Airfield Safety is Focus at 3rd Annual International Airfield Operations Area Expo & Conference

FAA Associate Administrator for Airports D. Kirk Shaffer addresses safety concerns at June 3-5 show

Annual Airfield Operations Area (AOA) Expo & Conference

MILWAUKEE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Few would argue the constant commitment airport administration must have to their airfield operations. The need for ongoing safety analysis is not only necessary, it is crucial as millions of travelers pass in and out of Americas airports annually.

The 3rd Annual Airfield Operations Area (AOA) Expo & Conference, the only show that addresses all disciplines of airfield operations, plans to address issues and challenges that face airport administrators from runway improvement, pavement types, local condition forecasting, friction testing, signage, snow removal, lighting, perimeter fencing, safety, security and more. Sponsored by AIRPORT BUSINESS magazine, the June 3 – 5 conference is expected to draw airport executives from all over the country seeking counsel and advice on often life and death situations.

In August of last year, Comair Flight 5191 took off from the wrong runway killing 47 passengers and two crew members. Reports have surfaced since the tragedy that lighting on the commercial runway was not lit due to earlier construction. The FAA also found that the Air Traffic Control Tower at Lexington Blue Grass Airport had violated its own rules by allowing only one controller to be on duty at the time Comair Flight 5191 was cleared for takeoff.

Accidents like the tragedy at Lexington highlights the need for leadership from all levels of the FAA, insuring that rules are adhered to and not presumed flexible, says Show Coordinator Karen Reinhardt. There have been several instances of aircraft sliding off runways, some with dire circumstances. While relatively rare, a single incident can kill hundreds of people. Airport operations managers must have the proper tools and equipment to insure runways are properly deiced and response teams are trained to immediately react to any tragedy.

Keynoting the event is FAA Associate Administrator for Airports D. Kirk Shaffer. He is expected to address Safety Management Systems, Part 139, runway friction measurement, runway safety areas, Engineered Material Arresting System, and runway safety action teams at the event.

A graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, Shaffer is a licensed private pilot, retired U.S. Army and Ranger, airborne, jumpmaster, and air assault qualified. He received a law degree for the University of Texas at Austin, and a Master of Laws degree from The Judge Advocate General’s School of the US Army. From 1986 to 2003, he served as general counsel to the Metropolitan Nashville Airport working on a range of issues regarding the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program and the National Environmental Policy Act. He has served as Chairman and Vice Chairman of the legal committee for the Airports Council International-North America. He is also a certified member of the American Association of Airport Executives and, like his father, a member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

Mr. Shaffers background makes him a unique choice for a position of oversight for U.S. airports, adds Reinhardt. He is a pilot, understands legal hurdles that often comes with federal funding and most importantly, he is well aware of the challenges U.S. airports face in todays climate.

Annual Airfield Operations Area (AOA) Expo & Conference, is produced and managed by AIRPORT BUSINESS Magazine, a property of Cygnus Business Media and part of the Cygnus Aviation & Transportation Group made up of leading magazines – AIRPORT BUSINESS, Ground Support and Aircraft Maintenance Technology and the annual Aviation Industry Expo.

AOA Expo & Conference is schedule to open on June 3 at the Four Points Sheraton Milwaukee, utilizing General Mitchell International Airport for hands on training and open-air demonstrations. For more details please contact Karen Reinhardt at 1-800-547-7377 ext. 1622 or visit

Cygnus Business Medias aviation market is one of the most comprehensive in the industry serving airport managers, aviation services professionals and aircraft maintenance technicians. The portfolio is made up of leading magazines, AIRPORT BUSINESS, Ground Support and Aircraft Maintenance Technology, AOA Expo & Conference and the annual Aviation Industry Expo.

AIRPORT BUSINESS magazine is the most widely circulated, audited business publication that targets professionals who manage airports, airport-based businesses, and corporate flight facilities in North America. Its 18,000 subscribers are critical to the safe operation of the North American air transportation system. Published 10 times annually, it is the goal of Airport Business to help these managers more effectively operate their operations by sharing case studies of what others are doing successfully, combined with expert analysis, industry news, and product information.

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