One on One with Jim Elwood

Incoming AAAE chair remains optimistic in a rapidly changing environment

But more importantly we need to get the NextGen system up and operational as quickly as possible and take advantage of the components of NextGen that allow the greatest efficiency for an aircraft to go from one place to another and use the least amount of fuel possible. With energy being so high it’s clear that we need the greatest efficiency in our air traffic as possible.

AB: Do you foresee expansion of the Essential Air Service program?

Elwood: I think one of the concepts that should be pursued further is how that program can help communities that have already lost commercial air service, and ensure that the greatest portion of the traveling public still have a way to access it.

AB: Regarding the reauthorization debate in Congress, a key issue for airports has been the call for an increase in the cap on passenger facility charges. What’s the status of that initiative?

Elwood: As you know, the House bill has a PFC increase; the Senate version does not speak to PFCs. The airport community continues to believe that an increase in those PFCs are needed not only to offset the loss to the value of construction dollars because of rising costs. When you sit down and talk with airports about what their capital needs are, PFCs are a key component at most commercial service airports for getting improvements that are needed to create those efficiencies that are needed for the system to be effective.

AB: Congress continues to pursue the idea of 100 percent screen of all airport workers. How important is that effort?

Elwood: I really think that’s a program that doesn’t make the best use of available resources to reduce the risk of a bad person trying to do a bad thing. There are other ways that can achieve and tighten the perimeter around airport without the 100 percent screening.

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