FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 2, 2015
WASHINGTON—Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) today issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget proposal:
“We are pleased that the President’s vision for transportation includes the key airport priority of a long-overdue modernization of the Passenger Facility Charge,” said ACI-NA President and CEO Kevin M. Burke. “Giving airports the flexibility and local control they need to implement a PFC level appropriate for their community’s needs is an important first step in spurring competition in the airline industry and in helping our nation’s airports remain competitive with the rest of the world.”
ACI-NA’s most recent Capital Needs Study found that U.S. airports need over $15.14 billion annually for infrastructure improvements that will modernize aging runways and terminals, relieve congestion and delays, and spur new airline competition – far more than the $6.2 billion that airports received last year in both Passenger Facility Charges (PFC) and the Airport Improvement Program (AIP). In addition, ACI-NA expects that the number of domestic passengers alone will surpass 1 billion enplanements in the next 15 years.
While the President’s budget proposal calls for updating the PFC to $8.00 per enplanement, it also would cut funding for AIP, which is a key source of capital improvement and infrastructure funding for mid-sized and smaller, regional airports.
“We are disappointed that while this proposal modernizes the PFC, it appears to do so at the expense of AIP,” continued Burke. “A significant cut like this in AIP funding ultimately hurts medium- and small-sized airports that depend the most on this grant funding for necessary capital improvement projects. We look forward to working with the President and Congress during FAA Reauthorization this year; to modernize the PFC for all airports and safeguard AIP because pitting large hubs against smaller, regional airports for limited resources is not a productive long-term solution for ensuring the global competitiveness of America’s aviation system.”
The proposed budget also calls for 2,300 new Customs and Border Protection officers and procurement of new technology and equipment to make ports of entry more efficient in processing arriving passengers and cargo.
“ACI-NA long has advocated that Customs and Border Protection receive the resources it needs to accommodate the millions of international travelers arriving at our airports each year,” said Burke. “We appreciate the President’s recognition for an increase in Customs and Border Protection staffing at our ports of entry and more investment in technology to screen incoming travelers in a timely manner that will boost international travel and present a more welcoming face to those arriving in America.”