Highlights from ACI-NA's Annual Meeting

Sept. 26, 2005
Last week's annual meeting of the Airports Council International-North America in Toronto highlighted the importance of the pending debate over how we will fund the U.S. aviation transportation system in the years ahead. A major reauthorization battle looms, and FAA and the airports industry are exploring new answers to financing a system that cannot be sustained under the current tax structure. A paramount concern: modernization of the air traffic control system both in terms of how to get modernization accomplished as well as its impact on system capacity. Airports recognize that addressing capacity concerns on the ground is only half the battle. Of particular note is that FAA Associate Administrator of Airports Woodie Woodward intimated in the annual Friendly Fire With FAA session that now may be the time for the government to consider heeding the call by ACI-NA that the feds need to unleash the airport community by easing regulations that inhibit its ability to operate in the most business-like fashion. FAA continues to promote the concept that the time has come to rethink everything when it comes to funding the system. ACI-NA appears to be on board with this approach. That said, there are the usual concerns that promoting parochial interests via the various alphabet groups will lead to the status quo, which estimates indicate will no longer accommodate the changes needed to modernize and fund the air transportation system. The debate has begun. Stay tuned.