Inside the Fence

Sept. 8, 2003
On the business of airports, of business aviation, and rewriting 135 ...

Of late (oldtimers insert chuckle here), airlines and airports have been at odds over the business of airports. Airlines cry that they're in dire straits, thus airports need to find other sources of revenue. Interestingly, airports are leading the charge on how their businesses are run, er, regulated.

In this issue's cover story, Sea-Tac director Gina Marie Lindsey (pg. 15) shares some thoughts on why airports need to be unleashed to conduct business in a freer market - which, in effect, is what the airlines say they want. ACI-NA's David Plavin has been leading this charge for some time.

If the airlines - overregulated, perhaps, and over-assisted by government - shout long and hard enough, and continue to manage to a negative profit line, they may be heard. It might be heartening to many airport folks to know they won their war because of the airlines' decisive battle.

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Shelley Longmuir, the incoming president of NBAA, follows a tough act. Jack Olcott, who in theory has retired (see Industry News - Asides), took a solid organization and rode it with the '90s. It was professional and successful; he made it moreso. (You may find it of value to know that he is a former editor.)

Longmuir, in Chicago recently for one of the NBAA Reachbac meetings with members, carries a strong Wash-ington presence on her resume, and served as a lobbyist for United Airlines. She says it was hard to resist taking the NBAA job and getting the opportunity to work with companies that are actually profitable. (We'll have more on Longmuir in our October issue.)

Meanwhile, NBAA's government affairs director Doug Carr, at the same DuPage Airport meeting, discussed the recently formed working group that is teaming up with FAA to rewrite the Part 125/135 regs. It is the largest such industry/FAA working group to date, says Carr, with some 150 industry people interested in helping shape the new regulations. For perspective, the much-heralded working group on Part 91 subpart-K, which will regulate fractionals if ever enacted, had less than 50 participants.

Carr serves on the Applicability Group (who but the government would have an Applicability Group?). Some key issues: Should Part 125 be eliminated? Ensuring all 91/135 ops aren't pushed under the Part 121 umbrella. And, how U.S. regs mesh with those of other countries.

Says Carr, "It's too early to even guess what the final regs will look like."

Thanks for reading.