Texas Airports Face Mutual Challenges

Sep 27, 2011, 20:27 ET from Houston Airport System

HOUSTON, Sept. 27, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Texas airport executives gathered in Houston to address common challenges, including the threat of less funding, airline mergers and a weak economy. Recent Federal Aviation Administration partial shutdowns created additional stress on airports' financial sustainability. Laws and regulations, both at the federal and state levels, can prevent Texas airports from operating efficiently and moving forward with economic development.

"Airports undertaking development are economic drivers, which depend on supportive laws and policies that will allow Texas airports to sustain financial viability and invest in needed infrastructure improvements," said Jeffrey P. Fegan, CEO of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. "We look forward to working closely with federal and state lawmakers and regulators to promote our shared objectives."

Texas airports play a critical role in the economic vitality of many Texan communities. Together, the combined Texas public commercial airports served over 135 million passengers in 2010—and that number is growing since many Texas airports are reporting increased passenger and cargo traffic despite the poor economy.

"If the federal government isn't going to fully fund the nation's needs for airport infrastructure maintenance and improvement, then Congress needs to give local communities the legal authority to do that, so that airports can determine their own futures," said Frank Miller, Aviation Director of San Antonio International Airport.

Airport construction projects, known to create jobs, require a long lead time and airport leaders say the key is determining early how to fund infrastructure projects.

"Congress needs to permanently reclassify airport bonds to avoid making these bonds more expensive and less attractive to investors," explains Mario Diaz, Director of Houston Airport System. "It would help airports become more self-sufficient financially and allow us to fund projects that will help kick start our economy."

In coming months, Texas airports will continue dialoguing with each other to learn ways to best serve the public and the communities that depend on commercial air service. The following commercial airports participated in the meeting:

  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
  • George Bush Intercontinental Airport (Houston)
  • William P. Hobby Airport (Houston)
  • Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
  • San Antonio International Airport
  • Dallas Love Field
  • El Paso International Airport
  • Jack Brooks Regional Airport (Beaumont)
  • Easterwood Airport (Bryan/College Station)
  • Brownsville/South Padre International Airport
  • McAllen-Miller International Airport
  • Valley International Airport (Harlingen)

SOURCE Houston Airport System