There's a whole array of issues out there. Do we have enough runway capacity? Well there are a few airports that are able to expand their capacity by adding new runways, but there are a few that simply can't. At JFK, they have no feasible alternative for expanding their runway, so they're going to have to squeeze as much capacity as they can through procedural and technology improvements.
On whether or not the governmental process required to bring about ATC system change can
get it accomplished ...
I think changing the process has to be a big part of it. Changing the attitudes, the mindsets, maybe even the structure need to be looked at. Obviously, safety is of paramount importance. It is a very slow-moving boat when it comes to making dramatic change to have the impact to add capacity at airports.
At our place, we've seen a very aggressive FAA in terms of redesigning the airspace and creating procedures for multiple approaches, but I think especially on the technology side things need to accelerate a bit more than they do today.
On whether or not ATC needs to be taken out of FAA, perhaps even privatized ...
All options need to be looked at to determine the best way to create a safe, more efficient system in the future.
On the ongoing debate over airport competition ...
You know, I sit around these kind of meetings and know most of the directors at major airports out there, and every one of these guys is probably more entrepreneurial than they've ever been as an industry and as a profession.
In terms of the dominant airlines controlling the airports, I have never experienced it. I've never had anybody suggest I shouldn't be doing air service development or marketing the airport for additional airlines to provide competition.
One of the things that's happening, hopefully, with the current legislative change for funding is the ability of airports to have access to passenger facility charges to add gates so that you don't have to get airlines' approval, per se. I think PFCs are probably the most liberating opportunity for airports to create additional space to have something to market.
On airline opposition to PFCs ...
I guess that's their public position, but I've also seen at so many major airports, in such large development programs, PFCs are an extremely powerful source of revenue to leverage to build these terminals, to add runway and taxiway capacity, without the airlines having to take on a new chunk of liability in terms of additional debt. I think more and more airlines are starting to see the value of PFCs. In fact, some of the most vocal opponents of PFCs are the greatest benefactors — even the most vocal opponent, our friends at Southwest, who have benefitted tremendously. It's a very efficient way of financing major capital expenditures.
ACI-NA praises house for providing airports with tools to fund capital improvements to meet increasing passenger traffic, encourage price and service competition, and improve safety and security.
'Year of Aviation' With raised expectations, industry looks for long-term funding reform. Here are the basics of the debate BY John F. Infanger, Editorial Director March 1999...
One on One: Patrick Graham: Among hot issues, outgoing ACI-NA chair sees one airport association as a priority
Inside the Industry One on One: Patrick Graham Among hot issues, outgoing ACI-NA chair sees one airport association as a priority By John Infanger November/December 2004...