Emerging Issues for ACRP:
Enhancing Resiliency of Airports and Interrelated Systems


Background Statement

Several recent incidents have highlighted the serious consequences of disruptive events in the airport community. These include the ATL power outage (12/17), the shooting at LAX (11/13) and FLL (01/17), hurricane damage in Houston, Florida, and Puerto Rico (2017), terminal flooding at JFK (01/18), and many other examples. It is imperative for airports to have resources and measures to ensure continuity, contain the damage, and maintain or resume operations as quickly as possible.

Research Ideas

  • Emergency operations planning: How do airports fit within city-wide or region-wide emergency management systems?
  • Case studies: Document previous successes and failures (i.e., organize insight event, with potential participants from airports abroad with specific experience in resiliency and crisis situations [ACI-Europe, etc.]).
  • Research best practices for redundancies in the power grid.
  • Airport CDM (Collaborative Decision Making): Share information in real time among all stakeholders of airport operations, and prepare with them procedures for addressing adverse conditions. A-CDM is a reality in Europe. It has been listed among future developments to be considered in the U.S. by the FAA/Industry CDM Stakeholders Group (CSG).
  • Expand the aviation safety risk management function to include the full scope of resiliency concerns and issues. (More focused than previous ACRP Reports 74 and 131.)
  • Explore how to mitigate the effects of a crisis while maintaining compliance with OSHA requirements.
  • Explore how to get sufficient personnel onsite quickly to deal with an emergency situation, especially when adverse conditions degrade accessibility (e.g. weather conditions).
  • What elements of the Family Assistance Plans could be adapted for other crisis situations?
  • Explore coordinated response of diversion airports when a nearby hub airport is closed. E.g. fire at MIA’s fuel farm in 2011: coordination between MIA, air carriers, and airports in South Florida; flights stopped at nearby airports for refueling. Are there research issues? How are they identified?
  • Emergency response systems (e.g. 911): Utilize a higher level of diligence needed to verify authenticity of a reported incident (e.g. a bomb on a plane, an active shooter, etc.)
  • What can we learn from terrorist incidents in Europe and other airports?
  • Evaluate exposure to climate change and integrating the findings into risk management and emergency planning. (Review and apply results of Report 147 – pilot test? Check methodology developed abroad e.g. French Civil Aviation Technical Center/STAC.)
  • Financial planning for resilience, including benefit cost analysis of equipment, staff, etc.
  • Contingency plans for retail and other airport businesses. Look at practices in marine ports for best practices?
  • Impact of airport closures on cargo passing through airports. Economic impacts to shippers – how to include in resilience planning?
  • “After action reviews” – identify lessons learned and update procedures as necessary. Can airports learn from the military? Develop guidelines for airports.
  • Review and update or build on ACRP 112 – Airport terminal incident response planning.
  • Best practices for engagement with the local communities that are impacted by airport disruptions.
  • Need to collaborate with highway departments and transit agencies to identify common needs and practices?
  • How are rural communities with smaller airports affected if a major carrier decides to suspend services to them? Innovative approaches/incentives to maintain air services (e.g. is it worthy for a community to directly organize/contract air services – some case studies in Europe?).
  • When airports shut down for weather reasons, what are the opportunities for the use of other modes? Could we rebook/transfer passengers between modes, like air carriers (e.g. Delta and American) have been doing between them?
  • Meeting customer needs when online systems are compromised or closed? What if only one airline’s systems close?
  • What backup systems are in place in the event of a cyber-attack?
  • Use of UAS/drone technology to assist with identification, reporting and response. Interface with off airport response, emergency operations, military, and other agencies.
  • How do airports cope with or prevent panic spreading via social media during such crisis situations?


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