On 1st Anniversary of AIR-21, Airports Mark Progress; Cite Capacity Shortfalls

Apr 04, 2001, 01:00 ET from Airports Council International - North America

    ALEXANDRIA, Va., and WASHINGTON, April 4 /PRNewswire/ -- The American
 Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) and the Airports Council
 International-North America (ACI-NA) marked the first anniversary of landmark
 aviation legislation citing both progress made and serious challenges ahead.
     (Photo:  NewsCom:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/19990915/ACILOGO )
     "One year ago tomorrow, the President signed AIR-21, a truly landmark
 aviation bill," said ACI-NA President David Z. Plavin. "And there is good news
 and bad news.  The good news is that, as a result of this legislation, our
 airports have greater access to funds for airport improvements.  The bad news
 is that many critical expansion projects, particularly runways, are enmeshed
 in a tangled web of regulatory and permitting requirements that prevents
 airports from meeting increased air passenger demand."
     Main components of AIR-21 included increasing AIP funding to $3.3 billion
 for FY '02 and raising the Passenger Facility Charges (PFCs) to $4.50.
 Dollars generated for local airports by PFCs are used for improvements that
 directly benefit passengers and communities -- for safety, security, and noise
 mitigation, as well as building terminal and landside infrastructure to meet
 the ever-growing need for air transportation.  The dollars that result from
 PFC contributions go directly to reducing delays at the facilities where they
 are charged.
     Earlier this week, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced
 their approval for 30 U.S. airports to increase PFCs to $4.50.
 (http://www.airportnet.org/depts/federal/budget/faa.pdf )
     "Congress deserves major credit for providing additional resources in both
 the authorization and appropriations process, but we need additional help,"
 said AAAE President Chip Barclay. "We call upon Congress to enact legislation
 to expedite the runway approval process to help ease congestion in the
 aviation system that will be even more evident in the weeks and months to
 come."
     Last month AAAE and ACI-NA submitted a legislative proposal to Congress
 and the Bush Administration that would reduce aviation system gridlock. The
 proposal, titled the "Expedited Airport System Enhancement (EASE)" initiative,
 would give priority to national airport capacity projects identified as most
 critical and streamline reviews of these projects without relaxing or changing
 existing environmental laws.  The goal is to speed runway construction and
 other critical expansion projects by streamlining and expediting current
 environmental reviews.  Only six new runways have been added to large hub
 airports during the last 10 years and the United States is already 50 miles of
 runways short to be able to meet future air travel demands.
     Passenger traffic in the United States has increased by 40 percent in the
 past 10 years and is expected to exceed one billion by the end of the decade.
 In order to keep pace with anticipated passenger growth, airports would have
 to re-create the equivalent of the 17 largest airports or 10 new airports the
 size of Atlanta Hartsfield, Chicago O'Hare or Dallas/Ft. Worth, according to
 an ACI-NA economic estimate.
 
 

SOURCE Airports Council International - North America
    ALEXANDRIA, Va., and WASHINGTON, April 4 /PRNewswire/ -- The American
 Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) and the Airports Council
 International-North America (ACI-NA) marked the first anniversary of landmark
 aviation legislation citing both progress made and serious challenges ahead.
     (Photo:  NewsCom:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/19990915/ACILOGO )
     "One year ago tomorrow, the President signed AIR-21, a truly landmark
 aviation bill," said ACI-NA President David Z. Plavin. "And there is good news
 and bad news.  The good news is that, as a result of this legislation, our
 airports have greater access to funds for airport improvements.  The bad news
 is that many critical expansion projects, particularly runways, are enmeshed
 in a tangled web of regulatory and permitting requirements that prevents
 airports from meeting increased air passenger demand."
     Main components of AIR-21 included increasing AIP funding to $3.3 billion
 for FY '02 and raising the Passenger Facility Charges (PFCs) to $4.50.
 Dollars generated for local airports by PFCs are used for improvements that
 directly benefit passengers and communities -- for safety, security, and noise
 mitigation, as well as building terminal and landside infrastructure to meet
 the ever-growing need for air transportation.  The dollars that result from
 PFC contributions go directly to reducing delays at the facilities where they
 are charged.
     Earlier this week, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced
 their approval for 30 U.S. airports to increase PFCs to $4.50.
 (http://www.airportnet.org/depts/federal/budget/faa.pdf )
     "Congress deserves major credit for providing additional resources in both
 the authorization and appropriations process, but we need additional help,"
 said AAAE President Chip Barclay. "We call upon Congress to enact legislation
 to expedite the runway approval process to help ease congestion in the
 aviation system that will be even more evident in the weeks and months to
 come."
     Last month AAAE and ACI-NA submitted a legislative proposal to Congress
 and the Bush Administration that would reduce aviation system gridlock. The
 proposal, titled the "Expedited Airport System Enhancement (EASE)" initiative,
 would give priority to national airport capacity projects identified as most
 critical and streamline reviews of these projects without relaxing or changing
 existing environmental laws.  The goal is to speed runway construction and
 other critical expansion projects by streamlining and expediting current
 environmental reviews.  Only six new runways have been added to large hub
 airports during the last 10 years and the United States is already 50 miles of
 runways short to be able to meet future air travel demands.
     Passenger traffic in the United States has increased by 40 percent in the
 past 10 years and is expected to exceed one billion by the end of the decade.
 In order to keep pace with anticipated passenger growth, airports would have
 to re-create the equivalent of the 17 largest airports or 10 new airports the
 size of Atlanta Hartsfield, Chicago O'Hare or Dallas/Ft. Worth, according to
 an ACI-NA economic estimate.
 
 SOURCE  Airports Council International - North America