Southwest Airlines celebrated its 12th Anniversary at Bradley on October 31st, 2011. The entire airport was still recovering from a historic Northeaster that dumped over a foot of snow, shattering a 32 year old record.

CT Governor Dannel Malloy kicks off the CT Airport Authority’s first meeting

After decades of discussion and a long history of resistance
from the Connecticut Department of Transportation that previously ran the
State’s airports, the newly created Connecticut Airport Authority (CAA) started
its mission of re-creating the way that Connecticut’s 6 State owned airports
are governed, managed, and marketed. To get the new Authority started, CT
Governor Malloy addressed the 11 member Board prior to the beginning of their
first meeting. Specifically to Bradley, the State’s largest airport, the
Governor commented, “We are not maximizing the potential of this airport,” a
theme he has carried from the campaign a year ago into the new Authority.

The Governor left the CAA to their task at hand, telling the
members to “get to work” after his comments at the Legislative Office Building.
The Chairwoman of the CAA, Mary Ellen Jones, quickly did so and began the
meeting by noting the need for quick action. The Governor’s choice as Chair and
the President of Engine Alliance, Ms. Jones directed “We need to establish some
sub-committees and get some real work going”.  Jones also emphasized the need to get an
Executive Director, a position created by the legislation, onboard quickly “and
set priorities and an action plan.”

In the case of Bradley International, this is the third
Board in a long evolution from the Bradley Airport Commission from the early
1980’s, to the 2001 creation of the Bradley International Airport Board of
Directors. This has all been done in search of creating a more nimble,
proactive, and successful airport.  In
explaining key points on behalf of the Governor, his Director of Policy Liz
Donohue explained “I’m so glad to be meeting after all this work” in the past
Legislative session, and continued, “for years this has been championed by
many, including the business community.”  In the transition from an advisory Board (both
former entities had no budgetary or Legislative powers other than to advise the
DOT) to a full Authority, the new independent Authority would be chaperoning
“the best economic asset in the State” in the opinion of the Governor’s office.
Director Donohue also assured, “Hire an Executive Director, that’s something
that can happen sooner than later, to help you move forward.”

The first priority as far as the legislative requirements to
transition to a fully independent Authority, as pointed out by the Chairwoman,
is to create a Memorandum of Understanding between the State of Connecticut
Department of Transportation and the CAA. Ex officio Board member and CT
Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker assured, “the DOT will
provide ongoing support” to facilitate the process, which is a stark contrast
to the posture of the agency historically. When asked about a timeframe,
Commissioner Redeker explained, “There’s an obvious process, an FAA (Federal
Aviation Administration) checklist.” The commissioner estimated that it would
take approximately 6 months, and that Bradley would be the first in the
sequence of airports.  Later, Board
member Robert Aaronson stated that he previously worked for the FAA in the
office that oversaw the process, and hoped that he could expedite the
move.  Redeker did say that in his
position as DOT Commissioner he had to look at the process from two sides; one
as the head of DOT and its workforce, the other as a member of the Board that
the legislation dictated be implemented to overcome a bureaucratic process that
has stymied previous efforts at real growth. “I can’t wait for the transition
to be done” he stated, “It’ll free me up to be more of a Board member.”

 

CT Department of Economic and Community Development
Commissioner Catherine Smith, another ex-officio member, emphasized the need to
benchmark, “to get facts, figures, and costs versus the competition.” That
point was later echoed by fellow board member Brett Browchuk, a CIGNA executive
in charge of procurement “everything we buy and sell including real estate,”  who urged “let’s create some competition to
Logan and those great New York airports.”

A good portion of the conversation, including the
introductions, centered on the importance of CT’s airports and transportation
in general to the State’s economic well-being. Commissioner Smith reiterated
the same, as did several others of the varied professionals that make up the
board.  To get this going, again as urged
by Chairwoman Jones, the board all agreed that getting a new Executive Director
in place was critical. There was the question as to whether a temporary person
in this capacity made sense, and board member Scott Guilmartin added “it is
absolutely critical that we have a Marketing person.” The question as to
whether or not the Authority should have a legal consultant, or whether or not
the Authority has a budget to get started ensued, but it appears that the CT
Airport Authority is in motion to get a lot accomplished soon. Treasurer Denis
Napier, another member, confirmed through her designate Peter McAlpine that
there “was a roof in place” to facilitate financing during the transition, via
the Bradley Enterprise Fund.

At the end of the second hour, the board broke into sub
committees focused on Procedures, Personnel, Outreach and Facility Operations.
Those groups were later condensed, and Procedures and Personnel seem to be the
immediate areas of concern. The members of the new Board offer a wide array of
strengths ranging from aviation, retail, finance and airline organizations, and
have the institutional history of retired executive Michael Long, who served as
the first Chairman of the original Bradley Airport Commission in the 1980s, as
well as the hands on airport experience of Matthew Kelly, who in 14 years with
the DOT has worked at every State owned airport and currently is the General
Manager at Waterbury- Oxford Airport. Member Andrew Gray brings 20 years of
retail related IT experience, Robert Aaronson a career of State, Federal, and
Industry aviation experience; and business owners Scott Guilmartin and Karen
Jarmoc, also a former State Representative, offer local insight as well. Under
the leadership of Mary Ellen Jones, the group has a lot to accomplish prior to
their next meeting, to be held in November.

CT Governor Dannel Malloy (third from left) welcomed the 11 Board members to the newly created CT Airport Authority, and swore them into service prior to the start of their first meeting at the Legislative Office Building on October 14th. He then promptly instructed them to “Get to work”, reminding them all of the great potential that Bradley international and the 5 General Aviation airports under their purview hold.

In an effort to raise awareness for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, BDL Delta Station Manager Al Garvey challenged his staff- “raise $5,000 dollars in thirty days and I will wear a pink dress to work.” The reaction has been strong, and the ramp is promoting the efforts along with gate announcements and word of mouth. To help make Al wear pink, you can send donations made out to ” BCRF ” c/o Delta Airlines BDL, Administrative Office, Bradley International Airport, Windsor Locks, CT 06096

Delta is issuing a “pink challenge” to employees to raise awareness and money for The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Employees are encouraged to come up with creative ways to promote the campaign and raise money for breast cancer research and treatment. Previous fundraising examples included flight attendants doing back flips in the aircraft aisle, employees selling pink feathered boas and lemonade in neighborhoods, and spray painting a car pink.

To date, Delta employees and customers have raised $3.5 million for BCRF, funding 13 research projects. Delta’s goal for this year is to exceed the $1 million donation put forth in both 2010 and 2009.

CT Airport Authority Chairwoman Mary Ellen Jones

Mary Ellen Jones, chosen by Governor Malloy to head the newly minted CT Airport Authority (CAA), possesses the credentials to tackle the task and is ready to go, explaining, “The biggest challenge is where to start”.

The Glastonbury resident is the President of the Engine Alliance, a 50-50 joint venture between Pratt and Whitney and GE that manufactures and supports the Connecticut built GP7000 Engine for the Airbus A380. She assumed this role in November of 2009, after heading Pratt & Whitney’s Commercial Engines & Global Services Marketing, where she led worldwide marketing initiatives for P&W’s new engine and aftermarket businesses.

The new CAA Chairwoman previously served as Vice President – Marketing and Sales for the Engine Alliance, and also worked for three years in Toulouse, France directing Pratt & Whitney’s operations at Airbus headquarters.  Her
other experience includes management positions with Pratt & Whitney and United Technologies Corporation in Sales, Contracts, Communications and Government Relations.

As far as first steps for the new Authority, there has been no lack of input from outside sources, starting immediately after her being named to Chair the 11 member Authority. Ms. Jones explained,  “there has been a lot of outreach” on a number of items ; input via callers ranging from passengers to elected officials expressing opinions on baggage, parking, and the need for new air services.  The members had yet to meet together as The Airport News went to press, so any particular synergies and individual actions had yet to be addressed, but  “everyone is eager to get going” the Chairwoman noted  in referring to the Board, and an October meeting is being planned.  Ms. Jones  intends to draw on her “strong marketing and sales background” in addressing the growth of CT’s airports and implementation of new air service, which many have told her already needs to include a Trans-Atlantic effort. The immediate task is getting to work on organizing the new Authority and a Letter of Memorandum transferring control from the CT DOT, as directed by the Legislation signed by CT Governor Malloy on June 30, 2011.  First priority, after establishing procedural and operating guidelines for the Board, will be given to “where do we get the biggest impact the soonest”, explained the Chairwoman. Personal business and travel experiences that include 1 million miles on “at least one airline” and a collection of Board members with very impressive resumes are all ready to start the effort that has been decades in the waiting.

Hartford: Senate President Donald E. Williams, Jr. (D-Brooklyn) has appointed Karen Jarmoc, of Enfield, to the Connecticut Airport Authority

Public Act 11-84, AN ACT CONCERNING THE CONNECTICUT AIRPORT AUTHORITY, establishes the 11-member CAA to develop, improve, and operate Bradley International Airport, the state’s five other general aviation airports (Danielson, Groton/New London, Hartford Brainard, Waterbury-Oxford, and Windham airports), and any other general aviation airports CAA owns, operates, and manages. “I am honored and excited in regard to this tremendous opportunity to be a part of this leadership team,” said Jarmoc. “Clearly, the economic potential for Bradley and all of Connecticut’s airports has not been fully realized. I am eager to get to work and help fully leverage Bradley’s ability to be a boost to business and more responsive to market conditions. Bradley is a business and must help drive growth in the long-run.”

“Karen brings an ideal mix of government, business, and civic experience to the Airport Authority Board,” said Senator Williams. “I’m pleased she has accepted this opportunity to serve the state at this important time. Connecticut’s airports can – and must – play a pivotal role in our economic recovery. Karen will help make this a reality.” Sen Williams

Karen served as a state representative for four years (2006-2010). She is currently the board chair to the Asnuntuck Community College Foundation and the United Way of North Central Connecticut. Ms. Jarmoc also serves as an advisor to the college’s manufacturing technology division as a member of that department’s board.

She was a member of the board of the North Central Connecticut Chamber of Commerce where she worked to establish a legislative action committee. Karen holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and political science from Simmons College and a master’s degree in public policy from Trinity College. She and her husband Stephen reside in Enfield.

The Airport News was able to catch up with the very busy President of the Greater Hartford Convention and Visitors Bureau, Michael Van Parys, for a few minutes prior to the September 22d start of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) Summit. http://www.aopa.org/summit/

This is the second time the AOPA leaders have brought their to Hartford, the first time being in 2007, and will be one of the Center’s largest events this year according to Mr. Van Parys. This is the largest event also for the 72 year old organization; The AOPA Aviation Summit is aviation’s premier trade show and convention, with dozens of aircraft on display at Airportfest, more than 400 exhibitor booths occupying the center exhibit hall, and more than 60 hours of seminars offered over the course of three days.

Mr. Van Parys is very optimistic for a repeat stellar performance, likely matching the 10,000 attendees that came in ’07. “We anticipate good room night numbers” he explained, “ and we also will be able to utilize local man power, providing about 60 short term jobs” to help work the event. In addition, the Center has contracted with local transport companies to offer shuttle service to and from the events at the CT Convention Center, the “Airportfest” located at Hartford Brainard Airport, area hotels, and also the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, CT as well as Bradley International. Hartford Brainard is the primary airport for the event, but Bradley International’s FBOs expect traffic as well from larger aircraft and customers that are based there.

Mr. Van Parys also complimented The CT Department of Transportation Aviation Department’s Steve Korta, who won a “Bring it Home to Hartford Award” for his efforts behind the 2007 event. “He has been golden,” according to Mr. Van Parys, “he takes time toexplain things and has been amazingly supportive.”

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