Press Release

AAAE, Airports, Industry Leaders Launch Airport Consortium on Customer Trust Program to Speed Recovery Solutions

For Immediate Release
October 12, 2020

Alexandria, VA -- Consistent with its heritage of fostering innovation to benefit airports, the aviation industry, and the traveling public, the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE), with the support of CAG Holdings, LLC (CAG), a Carlyle backed company, has created the Airport Consortium on Customer Trust (ACT) Program to speed – with the backing of substantive industry expert partners – the deployment of innovative technology, processes and standards in airports to safeguard public health and instill passenger confidence in air travel.   

As airports continue to proactively enhance their facilities to protect public health and accelerate recovery efforts, they are being bombarded with ideas and potential solutions of widely varying quality and merit.  The ACT Program brings together, in a dedicated consortium, the nation’s leading airports, stakeholders, thought leaders, and solution providers to share, evaluate, test, and launch solutions in airports, including:
  • Terminal and passenger facility design, configuration, and technology to adapt to COVID-19
  • Finance and new revenue generating innovations
  • Health screening, monitoring, and testing processes and technologies
  • Terminal cleanliness, hygiene, and safety, and enabling technologies
  • Touchless and self-service systems throughout the passenger journey from curbside to plane (including biometrics)
  • Airbridges, bubbles or corridors to promote international travel
In partnering with each other, federal agencies, and leading solution providers, ACT airport members will use customer insights to drive the development and deployment of meaningful programs and technologies that will instill confidence in health and safety and facilitate recovery across the airport system. ACT participating airports already include Los Angeles World Airports, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, San Antonio International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, Denver International Airport and Norman Y. Mineta San José International Airport. 

The ACT Program’s Cornerstone Partners, including Schneider Electric, ARUP, and Materna, will join CAG in working with airport leaders to advance sustainable solutions that will instill confidence in travelers and speed their return to air travel.  

“Airports across the country have moved with remarkable speed and creativity to reinvent the travel experience from the very beginning of the pandemic,” AAAE President and CEO Todd Hauptli said. “Led by an impressive group of airport executives, the ACT initiative brings together piloted and tested solutions and approaches that will build upon those efforts to further aid recovery and increase the trust and confidence that travelers have in the nation’s airports.”

“This unprecedented crisis has created the need to find different and innovative solutions to protect passengers and inspire passenger trust to drive their return to air travel, and one way we must do this is through testing and investing in new technologies,” said Justin Erbacci, CEO, Los Angeles World Airports. “By bringing together the country’s most innovative airports, partners and experts, the ACT program will establish a centralized pipeline for evaluating the technology and processes that will help us to reimagine the airport experience.”

“At a critical time in the aviation industry, we need to be collaborative, focused and open-minded in identifying new methods and solutions to restore consumer confidence in air travel,” added Paul Puopolo, Executive Vice President, Innovation at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. “Our continued partnership with AAAE and the collaboration with industry partners, thought leaders, and airports through this program, provides the opportunity to evaluate technologies and share learnings to more effectively advance the traveler’s experience”. 

“San Antonio International Airport is proud to be a partner in the launch of the ACT Program, during possibly the most critical time in the history of commercial aviation,” remarked Jesus Saenz, Director of Airports for the City of San Antonio.  “This collaboration will ensure passengers and employees benefit from innovative processes, state-of-the-art technology, and the best practices available to provide the highest level of safety and health protection, while continuing to restore confidence in airports and air travel.”

“COVID-19 response requires new technology and vastly increased digital communication with passengers which will create a bow wave of data that can be further used to unlock value at airports,” commented Amit Rikhy, CEO of CAG. “Our support of AAAE through the ACT Program further provides a forum with key airport executives and industry partners to coordinate and facilitate an industry-wide approach to COVID recovery through shared and consistent solutions in smart airport infrastructure and digitization which will engender traveler confidence.”  

The ACT Program complements other efforts AAAE has undertaken to assist airports and the industry with recovery efforts, including partnering with the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) to accredit airports that meet the highest levels of cleanliness and safety at their facilities to minimize risk from coronavirus and other infectious agents.  To date, 30 airports are participating in the GBAC program and four have received STAR certification, including Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.

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ABOUT AAAE: Founded in 1928, AAAE is the world's largest professional organization representing the individuals who work at public-use commercial and general aviation airports. AAAE's 9,000 members represent over 850 airports and hundreds of companies and organizations that support the airport industry. Headquartered in Alexandria, Va., AAAE serves its membership through results-oriented representation in Washington, D.C., and delivers a wide range of industry services and professional development opportunities, including training, conferences, and a highly respected accreditation program. 

ABOUT CAG Holdings, LLC: CAG Holdings, LLC is The Carlyle Group’s dedicated U.S.-based investment arm for airport infrastructure investment opportunities globally and is a portfolio company of the Carlyle Global Infrastructure Opportunity Fund. CAG is led by an experienced management team with a track record of more than 70+ airport projects globally combined with a deep, localized understanding of the U.S. airport market. CAG is a partner in Reach Airports LLC, a U.S.-based joint venture between Munich Airport International (Europe’s only five-star airport) and CAG, offering operations, training, consulting and management services to the aviation sector in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.     

ABOUT LAWA: Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) is the City of Los Angeles department that owns and operates Los Angeles International (LAX) and Van Nuys (VNY) general aviation airports, as well as aviation-related property in Palmdale. Both play an integral role in helping to meet the Southern California regional demand for passenger, cargo, and general aviation service. Both airports make a distinct contribution to the strength of the system as it provides a high level of safety, security and service for its customers, communities, and stakeholders. More information can be found at  

ABOUT DFW: Dallas Fort Worth International (DFW) Airport warmly welcomed more than 75 million customers in 2019, making DFW one of the most frequently visited superhub airports in the world. DFW is ranked third in operations and tenth in passengers by Airports Council International. Centered between owner cities Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, DFW Airport also serves as a major job generator for the North Texas region by connecting people through business and leisure travel. For more information, visit  

ABOUT SAT:  The San Antonio International Airport (SAT) is located just 8 miles from downtown San Antonio and the historical Alamo and San Antonio Riverwalk.  In 2019, SAT serviced 10.4 million passengers – capping 10 straight years of record setting passenger growth.  Serving as a driver for economic development and prosperity for the region, SAT supports more than 97,000 jobs and provides $1.6 billion in annual earnings for workers and proprietors.  The airport covers over 2,600 acres, including 120 acres available for development.  For more information, visit

Joel D. Bacon
Executive Vice President, Government and Public Affairs