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.
2022 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 COVID relief package especially the concession relief grants related issues, FAA audit & compliance for the three COVID relief grants, BIL implementation challenges, budget and personnel compensation increases, and payment for parking transactions, among other topics. The calls also included updates on the most recent airport bond issuances.
- The committee conducted various polls and surveys to gather information regarding airport traffic forecast, projected cost per enplanement post COVID, return to office policy, use of the relief funds to help airline partners and concessionaires, duration of using the Federal relief grants, CIP planning, BIL related questions – airports’ intention to apply and confidence level, and Build America, Buy America requirement. Some of the information collected through the CFO polls is critical to inform the policy positions and underpinning regulatory work undertaken by ACI-NA.
The 16th Airport CFO Summit
- Building on the success of 15 airport annual CFO Summits, the Committee organized its 16th event as an in-person meeting in Orlando with a total of 61 airport attendees.
- The 2022 event included eight roundtable discussions covering the following topics: opportunities and challenges in accessing various government funding programs, talent recruitment and retention, data governance and digital strategies, disruptive technology, airport rate-setting, and airline agreements.
Representing the interest of U.S. airports with FAA’s ICAO representatives
- ACI-NA has established a dialogue between the FAA representative at ICAO’s airport rates and charges policy-making forum and a few U.S. airports tasked with representing the airport community. FAA used to take positions on rates and charges policy without consultation of the airports, and ACI-NA has worked towards ensuring that a communication channel is opened and utilized to inform FAA’s positions and ensure they are aligned with U.S. airports’ interests.
Accounting and Financing Working Group
- Accounting an Financing Discussion Forum
The Working Group launched a new discussion forum to establish an ongoing process for connecting the broader accounting and finance teams of ACI-NA members to increase cooperation, coordination, sharing of best practices and exchange ideas and challenges experienced on the front line. This new Discussion Forum will provide a forum for U.S. and Canadian airport accounting and finance personnel to communicate on matters related to:
- Accounting and financial reporting
- Financing market conditions and opportunities
- Regulatory compliance and professional standards
- Emerging issues and trends
- Related best practices
Close to 140 accounting and finance airport and associate members signed up to participate in this new forum.
The Working Group organized an introductory web meeting on Nov. 16 to provide orientation with 79 participants. The meeting discussed various hot topics including GASB 87 and 96 status check and future impact, grant funding and compliance issues, and accounting and financial reporting practices.
- GASB 87 webinar
The Working Group organized a webinar featuring representative panelists from five airports regarding the implementation of GASB Statement Number 87. Panelists discussed their experience with the adoption of the standard, including challenges faced, lessons learned, and provided general insight to other airports in the adoption process. A total of 216 individuals registered for this webinar. Based on the webinar evaluation, attendees appreciated the valuable information and gained insights and perspectives as the required implementation date for GASB 87 started in June 2022.
- Meeting with GASB Leadership
The working group met with the GASB leadership on Oct.26 to learn ongoing GASB projects. This has become an annual event that results in some really important dialogue between the airport industry and the GASB. This year’s meeting, in particular, raised an important discussion on a current GASB exposure draft on certain risk disclosures. Upon our request, the GASB leadership provided us an extra month so that we can formalize our airport industry feedback into written comments.
Airport and Airline Business Working Group
- 2022 Airport Business Term Survey
The ACI-NA Business Term Survey has been conducted since 2015 and has been well received with over sixty airport respondents annually. The survey was temporarily suspended during the COVID crisis to allow airports to focus on crisis management. Now that the industry is back on a recovery path, the working group decided to restart the survey this year. With the help of ACI-NA staff, the working group migrated the survey to Alchemer (formerly known as SurveyMonkey), which provides a more user-friendly interface with stronger capability to generate output data. This survey catalogues commonly understood airport-airline business practices and Use and Lease Agreement terms, and serves as a tool assisting airports in discussions with airlines over leases, rates and charges and other agreements by providing examples of where similar practices are in place. The working group held a roundtable session during the Business of Airports Conference to explain the survey questions. A total of 60 airports responded to this year’s survey. The final results were presented at the Finance Workshop held in Minneapolis. Airport level information was shared with all participating airports.
- Webinar on COVID 19 Impact on Airline Rates and Charges
The Working Group organized two webinars in December 2021 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 discussed 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.220 members registered for the first webinar and 238 members signed up for the 2nd webinar. Based on the post-webinar evaluations, attendees rated both webinars “very good” or “good” and commented that the webinars provided a nice overview of key issues and practical considerations for airports based on the specific situation.Respondents complimented on a well-structured panel format with great diversity of panelists with experience and expertise. Respondents thanked the Committee and the Working Group for organizing these two webinars that provide relevant, informative and useful information.
- Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Finance Task Force
As financial stakeholders increase their focus on ESG risks, airport finance professionals need to step up their knowledge related to ESG and airport finance. The ESG Task Force organized a webinar on April 13 to get up-to-speed on this important topic, with an overview from an aviation ESG expert and a case study on how one airport is tackling ESG reporting. A total of 202 individuals registered for this webinar. Attendees commented that the webinar was very informative, timely, and provided helpful tips and insights on airport ESG reporting.Building on ESG webinar and responding to the members’ request for more work to be done on ESG, the Task Force organized a follow-up session at ACI-NA’s Finance Workshop at the Annual Conference on September 18.
Financial Regulatory Implications Working Group
- FAA Reauthorization Recommendations
ACI-NA undertook a comprehensive assessment of airports’ economic policy needs to prepare for the upcoming FAA Reauthorization. ACI-NA developed a list of proposals with the support of Financial Regulatory implications Working Group, subsequently synthesized into a clear proposed action plan with the support of the Steering Group of the Finance Committee, and submitted the plan for the Policy council’s consideration.
- Supporting Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) Implementation
ACI-NA has been actively engaging with members, the FAA, DOT and the Administration to ensure a smooth implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. ACI-NA collected questions, concerns and issues from members and relayed them to FAA to increase clarity in the implementation of BIL. Additionally, ACI-NA specifically engaged with regulatory authorities and the Administration on waiving BIL’s Buy America preference requirements (a 180-day waiver was granted on May 26, 2022) and on procurement and delivery requirements. ACI-NA notably escalated concerns to the White House, along with other transportation modes, on BIL’s expanded Buy America preference requirements. ACI-NA also formally requested DOT to extend the waiver on construction materials under BABA currently in place until Nov. 10, 2022 for the full fiscal year 2023 and has been advocating for enhancements to the targeted waivers put forward by the DOT.ACI-NA also provided several opportunities for members to exchange best practices, share knowledge, and engage directly with the FAA BIL Implementation Team to include both the Business of Airports Conference and the ACI-NA Annual Conference. ACI-NA’s actions and work were supported by the Steering Group of the Finance Committee and the Financial Regulatory Implications Working Group.
- Developing the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) Implementation Recommendations
The Committee assembled a taskforce immediately after the Reno Conference that includes airport representatives and financial consultants to work on developing BIL implementation recommendations. The taskforce identified some common goals between the FAA and the airport industry and had a number of calls to discuss our recommendations.The taskforce held a meeting on Jan.3, 2022 with two key FAA officials and made the following recommendations:
- Allow for reimbursement of eligible project costs prior to grant award (but after enactment date)
- Provide for multi-year awards (financial certainty); no diminution of existing 5-year ACIP programmed grants
- Allow for concurrent submission of BIL and PFC applications
- Follow PFC rules to the extent permissible
- Avoid additional requirements other than what specified in BIL
The FAA officials thanked the Taskforce for the recommendations being made and promised to take those into consideration.
Strategic Planning and Performance Management Working Group
- Annual ACI-NA financial benchmarking survey
ACI-NA has been conducting the annual ACI-NA Airport Financial Benchmarking Survey since 2007. This survey, overseen by the Strategic Planning and Performance Management Working Group, has proven to be a valuable tool for U.S. and Canadian airports in evaluating their operational and financial performance relative to their peers. The FY2021 survey was launched in December 2021. A total 100 airports responded. Final results were presented both at the in-person Finance Workshop held in Minneapolis on Sep.18 and a virtual webinar on Oct.26 with close to 300 registered attendees.
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