Mark Flug has been a KAAMCO Board member for the past three years and is currently the 2022 KAAMCO President. He started his airport career at LaGuardia (LGA) in 1989 with Odgen Allied Services and joined Cathay Pacific Airways in 2004 as duty manager at JFK International Airport. In 2015 he transferred to Newark (EWR) to become the Airport Operations manager before returning in 2015 to JFK as Senior Airport Operations Manager.
1 Tell us about KAAMCO and how it operates at JFK Airport (Who are the members, stakeholders, mission?)
Mark Flug: The Kennedy Airport Airlines Management Council (KAAMCO) is an association comprised of scheduled airlines and service providers operating at JFK International Airport. The purpose of KAAMCO is to foster, encourage and stimulate cooperation among the scheduled airlines and service providers who operate at Kennedy International Airport. In addition, KAAMCO works to cooperate with the PANYNJ and any other local, state and federal governmental agencies at JFK Airport to ensure the compliance of regulations in conjunction with the advancement and development of the airlines’ interests and air transportation in general.
KAAMCO engages with agencies involved in airport security, re- developments plans, and general airport affairs, in and around the airport, as it may impact the operations of the member airlines and to make recommendations to the respective managements of each member airline. KAAMCO functions to stay informed and resolve issues to ensure all stakeholders can operate efficiently to provide passengers and guests with the best experience while traveling in and out of JFK International Airport.
2 Some airlines are announcing 30-year record high bookings this summer. What are some of the challenges airlines, airports, and federal partners face ramping up to that demand after recovering from COVID volume deficits?
There is a huge demand for travel after COVID restriction limited last year’s travel. The infrastructure for airlines suppliers and agencies are struggling to move fast to handle this demand. All airline and service providers are scrambling to fill critical positions to meet the peak season demands.
3 What are some of the technological innovations being used to help increase passenger and staffing satisfaction ratings?
Mark Flug: The COVID pandemic forced the airlines to provide safe and secure touchless/contactless technologies at a rapid pace in the airport. Airlines implemented pre-flight check of COVID documents online. Transmitting clearance records on personal devices for passengers to enable airlines to maintain passenger safety and satisfy foreign travel and CDC requirements. Biometric innovation in transforming the ways the airlines and governmental agencies operate. Biometrics is utilized to provide a contactless way to verify a person’s identity, shorten lines, and identify fraudulent documents. Select airports continue to test new ways to incorporate Biometrics to make air travel more convenient and streamlined. The Port Authority now uses Blip Track to manage lines and display wait times at TSA security checkpoint and taxi stands at JFK. Even the cleaning of planes has improved thanks to technology, airlines now use ultraviolet cleaning methods because it is a faster and an effective disinfectant. It is exciting to see how technological innovations will shape the future of the airline industry.
4 Operating an airport through a redevelopment is not an easy proposition. What can we expect as passengers and as employees?
Mark Flug: The Port Authority of NY& NJ has resumed meetings regarding the redevelopment program involving two broad working groups: Airside and Landside. The meetings provide updates of the stages of redevelopment, which allow for the exchange of information between all the key stakeholders at the airport.
These meetings and discussions provide an opportunity to address and identify any potential pain points ahead so stakeholders can plan accordingly. Although there are constant adjustments, we are confident the JFK community will rise to the challenge and continue to work together for an end-result we are all proud of and will enjoy.
5 KAAMCO has been an active benefactor to charitable organizations in the airport community. Could you tell us about your annual Golf Outing that will help benefit Angel Flight NE?
Mark Flug: We are very excited about the KAAMCO June Golf outing benefitting Angel Flight NE. The response has been overwhelming as the event sold out in record time. Angel Flight NE (AFNE) coordinates free air and ground transportation for children and adults so they can access medical care that is not available in their geographical area. Mission/flight coordination is the heart and soul of Angel Flight NE’s operations with AFNE’s team available 24×7; 365 days a year. Since its founding in 1996, AFNE has scheduled over 103,000 free missions for patients – children and adults – as well as accompanying family members who have flown more than 15 million miles to 750+ medical facilities throughout the United States.
While volunteer pilots and commercial aviation partners provide the free air transportation, the coordination of a flight with accompanying ground transportation can cost AFNE anywhere between $300 to $450 depending on the complexity of the mission. There is never a charge for AFNE’s air and ground transportation services and they are provided for as long and as often as a patient and family needs assistance. Funds raised at the 2022 KAAMCO Golf Tournament will enable AFNE to coordinate missions that connect patients and families to medical care so they can focus on what is important – getting well!
Visit www.angelflightne.org or call 1-800-549-9980 to learn more about Angel Flight NE.