Washington – Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA), the trade association representing commercial service airports in the United States and Canada, sent a letter of congratulations to President-elect Joe Biden and provided insight on top airport industry priorities moving forward. Signed by ACI-NA President and CEO Kevin M. Burke, the letter includes a full range of issues, including additional emergency assistance to airports, federal mandate for facial coverings in airports, health screenings for the resumption of air travel, and airport infrastructure improvements.
Key excerpts from the letter include:
“America’s airports look forward to working with you and your administration on a range of aviation issues important to the American economy, such as implementing new health and safety measures in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic and making long-overdue investments in our nation’s airport infrastructure.”
“The U.S. aviation system, though, faces unprecedented challenges today due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The dramatically reduced travel volumes – and in some instances the loss of commercial air service altogether – have significantly depressed revenue throughout the system, causing airports, airlines, and tenants to struggle for survival. U.S. airports alone are projected to lose over $23 billion in revenue in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. As airports tackle the immediate challenges presented by COVID-19 and prepare for the eventual return of passengers, it is clear there will be no ‘going back to normal’ — just a ‘new normal.’”
“Since airports are critical infrastructure facilities, they must remain open and operational, while making significant new investments to protect the health and safety of passengers, employees, and tenants. The new health and safety standards at airports require substantial and ongoing investments in the latest technologies, equipment, and facilities nationwide… Airports are making these investments as they face increased financial pressure, forcing them to cut their budgets, defer capital projects, and reduce other expenses, all while planning for the new airport experience.”
“America’s airports are grateful for your past support for modernizing the PFC [passenger facility charge] local user fee so airports across the country can make the long-term investments they need to improve their infrastructure without raising taxes or adding to the federal debt. Modestly adjusting the anti-competitive federal cap on local PFCs would allow airports to take control of their own investment decisions and become more financially self-sufficient. Airports could build the appropriate facilities – terminals, gates, baggage systems, security checkpoints, roadways, and runways – to meet their own community’s travel demands, health standards, and customer expectations. They also could move forward with needed sustainability measures, such as increasing the energy efficiency of their terminals, reducing their waste, and providing infrastructure for electric and hydrogen-fuel cell vehicles. We also strongly recommend increased funding for AIP grants and temporary flexibility within AIP to help airports meet their individual needs during the restart and recovery period.”
The full text of the letter can be found on ACI-NA’s website.