Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA), the trade association representing commercial service airports in the United States and Canada, released the 2023 U.S. Airport Infrastructure Needs Report: Growing Needs Heighten Urgency to Modernize America’s Airports. ACI-NA estimates that America’s airports need $151 billion over the next five years to fund necessary infrastructure projects, up more than 30 percent from $115 billion just two years ago.
“Investment in U.S. airport infrastructure continues to lag behind the industry’s needs, and that gap continues to grow,” said ACI-NA President and CEO Kevin M. Burke. “Continued infrastructure investment and reduced regulatory burdens for America’s airports will support good-paying jobs, stimulate the economy, advance important environmental goals, and improve the passenger experience for millions of travelers. It's time for Congress to make meaningful reforms in how it funds America’s critical airport infrastructure.”
Airports are still recovering financially from the aftereffects of the COVID-19 pandemic that decimated the entire global aviation system. The continued financial impacts of the pandemic have hamstrung airport investment in additional modernization projects to make the system more resilient before the next major disruption. The total cost of these critical projects dwarfs the funding available through annual Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grants, Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) user fee collections, grant funding available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and net income generated by airports.
Airports have a footprint in every community in America and are critical to the country’s economic success, supporting 11.5 million jobs and producing an annual economic output of $1.7 trillion. They depend on congressional authority and funding to modernize aging facilities, but regulatory burdens that have hamstrung airports for decades continue to constrain the industry’s ability to invest in infrastructure. Increasing AIP funding, expanding AIP eligibility, modernizing the outdated PFC, and reducing regulatory burdens would allow airports to use funds in a way that benefits them the best, which in turn benefits the communities they serve.