty, 2003, p. 4). Initial training is typically considered complete once the employee possesses the knowledge, skills, and abilities to successfully perform assigned tasks. Education, on the other hand, âprovides a broader, more generalized acquisition of knowl- edge and development that prepares an individual for a future job or positionâ (Quilty, 2003, p. 5). Often more holistically focused than training, âeducation also enhances the ability of an individual to understand and appreciate the larger perspective of how things work in their organization and in the worldâ (Quilty, 2003, p. 5). Obtained through the Kâ12 school system, and post-Kâ12 education via trade schools, community colleges, and universities, âit is edu- cational development that allows a person to understand how they fit into the broader context and meaning of airport operations and it promotes overall intelligence about how things and people work and functionâ (Quilty, 2003, p. 5). Airports are challenged to determine if both training and education are needed, or if train- ing alone will suffice. Quilty (2003, p. 5) suggests that, âfor customer service-oriented airports, both education and training are necessaryâ and that âeducation and training help to provide the means by which airport personnel can optimize operations.â Studies have shown that higher rates of education and training among employees lead to greater motivation and satisfaction among those employees, a more stable workforce, and an increased ability of employees to cope with demands and pressures of the workplace (Quilty, 2003). Education is generally obtained through formal channels (such as higher education), but airports that provide tuition reim- bursement and other support for such education have been able to combine training and edu- cation for their employees, realizing the benefits of both. Education Training Highly Qualified Employee Figure 1. Education and training.
6 Airport Operations Training at Small Airports Although training and education of airport operations employees offer benefits for airports of all sizes, in an effort to bring clarity to this synthesis and focus on specific efforts by airports to develop personnel, this synthesis focuses on the training of airport operations employees. With that focus in mind, airports develop more well-rounded employees who are able to be considered in succession planning efforts when education is also part of training. Definition of Airport Operations Although airports are often staffed with personnel from different specialties, the importance of airport operations personnel has been widely noted. For airports certificated by Part 139, operations personnel generally have responsibility for ensuring compliance with Part 139 by carrying out the duties outlined in the Airport Certification Manual. The importance of this role cannot be overstated. At one extreme, if the FAA revokes an Airport Operating Certificate issued under Part 139, the airport can no longer accommodate air carriers, resulting in poten- tially catastrophic economic effects for the airport and surrounding community. Thus, airport operations is an integral department of an airport. Cronin et al. (2016, p. 35) state: Employees in Airport Operations occupations work closely with airlines to ensure the airfield is safe and supports efficient movement of aircraft, equipment, personnel, and passengers. This involves manag- ing runways, friction testing, gate scheduling, and more. These employees are also coordinators for first response incidents, and are responsible for managing emergency operation incidents while adhering to National Incident Management System (NIMS) standards. Additionally, Airport Operations employees schedule, coordinate, and conduct FAR-139 Airport Daily Self-Inspections to ensure Part 139 compli- ance. This includes documenting, reporting, and tracking deficiencies discovered during inspections. Finally, these employees ensure a high level of customer service to stakeholders and passengers. They handle complaints and critical issues to ensure safe, secure, customer-focused operations. Airport operations generally consists of airside, landside, and ground transportation. At larger airports, these three functions of airport operations are generally separate, with employees assigned to one specific area. This separation allows for significant task specialization, and employees develop significant skill in their assigned area. At small airports, however, these func- tions are typically combined, with personnel responsible for airside, landside, ground transpor- tation, and even aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) and maintenance. In some cases, these combined roles of operations, maintenance, and ARFF are in the form of safety officers. In this case, task generalization is common, resulting in operations employees who have a compre- hensive perspective of airport operations. Differences exist, however, even among airports that structure their operations departments similarly. Review of 14 CFR Part 139 Requirements At airports certificated by Part 139, airport operations personnel fulfill a regulatory require- ment to maintain compliance with Part 139. Defined as the airport certification regulation, this regulation applies to approximately 525 U.S. airports certificated by Part 139. Part 139 addresses numerous areas outlined in its Subparts A, B, C, and D. Subpart D, Operations, however, is often referred to as the most important subpart of Part 139 because it details airport requirements to ensure compliance with the regulation. Subpart D addresses the following 22 areas: 1. Part 139.301, Records 2. Part 139.303, Personnel 3. Part 139.305, Paved areas
Introduction 7 4. Part 139.307, Unpaved areas 5. Part 139.309, Safety areas 6. Part 139.311, Marking, signs, and lighting 7. Part 139.313, Snow and ice control 8. Part 139.315, ARFF: Index determination 9. Part 139.317, ARFF: Equipment and agents 10. Part 139.319, ARFF: Operational requirements 11. Part 139.321, Handling and storing of hazardous substances and materials 12. Part 139.323, Traffic and wind direction indicators 13. Part 139.325, Airport emergency plan 14. Part 139.327, Self-inspection program 15. Part 139.329, Pedestrians and ground vehicles 16. Part 139.331, Obstructions 17. Part 139.333, Protection of NAVAIDS (navigational aids) 18. Part 139.335, Public protection 19. Part 139.337, Wildlife hazard management 20. Part 139.339, Airport condition reporting 21. Part 139.341, Identifying, marking, and lighting construction and other unserviceable areas 22. Part 139.343, Noncomplying conditions As it relates to this synthesis, Part 139.303, Personnel, states: In a manner authorized by the Administrator, each certificate holder mustâ (a) Provide sufficient and qualified personnel to comply with the requirements of its Airport Certification Manual and the requirements of this part. (b) Equip personnel with sufficient resources needed to comply with the requirements of this part. (c) Train all persons who access movement areas and safety areas and perform duties in compliance with the requirements of the Airport Certification Manual and the requirements of this part. This training must be completed prior to the initial performance of such duties and at least once every 12 consecutive calendar months. The curriculum for initial and recurrent training must include at least the following areas: (1) Airport familiarization, including airport marking, lighting, and signs system. (2) Procedures for access to, and operation in, movement areas and safety areas, as specified under Â§139.329. (3) Airport communications, including radio communication between the air traffic control tower and personnel, use of the common traffic advisory frequency if there is no air traffic control tower or the tower is not in operation, and procedures for reporting unsafe airport conditions. (4) Duties required under the Airport Certification Manual and the requirements of this part. (5) Any additional subject areas required under Â§Â§139.319, 139.321, 139.327, 139.329, 139.337, and 139.339, as appropriate. (d) Make a record of all training completed after June 9, 2004 by each individual in compliance with this section that includes, at a minimum, a description and date of training received. Such records must be maintained for 24 consecutive calendar months after completion of training. (e) As appropriate, comply with the following training requirements of this part: (1) Â§139.319, Aircraft rescue and firefighting: Operational requirements; (2) Â§139.321, Handling and storage of hazardous substances and materials; (3) Â§139.327, Self-inspection program; (4) Â§139.329, Pedestrians and ground vehicles; (5) Â§139.337, Wildlife hazard management; and (6) Â§139.339, Airport condition reporting. (f) Use an independent organization, or designee, to comply with the requirements of its Airport Certifica- tion Manual and the requirements of this part only ifâ (1) Such an arrangement is authorized by the Administrator; (2) A description of responsibilities and duties that will be assumed by an independent organization or designee is specified in the Airport Certification Manual; and (3) The independent organization or designee prepares records required under this part in sufficient detail to assure the certificate holder and the Administrator of adequate compliance with the Air- port Certification Manual and the requirements of this part. (GPO, 2019)
8 Airport Operations Training at Small Airports As delineated in this section of Part 139, certificated airports must provide âsufficient and qualified personnelâ who are âequipped with sufficient resourcesâ and âadequately trainedâ as specified (GPO, 2019). Although this synthesis does consider the number of operations per- sonnel airports consider to be âsufficient,â its focus is on âqualifiedâ and âadequately trainedâ personnel. Specifically, in what manner do airports train operations personnel to ensure they are âqualifiedâ and âadequately trainedâ? As discovered during data collection, while airfield familiarization is critical to the responsibilities outlined in Part 139, âairport managers realize that simple airfield orientation is no longer adequate. Managers are learning that extensive training is critical and necessaryâ (Beckman, 1993, p. 1). This synthesis focuses on the require- ment for initial and recurrent training in the areas noted previously. Titles for Airport Operations Personnel Titles for airport operations positions vary widely among airports. According to a review of vacant airport operations positions advertised on various online job boards, entry-level airport operations position titles generally include the term âairport operationsâ along with âspecialist,â âcoordinator,â or âofficer.â Supervisory airport operations positions generally include the term âairport operationsâ along with âsupervisor,â âmanager,â or âduty agent.â Small airports may not even designate personnel as operations personnel. Rather, for example, maintenance personnel may have operational responsibilities. Regardless of the actual position title, operational responsibilities are similar among airports. Duties and Responsibilities of Airport Operations Personnel Because of the requirement to ensure Part 139 compliance, airport operations personnel are required to be knowledgeable in numerous topic areas. The knowledge required for opera- tions positions varies among airports (on the basis of job specialization and assigned tasks). According to Quiltyâs (2005, p. 107) research of 274 airport operators, the following are the most commonly cited knowledge requirements for entry-level airport operations personnel, in order: 1. Ground vehicle operations 2. Self-inspections 3. Lighting 4. Airport emergency plans 5. Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs) 6. Part 139 compliance 7. Airport Certification Manual 8. Acronyms 9. Security ID area 10. Construction activity 11. Airport certification specifications 12. Wildlife 13. Airport security plans 14. Part 77 obstructions 15. Airport design and layout 16. General aviation operations 17. Air traffic control operations
Introduction 9 18. Aircraft rescue and firefighting 19. Fueling operations 20. Aircraft regulations Additional knowledge areas in an airport operations training program often include the following: â¢ FAA rules and regulations to include 14 CFR Part 150 â¢ TSA rules and regulations to include 49 CFR Parts 1542 and 1544 â¢ FAA Advisory Circulars, Part 150 series â¢ Federal, state, and local laws applicable to airports â¢ Airport organization â¢ Airport certification, including Airport Certification Manual â¢ Airfield signage, markings â¢ Airport operations â¢ Airline operations â¢ Runway incursions â¢ Safety management system â¢ Groundskeeping repair and maintenance â¢ CPR/First aid â¢ Basic airport terminology â¢ Computer-based programs and applications including word processing, database manage- ment, spreadsheets, and other related computer software â¢ Public relations procedures Actual knowledge areas required of airport operations personnel will vary among airports. For example, at small airports, operations personnel need knowledge in fixed-base operator (FBO) operations, to include aircraft fueling, aircraft towing, and even recovery of disabled aircraft. In fact, at small airports, operations personnel spend most of their time in support of aircraft operations and grounds and building maintenance, rather than in direct support of Part 139 requirements. Even so, the Airport Operating Certificate rests upon these individuals. As responsibilities vary, so will knowledge requirements. Data collected for this study highlight knowledge areas considered important by airport operators. Even if airport operations personnel are responsible only for landside areas, each operations employee will need driver training. As presented in Figure 2, airport driver training is generally of four levels: (a) city-/county-required driving, (b) nonmovement area driving, (c) movement area driving, and (d) escort privileges. According to Beckman (1993, p. 15), driver training should include the following: â¢ Airfield familiarization â¢ Maneuvering safely on the airfield â¢ Right-of-way rules â¢ Speed limits â¢ Correct radio procedures â¢ Runway and taxiway layouts â¢ Procedures for driving on movement areas â¢ Procedures for driving on nonmovement areas â¢ Significance of light colors on runways and taxiways â¢ Procedures for hold bars, runway signs, instrument landing system (ILS) signage, and so on â¢ Airfield signage color significance â¢ Airfield paint color significance â¢ Runway incursion lights
10 Airport Operations Training at Small Airports â¢ Definition of instrument flight rules (IFR), visual flight rules (VFR), instrument meteoro- logical conditions (IMC), and visual meteorological conditions (VMC) â¢ Location of ILS equipment â¢ Dangerous areas on the airfield relative to runways and taxiways â¢ Penalties for disobeying driving rules and regulations Additionally, airports may require certain licenses and certificates. Examples of licenses and certificates that an airport may require airport operations employees to either hold or attain include the following: â¢ Valid state driverâs license â¢ Pilot certificate â¢ FAA medical certificate â¢ HAZMAT certification â¢ ARFF certification â¢ Commercial driverâs license â¢ Incident command certification (Saracco, 1998, p. 2) For employer-required certifications and licenses, it is important to ensure sufficient time (and support) for employees to achieve these credentials. âProvisions must be made to have this training available at the beginning of the program for those employees who do not possess the required licenses or certificateâ (Saracco, 1998, p. 2). In addition to knowledge in specific areas, airport operations personnel must have proficiency in specific skills. The skills required of airport operations personnel, as identified by Quilty (2004, p. 62), include the following: â¢ Strong oral, written, and interpersonal communication skills. Effectively communicating with both internal and external customers is imperative. Answering questions; inter acting with the FAA, TSA, tenants, and media; responding to protesters; handling belligerent customers; and responding to medical emergencies are all in a dayâs work for airport operations personnel. Driver Training Movement area Non- movement area City/county required Escort privileges Figure 2. Types of driver training.
Introduction 11 Thus, personnel must be skilled at communicating professionally and calmly in all situations. Role playing and on-the-job experiences while shadowing more experienced employees can build employee confidence in this area. â¢ Heavy equipment operation skills. This includes snow removal equipment, construction equipment, and ARFF equipment. â¢ Self-inspection skills. This includes the ability to discern conditions requiring maintenance. â¢ Facility and airfield maintenance skills. This includes working knowledge of plumbing; heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC); and electrical. â¢ Good radio communication skills. Proper radio communication is critical to ensure com- pliance with airport traffic control tower (ATCT) instructions. â¢ Crisis management skills. Airports require operations personnel to resolve crises that may arise. â¢ Conflict management skills. As conflicts arise, it is important to have skill in de-escalating conflicts and properly managing conflict for resolution. â¢ Critical thinking skills. It is important to think critically as operations personnel, as dynamic situations will be encountered. â¢ Decision-making skills. Operations personnel are confronted daily with situations that require decisions to be made, such as whether a section of pavement must be closed for a Part 139 issue. â¢ Team-building skills. The operations department must act like a team, which requires a team-building mindset. â¢ Emotional intelligence. By controlling oneâs emotions and being able to empathize with others, operations personnel will be more effective. â¢ Sound judgment. Using good judgment will lead to fewer impacts on airport users and more effective management of the airport. â¢ Data analysis. By using operational metrics to guide actions, operations personnel can ensure more efficient airport operations. â¢ Project and event management skills. Operations personnel must have the ability to manage multiple activities occurring simultaneously, and plan for and manage special events. â¢ Demonstrate a strong customer service inclination. Making customers a priority will allow the airport to exceed customer expectations. In addition to knowledge and skills, airport operations personnel must also have certain values. These values contribute to the culture of the operations department and are important in establishing responsibility and creating a team environment. According to Quilty (2004, p. 62), the fundamental values required of airport operations personnel include the following: â¢ Positive attitude. By adopting a positive attitude, employees will contribute to a positive work environment, leading to more positive interactions with customers. â¢ Ethical standards, integrity. Ethical employees will result in less loss of company time, more efficient use of airport assets, and better representation of airport management. â¢ Adaptability, flexibility, versatility. By remaining flexible and willing to adapt to new manage- ment, new regulations, and even new work schedules, employees will be invaluable. â¢ Curiosity, imagination, creativity. It is important for employees to be creative in seeking con- tinuous improvement. â¢ Motivation. Motivated employees are significant assets to an airport. â¢ Passion. By being passionate about the airport and operations, employees will be more likely to invest extra time and energy in getting the job done. â¢ Dedication. Dedicated employees result in less turnover and greater commitment. Even with variation among airports, operations employees perform similar duties through- out the airport industry. These similarities can aid in the application of industrywide opera- tions training materials or programs, for instance.
12 Airport Operations Training at Small Airports Training Delivery Options To ensure qualified airport operations personnel, it is incumbent upon airports to provide initial, as well as recurrent, training. This training can be, and often is, developed and delivered in-house. It may also, however, be developed or delivered, or both, by a contracted third party. Training can be facilitated or led by an instructor. The choice of training delivery often results from personal preference on the part of airport management. Initial training is often delivered by a designated trainer (or instructor). This approach requires more direct delivery of content, with significant structure to the training experience. For recurrent training, however, it is common for airports to use a facilitator approach to train- ing. With a facilitator, the learners assume a greater role in their learning while the facilitator serves as a guide or mentor. Several considerations affect an airportâs decision on delivery options, including budget, in- house expertise, number of operations employees, and so on. According to Sree and Basariya (2019, p. 214): Conducting training in the working environment will reduce the training cost. As the employees are trained at the actual working environment, they will use the actual tools and equipment they will be using in [the] future so they will gain confidence. New employees will be trained in [a] short period and get used to [the] actual work environment. Practical knowledge is more effective than imparting theoretical knowledge. Employees will get real time work experience in on-the-job training. If, however, providing training in-house requires removing an employee from the schedule, it will create additional costs (such as replacing the employee who is now dedicated to training). Balancing labor costs and training needs is important. Providing training in-house is most effectively accomplished with someone skilled in train- ing methodologies, adult learners, learning styles, and assessment. Every employee, however, will not be an effective trainer. Small airports with minimal staff may not have an individual qualified to serve as an in-house trainer. Providing training with in-house personnel, if possible, does produce certain benefits, including (a) presenting personnel a chance to develop their communication and presentation skills, (b) reducing the training cost compared with that of hiring a professional presenter or speaker, (c) increasing personal acceptance and support of the training program through the involvement of senior leadership, and (d) creating training with airport-specific needs in mind (Higgins, 2006, p. 12). Numerous airports have found it appropriate to contract training rather than provide it in-house. Many organizations and providers are qualified to provide contract training to airports. Although contract training may cost more, the benefits may justify the cost when, for example, the airport does not have sufficient in-house expertise on learning management systems, adult learning styles, generational differences, or assessment to provide quality training. For those airports deciding that contract training is the best option, organizations such as AAAE, ACIâNA, and FAA, as well as independent training providers, may be relied on to provide required training. An airport will often advertise its need for training in a request for proposal (RFP) or request for qualifications (RFQ). Any training organization then has the opportunity to respond in hopes of entering into a contract with the airport to provide the required training. Additionally, various community colleges, traditional four-year colleges, and universities provide courses and degree programs in airport management. Whether employees complete one course or an entire degree program, these in-depth academic courses at the collegiate level often provide an alternate method of training and education to support an existing airport operations training program. Additionally, courses at the collegiate level will support employeesâ professional development. Smith (1995, p. 3) notes the importance of formal training:
Introduction 13 Although airport operations departments conduct both classroom and on-the-job training, most training programs are not formalized. Training just seems to happen. This can mean many shortfalls that do not guarantee standard and consistent training of all airport operations personnel. Therefore, the need for a comprehensive training program for airport operations personnel is necessary to ensure the safe and efficient operation of any airport. Regardless of whether an airport trains operations personnel in-house or with a contract training provider (or some combination of both), the FAA certification inspector will ask Part 139 airports to verify all airport training curricula and records. Feedback from the FAA certification inspector is important to consider when making further improvements to the training program. Because what works for one airport may not work for another, airport manage- ment must devote considerable thought to this issue.