Inside the Fence

Aug. 8, 2001

Inside the Fence

By John Infanger, Editorial Director

August 2001

When in Canada, one quickly comes to realize that while U.S. airport funding can be a challenge, it’s a breeze in comparison to what those in many other countries experience.
As a result, some airports like the one in Hamilton are looking to the private sector for capital development. We previously reported on how private dollars are turning the Vancouver International Airport into a global gateway for passengers to Asia. Hamilton is experiencing similar success, although it’s in an earlier stage of development and the focus is on freight.
Among other features in this issue on the Canadian experience is a look at the technological changes occurring with the country’s air traffic control system under NAV CANADA.
These are just two examples of how Canada is transforming its aviation system by thinking outside of the box it had long operated within, under which the federal government owned and operated everything, including each individual airport.
Oh, they’ve also significantly reduced the size of their aviation-related government bureaucracy in the process.

As we go to press, the long-awaited security reg rewrite was released in the Federal Register (14 CFR 107 and 139 Airport Security; Final Rule). The initial word in Washington is that there are no major surprises. We will offer additional analysis next time.

Another word from D.C. is that Congress can be counted on to look at environmental streamlining related to airport infrastructure development. How soon something definitive will be passed remains a question, although there is always the possibility that change could come in the form of a rider to another bill — say, appropriations — sooner rather than later.
Also, while OSHA has decided to withdraw its workplace ergonomics initiative, businesses can expect to see it resurface within the next couple of years. When enacted, it is expected to have a significant financial impact on employers. According to one D.C. insider, there are quite a few Senators, both Democratic and Republican, who want to see something enacted within that timeframe.

In one of the more interesting twists related to airport development, American Airlines recently jumped into the argument for an additional runway at Chicago O’Hare Inter-national Airport. American lawyers reportedly told the governor that he had no legal authority to stop the runway construction. They argue that a 1945 law exempts O’Hare from a requirement that says the governor’s transportation office must approve major runway development at state airports. The governor, of course, prefers a third commercial airport be built, and that could mean significant new competition to incumbent carriers.

Two upcoming conferences merit mention. NATA offers its think-tank type session with Northwestern University Kellogg School economists, — Strategic Management for Aviation Service Firms — September 4-7 in Chicago. And, NATA and AAAE will again team up for their joint FBO/airport symposium, in Atlanta November 11-13. For details, contact the associations.
Thanks for reading.