Aviators across the country will fly high on August 19 as they celebrate National Aviation Day, which recognizes the history and developments in the field of aviation. Established in 1939 by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, this holiday was declared a national observation to coincide with Orville Wright’s birthday and his significant contribution to powered flight.

In honor of National Aviation Day, we’ve put together the top 10 reasons for becoming a pilot. See if you have the “right stuff” to take your career to new heights:

  1. Fulfill your lifelong passion—Flying is addicting, and it can fuel your passion to make your dreams a reality. If flying is in your blood, then the sky’s the limit for a soaring career.
  2. View life from a different perspective—Not only do pilots get a bird’s-eye view of seeing the world, but their job experiences can prove humbling, as they realize the magnitude of the skies around them.
  3. Become a member of an elite groupAbout .2% of the US population has a pilot’s license, making this a select group comprised of an exceptional few.
  4. Job flexibility—Experienced pilots have the luxury of working from various cities or wherever their jobs take them.
  5. See the world—Pilots get the unique opportunity to travel the world, experience exotic destinations, and learn about different cultures.
  6. Financially rewarding—Pilots have the potential to earn excellent salaries as their careers advance. Although airline and commercial pilots both fly and navigate airplanes, helicopters and other aircraft, airline pilots earned higher salaries than commercial pilots in 2016, according to the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  7. Improve your flight skills—Pilots never stop learning since they undergo continuous training to improve their skills. It’s a career that keeps you sharp and in-demand.
  8. Advance your career—The aviation industry opens doors to a variety of exclusive career paths. A pilot can climb the ranks, beginning as an officer and then progressing to captain, check and training captain, management, as well as transitioning to other types of aircraft such as charter flights, rescue missions, firefighting and aerial applications, just to name a few.
  9. Build confidence and sense of accomplishment—Taking your first solo flight may be the most satisfying and confidence-building experience of your lifetime. Pilots will likely learn more about themselves while training than they will at any other times in their lives. They are trained to make on-the-spot decisions and judge challenging situations, sometimes without any warning.
  10. Pilot shortage fuels demand—With the crippling pilot shortage projected over the next 20 years, there’s never been a better time for aviation enthusiasts to embrace their passion for flight and train to becoming a pilot. According to a recent report from Boeing, the aviation giant projects a staggering demand of more than 637,000 pilots by 2036.

If you’re interested in becoming a pilot, or want to work in―or around―aviation, then Vaughn College may be the institution to make it all happen for you. With certificate, associate, bachelor and master’s degree programs spanning various areas of the industry, Vaughn offers aviation enthusiasts a wide range of options where they can find the perfect career fit.

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Left-handed pilots are more prevalent in the aviation industry than one may think. Since about 10 percent of the population is left-handed, it makes one wonder why a large percentage of pilots are also left-handed, as many as 40 percent according to those in the field. This disproportionate ratio raises the question, “Are the challenges the same for right-handed pilots compared to left-handed pilots?”  In honor of International Left Handers Day, we want to recognize the “lefties” who are commandeering the skies, and touch down on any challenges they may face.

Living in a right-handed world

Many lefties consider themselves ambidextrous since they’ve learned to adapt to living in a right-handed world. And when it comes to flying an airplane, left-handed pilots say it’s all about the same. Pilots use both hands to fly an airplane and undergo rigorous training to master the task. Ask almost any left-handed pilot and they’ll say it really doesn’t make much . History speaks for itself as some of the most famous  aviators of our time are left-handed, including astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Jim Lovell and the late Wally Schirra, just to name a few.

All hands on deck

If you’ve ever flown on an airplane, you know there are two pilots in the cockpit―the captain and the first officer. When pilots begin their training, they are seated on the left in the captain’s seat with the yoke, or control column, on their left and the throttle in the middle on the right side. The flight instructor sits on the right in the first captain’s seat with the controls reversed. Since pilots need to know how to navigate from both positions, their left-handedness doesn’t really come into play since they need to master flying using either their right or left hands.

Getting it “write”

One drawback for most left-handed pilots is having to jot down notes while flying. They say it becomes second nature to them as they simply switch hands when they need to. Many left-handed pilots say learning to manipulate a throttle or stick is nowhere near as complex as learning how to write with your less-dominant hand.

August 13 is International Left Handers Day. If you are left-handed or know someone who is, then give yourself a hand with the knowledge that left-handed people are always in their right minds.

Interested in learning more about a career in Aviation?

Join our Aviation Training Institute Information Session on August 22!

Robots are developing emotions, and not in ways that you may think. Today’s technology is advancing the evolving relationship between robots and humans, moving it beyond the realm of “artificial intelligence” (AI).

New Advances

Although transformative advances have recently shifted AI to be referred to as “machine-learning systems,” there’s more than meets the eye with these mechanical wonders. Artificial general intelligence (AGI) is quietly emerging, adding some personality and a bit of emotion to existing intelligence. These advancements allow for more natural human interaction and the ability to develop motivation to solve problems in creative ways.

Autonomous robots are designed for the capability to gain information and work independently for extended periods of time. AGI now enhances these abilities by adding humanlike common sense, making the robots react in more clever ways when engaging in problem-solving tasks. “The future direction of automation and robotics is to make life simpler for future generations,” said Dr. Hossein Rahemi, chair of Vaughn College’s Engineering and Technology Department. “Robots can make life more relaxing by taking the stress out of the workplace and relieve some of the pressures that workers experience.”

The mechatronic, electrical and mechanical engineering programs at Vaughn College provide a solid foundation for students to secure jobs in the field of robotics. “Hands-on experience is critical to gain the necessary knowledge to be successful,” Rahemi said. “Our World Championship Robotics Team is the perfect example of how engineering students come together to apply their knowledge and achieve success.” As the technology behind autonomous robots continues to gain momentum, so does the demand for engineers to maintain it. “As professors, we never stop learning,” said Rahemi. “This constant flow of knowledge passes down to our students—giving them the edge they need to be relevant in the field.”

How industries are using robots to get ahead

A variety of industries are seeing autonomous robots as valuable assets to their businesses. This doesn’t mean robots are taking over the workforce. In fact, they can assist in making human employees’ jobs easier and more streamlined while helping businesses run more efficiently. The automotive industry is a field that is no stranger to using robots. For years, car makers have used robots to assist workers with daily tasks by facilitating more efficient, flexible and precise production lines, resulting in faster production times.

The world is seeing amazing advances in the medical industry, which is now using autonomous robots. Hospitals, for example, can use autonomous robots to quickly deliver lab results and pick up patient samples while navigating through hallways, which will free up time for health care professionals to tend to their patients and other responsibilities. And since some autonomous robots can detect emotion in the human voice, they can be used in more interactive settings to improve productivity and customer experience. Skilled surgeons are using a robot’s pinpoint accuracy to assist in delicate and complex surgeries and procedures. “Scientists, engineers and other industry experts are the sources behind this AI, giving life to the robots and fueling the future of autonomous robotic technology,” Rahemi said. “As much as robots are designed and programmed to help humans do a task, we still need human intelligence to make it all happen.”


With virtually endless advancements on the horizon, it’s just a matter of time before the world sees what researchers will develop next in the field of autonomous robotics. “Demand is skyrocketing as the industry is seeking talented engineers to be the human intelligence behind AI,” Rahemi explained. “The field is growing and expanding before our eyes and Vaughn is committed to educating our students to be the future intelligence of tomorrow. Our mechatronic engineering programs are testament to this commitment.”

Learn more about our mechatronic engineering degree.

Travelers may need to pack their patience this summer as an estimated 234 million passengers are expected to take to the skies. And, as airport delays tend to occur more frequently in the summer than they do in the winter, savvy travelers should think ahead when planning their vacation destinations.

MileCards.com, a loyalty credit card analyst, sorted out airport on-time arrival data from the department of transportation from 2007-2016 and compiled the on-time ratings for the country’s 50 busiest airports.

Narrowing it down, findings revealed that 40 percent of the top 50 airports have more airport delays in the summer than in the winter, including the popular destinations such as Atlanta, Boston, New York, Orlando, San Antonio, both Dallas area airports, and all three Washington, DC area airports.

Those venturing to Hawaii are in luck, as Kahului and Honolulu top the list for on time summer travel. Other western destinations that ranked among the most favorable were Salt Lake City and Orange County. For the Midwest, Minneapolis and Detroit came in as the best for on-time summer flights.

California tends to be a vacation hot spot, and travelers heading to San Jose and Oakland are good to go, because these two airports come in at numbers eight and 11, respectively, as the best airports for fewest summer airport delays. San Francisco, on the other hand, had more summer delays, partly due to coastal fog and parallel runways.

What airports are doing

No one wants to experience  airport delays―customers and airlines alike. In preparation for their busiest season, some airports are instituting the following to assist passengers during a high-traffic time of year:

  • Increase operations staff to keep delays to a minimum.
  • Increase the number of ambassadors to help passengers navigate seamlessly in and out of the airport.
  • Offer mobile phone apps designed to help passengers navigate where they need to be, monitor wait times and keep track of parking.
  • Have management work closely with airline partners to ensure facilities are adequately resourced and maintained.

What you can do

Since summer travel airport delays may occur, experts agree that being prepared and having a good attitude are key. Here are some travel tips before you take off:

  • Check for waived change fees before you check in.
  • Check if there’s severe weather in the forecast.
  • Use inflight Wi-Fi to rebook your flight if you think you might miss your connection.
  • Book earlier flights that tend to be on-time compared to flights that will leave later in the day.
  • Use certain travel credit cards that may offer compensation for delayed flights.

For those traveling with small children, parents may want to pack travel games and snacks to make the time go faster while they wait to board their flight. At the end of the day, it’s all about enjoying a safe summer vacation.

Happy travels!

At some point, you may have experienced the resonating sound of an airplane flying overhead, or, as a passenger, heard the rumble of a jet engine. If you haven’t noticed already, airplanes are getting quieter as new engine technology is making planes more efficient by reducing noise pollution, thus allowing for more eco-friendly flights.

Quieter skies/less pollution

Less noise in the air means less pollution overall. And we’re not just talking noise pollution. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is taking measures in cooperation with the aviation community to not only control aircraft noise but engine emissions. Captain Pete Russo, PhD, aviation department chair and assistant professor of aviation at Vaughn College, weighed in on the topic. “Part of the modernization from ground-based technology to satellite-based technology allows aircraft to change flight patterns, making for a more direct and efficient path—reducing time, fuel and fuel burn,” Russo stated. He explained other aviation measures that are in effect at airports, including:

  • Reducing transit traffic—Giving fewer planes clearance to fly at given times.
  • Utilizing computer sequencing programs—Limiting noise and engine smoke is helped by allowing a fewer number of planes to sit on the runway with their engines running.
  • Alternating departure and approach flight paths—Having flexible flight paths prevents planes from flying over the same air space, giving those on the ground who are in a flight path a break from overhead noise.
  • Soundproofing nearby buildings—Vaughn College is just one example of how soundproofing buildings significantly is decreasing noise pollution for students and faculty. Situated adjacent to New York’s LaGuardia Airport, Vaughn underwent a three-year, $26 million grant-funded project to soundproof its buildings and classrooms.

Soaring advances

Russo stands optimistic as he’s seen firsthand how the aviation industry is leaning in the direction of “greener” flights. “Our engineering students at Vaughn are in the lab as we speak, designing 3D printed composite airplane parts,” said Russo. “Lighter parts and lighter engines allow for more efficient planes. I’m confident it won’t be long before we see electric-powered planes in our skies.”

Major airlines switching to quieter planes

According to a recent article published in the Times Ledger, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines are taking the initiative to reduce airplane noise over Queens, New York and LaGuardia Airport by discontinuing the use of the McDonnell Douglas MD-80s aircraft and opting to use “quieter and more fuel-efficient” planes. Once the biggest fleet in American Airlines history, the MD-80s will be replaced with the more fuel-efficient Airbus A319s, Airbus A320s, Boeing 737s, and a limited number of MD-90 airplanes as replacements. Russo explained how other carriers will most likely follow suit as older planes such as the MD80 are louder and less efficient.

Earth Day’s Mission

Although noise pollution is not something you can visually see, it is there nonetheless. This year’s Earth Day campaign theme is Environmental and Climate Literacy. Making airplanes more fuel-efficient goes hand in hand with Earth Day’s mission for protecting the environment from climate change and educating the public on protecting our planet.

Russo’s take

The movement to make airplanes lighter and more efficient is underway. Russo proudly said Vaughn is in the race to develop technology for a more Earth-friendly flight. “The ‘greening’ of airplanes will be a monumental change in the aviation industry,” Russo stated. “There’s no opposition?the momentum is unstoppable. At this rate, the sky’s the limit.”

The next time your flight is delayed due to weather, try to muster up some patience. Air travel during stormy weather can be a challenging experience for both travelers and airport management. Just ask anyone in the northeast who had travel plans during the recent snowstorms. Travelers are eager to get to their destinations, and airport personnel work hard to get them there safely.

Since no one can control the weather, it’s important to know how airports follow strict protocol to maintain the safety of all passengers.

Before the Storm

Navigating through a storm begins with monitoring the impending weather so that airport management can begin the process of securing the area. Some of the measures that may be taken include:

Securing Equipment

To avoid equipment from being damaged in a storm, personnel will secure and relocate equipment such as tugs and pullies (the equipment that pulls and pushes an aircraft) to an area close to the terminal or gate area.

Evacuating Aircraft

To protect the airplanes, dispatchers will assign planes to be evacuated to different hubs or airport gating areas in various parts of the country where the storm is not expected to hit.

During the Storm

Travelers should expect flight delays and cancellations during inclement weather. One might suspect it’s the inability for the airplane to navigate in the less than ideal weather, but knowing the intense protocol airports enforce to keep passengers safe may encourage more patience. Here is a snapshot of what happens:

Increased Personnel in the Air Traffic Control Tower

During an active storm, there is intense communication to ensure everyone’s safety. It’s important to have extra personnel in the control tower to make sure everything is being communicated effectively and that all inquiries are being answered in real-time.


Depending on the size of the aircraft, de-icing can take anywhere between 15 to 30 minutes. De-icing is only performed on departing planes and planes scheduled for a turnaround flight. Clearing alley and taxi ways is also part of the de-icing process. Here is how it’s done:

  • Trucks remove snow from alley ways, taxi ways and gate areas and bring it to a steamer where it is melted immediately. Maintenance crews are always on call to repair any steamer that is malfunctioning to prevent snow from piling up.
  • Planes are de-iced on the alley way prior to departing. Four de-icing machines work to remove all the standing snow that has accumulated on the aircraft. Once all the snow has been removed, a special liquid is then put on the plane to prevent additional snow from sticking to it.
  • Arriving aircraft that are not scheduled for a turnaround flight do not get de-iced and are sent to a hangar.

Working Together

Maintaining air traffic is critical for smooth and safe airport operations, so it’s important that all airport personnel do their part. These are the steps that are put into place to get a plane off the ground:

  • Fueling the Plane
  • “Catering” the Plane―Replenishing the plane with refreshments, etc.
  • Instilling Customer Service―Boarding passengers safely onto the plane and loading luggage and cargo.
  • Attending to the Pilot’s Needs―Pilots may request maintenance checks or personal items.
  • Disconnecting the Jet Bridge―Ensuring the bridge is disconnected prior to take off.

Thoughts from a Vaughn Alumnus

“Understanding airport management and protocols is the key to a successful career,” said Patrick Batey ’16, a graduate of Vaughn College’s airport management program. Batey credits Vaughn with being instrumental in preparing him for his career in aviation. “Everything I learned at Vaughn, I have used as stepping stones to get me where I am today. I love the aviation industry and Vaughn was there every step of the way to help me live my dream.”

Celebrating Aviation History Month

For over 80 years, aviation enthusiasts have flocked to Vaughn College to study the field of aeronautics. In keeping with the spirit of Aviation History Month, we decided to chronicle the exciting pathway that has brought Vaughn College to the forefront of aeronautics education.

So, how did it all begin?

In 1932, the institution opened its doors as the Casey Jones School of Aeronautics and trained the first generation of aircraft maintenance technicians at a hangar in Newark Airfield, which was the world’s busiest airport at the time.

By the late 1930s, the New York area welcomed its first airport―LaGuardia―pioneered by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia. Coincidentally, LaGuardia befriended George Vaughn and Casey Jones during World War I, where he served in Europe as a member of the New York National Guard.

To align with his passion and dedication to aviation, LaGuardia wanted a world-class training facility to support his vision of a world-class airport. This idea inspired him to offer Vaughn and Jones space at the airport where they could expand their institution. This generous offer sparked their shared vision for keeping New York at the forefront of aviation. Vaughn and Jones accepted and the Academy of Aeronautics was born.

By the mid-to-late 1940s, after World War II ended, Vaughn and Jones decided to consolidate their operations at the Academy of Aeronautics at the LaGuardia location and permanently shut down their Newark campus.

In 2004, the College of Aeronautics officially became Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology.

Campus upgrades over the years

In 1998, the campus underwent a major transformation that included a 35,000 square-foot addition which consisted of a new lobby, an observation deck overlooking LaGuardia Airport, a two-story classroom and a hangar.

And in 2007, to broaden their campus community, a 200-bed residence hall was built for students.

Developing a growing program

In the early years, Vaughn decided to add aeronautical engineering technology and the nation’s first aircraft design program to expand their curriculum and draw a wider scope of students. This academic broadening was a critical move to position the institution as a full-scale college to serve not only the maintenance needs of the industry but the design, engineering and management aspects as well.

Over the years, the institution added numerous new bachelor of science (BS) degree programs in flight, airline and airport management, general management, electronic engineering, and mechatronic, electrical and mechanical engineering. The College also maintained its commitment to enhance its students’ learning experience with the addition of renovated laboratories and classrooms, a sophisticated flight simulator, an air traffic control laboratory and a 3D prototyping innovation center, just to name a few.

Long history of opportunities

Vaughn’s various industry connections―which include aeronautical design companies, The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ)―and close relationships with area airlines and airports have set the pace for the College’s high job placement rate. You can find Vaughn alumni working at every airport in the area, including LaGuardia Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport and Westchester County Airport.

More than 90% of Vaughn’s students receive some form of financial aid to make their dreams affordable and within reach.

Many things, including the name, have changed at Vaughn over the years, but its vision has remained the same: to train its graduates to enter the workforce with the education that their profession demands and the skills to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

Have questions for us or want to learn more about our aviation programs?  Learn more

The recently reported pilot shortage has left the aviation industry scrambling to fill cockpit seats to meet global air travel demand. Per aviation experts, this shortage has been a long time coming and could take years to fix. For aspiring pilots, however, there could be a silver lining―more job availability and higher salaries.

What’s causing the pilot shortage?

Recent reports state that the government-mandated requirement to increase flight hours for first officers from 250 to 1,500 hours has put a strain on the flow of qualified pilots who can secure jobs in the field. Other significant factors contributing to the shortage include the increasing number of aging pilots reaching retirement age, higher training fees to meet the FAA flight hour requirement and global economic expansion.

How will the shortage affect the industry and passengers?

Fewer pilots in the air means more passengers on the ground. Service to smaller cities will be reduced since those shorter routes use smaller planes, which will thus hold less passengers but still require two pilots in the cockpit. This reduced service to less dense cities may put commuters back behind their wheels and driving to their destinations.

The US Air Force has seen a significant decrease in their pilot pool, with more than 500 pilots leaving the force over the past five years while more pilot jobs are being added. The Air Force expects it may take five to 10 years to fill the gap, due mostly to the time it takes to complete fighter pilot training and to reactivate bases.

How will the shortage be addressed?

Increased Pay―Some commercial airlines and their subsidiaries are increasing the salaries for entry-level pilots and even offering incentives such as signing and retention bonuses.

As a measure to retain their pilots―and deter them from taking jobs with commercial airlines for more money―US Air Force officials are turning to Congress to increase the end of service pilot bonuses from $25,000 per year to $48,000-$50,000.

Airport Expansions―Airports such as LaGuardia International Airport in New York are undergoing expansive redevelopment and modernization projects to meet forecasted passenger growth. At LaGuardia, for example, terminal ramp space is being expanded to accommodate the projected use of larger sized planes that hold more passengers.

Peter Russo’s take

With 20 years of service as a pilot in the United States Air Force and 24 years of extensive experience in the airline industry, Dr. Peter Russo, aviation department chair and assistant professor of aviation at Vaughn College, has witnessed vast changes in the industry over the years.

“I believe the safety factor relating to the FAA requirement for more flight time is justified,” Russo said. “It’s a cyclical process. It’s about adjusting the flow from retiring pilots to instructor pilots becoming industry pilots.” He explained how the shortage is more of a delay, since it’s taking aspiring pilots longer to earn their certifications. “The additional flight time should not be considered a burden but another level of safety for everyone on board,” said Russo. “In time, it will all level out.”

What does this mean for Vaughn aviation students?

Vaughn College is seeing a record number of students responding to the pilot shortage. Job availability and increased pay are major motivators for students to pursue a degree in aviation. “It’s an excellent time to become a pilot,” said Dr. Russo. “It’s a great feeling to know there will be a seat waiting for you in a cockpit.”

Today, 3D printing technology is revolutionizing the aviation industry as 3D printed structural components are integrated into aircraft that are flying above and beyond engineers’ wildest dreams. The idea of creating an unmanned aerial system (UAS), commonly know as a drone, from a majority of 3D printed components is no longer just a futuristic possibility, but something that may be seen in the near future.

What is 3D printing?

The process of 3D printing involves creating three-dimensional solid objects from a digital file by laying down layers of material—one on top of the other—until the final object is created. Skilled engineers use computer software programs to design the desired parts and then print them using a 3D printer.

How are 3D printed aircraft changing the industry?

This revolutionary process is an industry game changer as it not only saves time, but virtually eliminates outside manufacturing and reduces labor costs.

Today’s heat-resistant composite materials used in the aerospace industry, including 3D printed components, are enhancing structural properties and increasing fatigue life, making the structures more corrosion-resistant and reducing the weight of the structure, thus allowing for better structural performance.

A significant factor, if not one of the most important, is how these innovative systems can keep man out of harm’s way. The aviation industry uses UAS to take images and collect data in dangerous areas such as war zones and fires. This safety factor is critical in gathering important information while keeping man safe in life-threatening situations.

Engineering and Engineering Technology Degrees

Vaughn College offers a wide range of engineering and engineering technology degrees that can prepare students for an exciting career in aeronautics and set them apart from the competition.

The below programs are just a few of the majors offered at Vaughn that provide students with a rigorous and comprehensive course of study to enable them to become successful in their chosen fields.

3D prototyping innovation center

Last month, the engineering and technology department at Vaughn launched their 3D prototyping innovation center, which was equipped with 15 3D printers and two 3D scanners. This space offers students a hands-on opportunity to bring their classroom knowledge to life by applying the concepts they learned and then turn them into physical objects.

“Our 3D prototyping innovation center is just another way we are placing advanced technology at our students’ fingertips and challenging them to be the best they can be,” said Dr. Hossein Rahemi, engineering and technology department chair.

Join the club

Vaughn students and faculty agree that there’s no better way to stay ahead of the curve in this ever-changing world of technology than to join one of their on-campus clubs. Just this past May, the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Club coordinated their first International Drone Day event in an effort to raise awareness and celebrate these flying wonders. Among the workshops was an introduction to 3D printing.

Dr. Hossein Rahemi’s thoughts on the future

“My vision is to keep students engaged and give them a platform to have an elevated mind,” said Dr. Rahemi. “The idea of using 3D printed structural components is already proving to be successful. I believe we will see the use of this technology increase dramatically in the future for the manufacturing of aircraft parts.”

Expecting Half-a-Million Visitors

Eyes around the world will be focused on Rio de Janeiro this month as the Brazilian city hosts the 2016 Summer Olympic games beginning today, August 5. With an estimated half-a-million visitors expected to land for the world-wide mega sporting event, the city’s only international airport known as Galeao has recently undergone a $2 billion renovation, transforming its infrastructure to handle the influx of flights, passenger traffic and to improve the visitor experience.

With the 2014 World Cup behind them, airport management realized there would be a greater aviation challenge in preparing for the 2016 Olympic games with the significant increase in commercial and charter flights as well as receiving more heads of state. Galeao airport is the fourth busiest airport in South America handling over 14.5 million passengers annually (or about 40,000 passengers on an average day). With that number expected to reach over 90,000 on some days throughout the games, management has instituted specific operating plans to ensure the best possible experience for both airport personnel and worldwide visitors.

What is Al Graser’s take?

Al Graser, an adjunct professor who teaches airport and operations management at Vaughn College, shared his insight on the renovations, advancements and improvements at Galeao. With 40 years of experience at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and his stellar reputation as general manager at New York’s La Guardia and John F. Kennedy (JFK) international airports, Graser is well versed in all aspects of aviation operations.

Brazil put forth a major effort to prepare for the 2016 Olympic games,” said Graser. “It appears this type of investment will ensure the security, service and operations for all users of the airport during the Olympic games and into the future.

Exciting Enhancements

The vast renovations to Galeao have overturned the airport’s unfavorable ranking as one of the country’s worst airports. It has two terminals, with Terminal 2 receiving the majority of international flights. Terminal 2 is home to a new section that spans the length of almost 10 football fields and is equipped with 26 additional boarding bridges to ease the flow of passengers boarding and deplaning the aircraft. To make the experience even more enjoyable for visitors, Galeao doubled and modernized the duty-free shopping area in Terminal 2 with an additional 86,000 square feet, including 100 new shops and restaurants, while business travelers now have over 64,000 square feet of their own exclusive space devoted to lounges and executive areas. The airport also expanded their parking facilities and installed new X-ray scanners, elevators, moving walkways and 68 new check-in desks to facilitate a more seamless travel experience.

They’ve Got an App for That

To keep up with technology and meet passenger demand, 3,000 Bluetooth beacons and 500 Wi-Fi hot spots were installed throughout the airport. To make the Rio experience even more exciting and help facilitate a more enjoyable travel experience, Galeao is now the first airport in South America to offer its own indoor navigation app, called RIOgaleao. The app is available in English, Portuguese and Spanish and features real-time flight and arrival information to lessen the potential overcrowding around airport monitors. Users will not only enjoy the convenience of maps and routes to navigate the massive airport, but they can also find information on airport shops, restaurants and public transportation in the surrounding areas. Other useful features on the app include paying for parking and live chat support.

Automated Passport Process

With sporting enthusiasts traveling to Rio from all corners of the world, Galeao anticipated the immigration crunch and planned ahead by installing electronic eGates to automate the passport process. They even built a new Welcome Center in Terminal 2 with a friendly multi-lingual staff to provide visitors with city and transportation information.

More Room for Aircraft Parking

On the ground, the airport has increased its number of physical aircraft parking spaces. Galeao now has 97 certified, full-time parking spaces (24 of which are E-class), and has increased its capacity to receive business jets. With hundreds of heads of state expected to attend the games, the Galeao Air Base will receive head-of-state flights and will have the ability to handle three airplanes every 20 minutes. Security measures are in place at Galeao that allow business jets to land only between the hours of 2 a.m. and 8 a.m. Rio’s domestic airport, Santos Dumont (which is located in the heart of downtown), will be operating 24 hours a day during the Olympic games allowing for an additional 180 business aviation flights during the hours between midnight and 6 a.m.

Increased Security for Visitors

Rio de Janeiro is currently on high-alert with a full-scale mobilization of military units which began late last month ahead of the Olympic games. Soldiers have been deployed to Galeao, the famous Copacabana Beach and throughout the city. The Brazilian government said it plans to mobilize more than 85,000 personnel including approximately 22,000 soldiers.