The purpose of the ACI-NA Finance Committee is to create a platform of information sharing among airports to improve the economic health of the airport industry:
- Initiate and complete an annual work plan on financial and business matters that will benefit the airport industry;
- Actively provide the ACI-NA Board and other ACI-NA committees with input to key financial and business legislative and/or policy matters, and to coordinate selected initiatives;
- Assist ACI-NA with the coordination of the Business of Airports Conference each year;
- Plan and hold an Airport CFO Summit each year to share ideas and best practices;
- Actively support financial benchmarking initiatives so that airports can measure and improve performance;
- Actively support ACRP finance initiatives and report progress to the Committee.
2021 Committee Accomplishments
Managing the Airport Community through the financial impact of COVID
- The Committee supported the airport community in their efforts to handle financial challenges resulted from the COVID crisis through monthly CFO calls, and various polls and survey efforts.
- The monthly CFO calls address timely topics that covered: legislative and regulatory update, issues and questions on the relief package especially as it relates to the concession portion, impact of COVID on airport cash policy and rates & charges, workforce challenges and potential solutions, rental car contracts and contracts with TURO among other topics. The calls also provided update on the state of the airline industry and the most recent airport bond issuances.
- The committee conducted various polls and surveys to gather information regarding COVID testing cost, projected cost per enplanement post COVID, return to office policy, and how airports are using the relief funds to help their airline partners and concessionaires, percent of Food & Beverage and Retail locations still closed, airport traffic forecast and how long the Federal relief grants will last.
The 15th Airport CFO Summit
- The Committee organized the virtual CFO Summit with over 112 attendees which is a new record. Attendees were able to interact with the facilitators and speakers to share ideas and opinions. The summit discussed many challenges facing airport CFOs and provided them a platform to seek advice from their peers and share good practices and lessons learned.
Accounting and Financing Working Group
- Memo on revenue and expense recognition preliminary viewsThe working group drafted a memo to provide a summary of the Preliminary Views of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (“GASB”) on major issues related to Revenue and Expense Recognition (“Project No. 4-6P”, or “the PV”). The PV of the GASB discusses the GASB’s views on the (1) categorization, (2) recognition, and (3) a limited discussion related to the measurement of revenue and expense transactions within the scope of the project. The working group will discuss next steps during the monthly call with the Steering Group in February as to whether or not we should file comments on behalf of the industry.
- Comment letter to the GASB in support of GASB 87 implementation guideDrafted a comment letter to the GASB in support of two implementation guide questions that provide clarity and simplify one aspect of the accounting airports will be required to perform under GASB 87. The comment letter is under review and will be submitted in final form prior to the February 15, 2021 comment letter deadline.
- Submitting industry comments on Moody’s request for comments on their ESG proposed methodology updateIn response to Moody’s request, the Committee quickly assembled a taskforce that includes representatives from both the Finance and Environmental Affairs Committees. The taskforce had a number of calls to discuss industry comments and helped ACI-NA submit comments on behalf of the industry on March 26.
- GASB 87 webinarAs the required implementation date for GASB 87 approaches, the Accounting and Financing Working Group organized a webinar on Oct.20 that goes beyond the authoritative requirements of GASB 87 and focuses on practical implementation issues affecting airports, such as selecting a discount rate, handling adjustable minimum annual guarantee provisions, compiling information for regulated lease disclosures, and preparing for audit. The webinar speakers included two airports that are in the advanced stages of their GASB 87 implementation and two public accounting professionals to share their insights and perspectives. The webinar attracted a total of 295 registered attendees.
Airport and Airline Business Working Group
- Webinar on COVID 19 Impact on Airline Rates and Charges
The Airport and Airline Business Working Group is working on organizing two webinars in December to discuss how the pandemic has altered how airports and airlines view risk. Airline agreements or rate ordinances will likely be impacted by this reevaluation of risks. Panelists will discuss lessons learned and new risk considerations in the following areas: Terminal Rate Methodologies, Liquidity, Terminal Capital Expenditure/Capital Improvement Program/Majority-in-Interest, and Gate Rights/Control.
Financial Regulatory Implications Working Group
- Efforts to make TIFIA a more valuable financing tool for airports
ACI-NA has been actively working with the U.S. DOT Build American Bureau (BAB) to identify opportunities to make TIFIA more-friendly to airports. Access to TIFIA Program could be a valuable tool for airports during COVID-19 recovery to facilitate infrastructure development and lower borrowing costs than traditional GARBs. The working group formed a TIFIA taskforce to identify and prioritize “wish list” from airports for legislative and regulatory policy advocacy and develop a better understanding as to why airports have not utilized the existing TIFIA program. Taskforce members made a presentation to the Build America Bureau in December 2020 to help elaborate the issues airports have with the current TIFIA program and answered questions from BAB officials. Taskforce members also made a similar presentation during the CFO Summit to share our recommendations with airport CFOs. Recently bipartisan TIFIA for Airports bills were introduced in both House and Senate that expand TIFIA to include PFC-eligible projects at airports.
- Research efforts to address competition issues in response to the President’s Executive Order
On July 9, 2021, the President issued an executive order on promoting competition in the America economy, which requires the Secretary of Transportation to address competition issues in air transportation. The Financial Regulatory Implications Working Group undertook efforts to develop background information by reviewing past FAA, GAO and ACI Europe reports on this subject and inviting the subject matter expert – Professional Jonathan Williams to share his past research. In addition, the Working Group brainstormed potential legislative and regulatory actions and potential actions airports can undertake. The working group will continue to monitor actions to be taken by the U.S. DOT and determine further research needed. We are relying on U.S. DOT/FAA direction to better determine a clear direction for the working group on areas that well serve the industry.
Strategic Planning and Performance Management Working Group
- Annual ACI-NA financial benchmarking surveyACI-NA has been conducting the annual ACI-NA Airport Financial Benchmarking Survey since 2007. This survey has proven to be a valuable tool for U.S. and Canadian airports in evaluating their operational and financial performance relative to their peers. This survey is overseen by the Strategic Planning and Performance Management Working Group. This year the effort has been focusing on airport outreach to encourage more airports to participate. As of Oct.20, a total of 97 airports responded to the FY2020 survey. The ACI-NA economic affairs and research team is working on developing a final summary presentation to be made by the Working Group leadership in Reno on November 7, 2021. A webinar will also be scheduled to share the final survey results with those who are unable to attend the meeting in Reno.
ACI-NA Commentary on Finance
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