By: CURT EPSTEIN
America’s airports will require more than $71 billion worth of essential infrastructure programs over the next five years, according to a report released this week by the Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA). That total is down by 11 percent over the organization’s previous study, which covered 2011 to 2015, a decrease attributed to the current challenging economic conditions, airline consolidation and capacity reductions and projects completed or postponed beyond the report’s horizon.
Based upon the organization’s 2013 capital needs survey, the report noted an annual average of $14.3 billion in project funding for both commercial and general aviation airports, which is “significantly higher” than the funding available through passenger facility charges and airport improvement program (AIP) grants. Taken separately, reliever and general aviation airports would account for $13.4 billion over the survey period.
Overall, the report lists the top three state priorities as Texas, with $8.3 billion in capital needs, followed by Florida ($7.0 billion) and California ($6.6 billion). Among its conclusions is that an increase in the local airport user fee is long overdue and would provide airports with the financial freedom to keep up with projected growth.