ANCHORAGE - The Alaska Air Carrier Association is hoping to make safety and maintenance training more convenient for air carrier employees who might otherwise have to pay upward of $2,000 to travel to the Lower 48 for such training, said Joy Journeay, the group's executive director.
The association's 44th annual convention and trade show, which runs from March 1 to 5, will offer a variety of training sessions and certification opportunities, and any carrier in Alaska can send all of its employees to these sessions for a fee of $1,099.
Alaska Airlines will offer free flights for all industry attendees.
Journeay said 10 hours of safety training will be devoted to mitigation of safety hazards like airborne and bloodborne pathogens during the latter two days of the event.
If a sick person injures his or her hand, for instance, while on board an airplane, and the injury causes bleeding, crews need to be able to keep other passengers from being exposed to the drawn blood, Journeay said.
These safety training sessions, sponsored by Crowley Petroleum, will also deal with Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards and how carriers can effectively avoid violating these regulations.
The event also will offer sessions on improvements to airline infrastructure, approaches to airports and changes in radar technology, among other topics.
The $1,099 fee allows all employees of the given company to attend these educational events and obtain certification in various areas related to piloting and maintaining aircraft, but that fee only allows two employees to enjoy the banquets and luncheons offered at the event.
Such events include a reception ceremony on the first night, and a bevy of lunch gatherings where presenters will speak on issues related to the aviation industry.
Journeay said the event will be extended for a couple of hours in the evening to allow maintenance and safety officials, who often work into the evening time due to the demands of their jobs, to mingle, network and share experiences with other officials in the field. Happy hour events have been introduced to facilitate that need.
The conference also will offer a review of the number of aviation accidents that took place in Alaska within the last fiscal year, including injuries sustained by those on board the planes. Peter Devaris, system safety and analysis branch manager with the Alaskan Region Flights Standards Division at the Federal Aviation Administration, will present the analysis.
Both air carrier officials and members of the general public can enjoy the trade show component of the event, in which 30 to 36 vendors will demonstrate new and upcoming products ranging from spotlights for air medical operations to enhanced vision products that let pilots and crews see through fog and other visual obstructions. Insurance companies and officials from the University of Alaska Anchorage also will have booths.
The trade show will start March 2 and end March 4, and admission is free.
The entire event will be held at the Captain Cook Hotel in downtown Anchorage. Individuals not attending through their companies can attend the educational events and banquets for a fee of $490. Companies and individuals can register to attend the event until the end of the first day.
Journeay expects to see 60 to 70 air carriers attending the event, with 80 to 100 companies within various aviation support industries to be present. The conference will be sponsored by a variety of companies, with the biggest contribution being made by Era Alaska.
The association was founded in 1966, and is comprised of a number of Alaska-based small air carriers.