Ready, Waiting

Incoming AAAE chair Allin says airports are poised for operating in post-9/11 era


Allin: I think the marketplace should dictate and the local community should make the decisions about what is best for their facility. How can you run a business if your hands are tied economically where you can’t raise the revenue, and you’re being buried with unfunded regulatory mandates and no way to pay for them? And yet, you have to be self-sustaining.

It’s difficult. You’re told you can’t raise the money; there’s limits on how much you can charge, and then they turn around and say, we’re going to triple the cost of running your security and you have to pay for it.

You’re not going to have a local community say, we’re going to have a $50 PFC. First of all, your airline would pull out and second of all your passengers would refuse to pay for it.

AB: Any specifics on what you would like to see happen?

Allin: I would like to see a lot more flexibility. Let the local community decide what the PFC should be, if at all. But really, the regulations cover all areas of how we do business, from leasing land to the grant funds to what you can charge the airlines.

We obviously have to have safety and security, and there has to be a minimum standard of what they are. Does that mean you have to have seven people standing here because a regulatory agency says so, or does it mean you have to have this level of security?

AB: I understand that the airport does the fueling at Tucson International. With the financial pressures facing airports, do you see more getting into fueling?

Allin: If you don’t have the infrastructure in place, the environmental infrastructure, and the costs [ac-counted for], I would think it would be quite prohibitive to start it up.

We do the airline fueling. There’s an airline consortium that buys the fuel; we store it and pump it for them. It’s not an exclusive.

For us, it really was a customer service issue. We wanted to make sure our customers were well served. We reevaluate it, and it’s really up to the airlines if they want us to service them or to outsource. It’s something that pays for itself, but we’re not in it for the money. We have FBOs on the field that sell retail.

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