Monthly Archives: May 2011

2010 Passenger Traffic at North American Airports Increases 2.5 Percent

By Morgan Dye

According to recent data released by Airports Council International (ACI), based in Montreal, nearly 1.48 billion passengers arrived and departed from North American airports in 2010, a 2.5 percent increase from the previous year. Cargo increased by 11.2 percent while total operations decreased by 1.5 percent.

“Airports are optimistic that traffic will continue to increase as the economy recovers,” said ACI-NA President Greg Principato. “Industry forecasts indicate that demand for both business and leisure air travel will grow and airports need to invest in infrastructure projects to meet that future demand.”

The four busiest airports were Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson with more than 89 million passengers, followed by Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (66.8 million), Los Angeles International Airport (59.1 million), and Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport (56.9 million).

Memphis International Airport remained the largest cargo airport in North America, handling about 3.9 million metric tons, an increase of almost 6 percent. Anchorage International Airport ranked second in North America with a 36.6 percent increase in its cargo movements to over 2.6 million metric tons.

Canada’s busiest airport, once again, is Toronto’s Lester B. Pearson International Airport, ranked 17th in North America for passengers with 31.9 million, an increase of 5.2 percent from 2009. It ranked 13 in total cargo with 482,486 metric tons, an 11.8 percent increase, and 13 in total movements with 418,298, an increase of 2.6 percent.

The ACI 2010 Traffic Report contains passenger, freight/mail and aircraft operations data for 198 North American airport members. Total passengers represent the sum of passengers enplaned and deplaned in all commercial services but not passengers who travel in business or general aviation modes of transportation. Total freight/mail figures represent the sum of the total freight and mail—both loaded and unloaded—at the reporting airport. Total aircraft operations reflect the sum total of all domestic commercial, international commercial, commuter, general aviation and military operations. The final 2010 North American traffic summary data is available on ACI-NA’s website.

*Passenger traffic is defined as the aggregate total of arriving (deplanement) and departing (enplanement) passengers. Transfer passengers are only counted once.

Rearranging the Deck Chairs – Transportation Takes Big Hit in House Appropriations Funding

By Jane Calderwood
The Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) released the funding allocations for the 12 appropriations subcommittees yesterday (known as the 302(b) allocations).  Working from the top line number of $1.019 trillion in discretionary spending, as laid out in the House passed budget, the funding is an 11 percent cut over current spending and is designed to place appropriations back at the fiscal year 2006 funding levels.

The Defense appropriations bill will receive a $17 billion increase which comes at the expense of the other 11 bills.  Hit the hardest by the cuts were the State and Foreign Operations bill (18 percent reduction); Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) (14 percent reduction) and Agriculture (13 percent reduction).  These two departments are taking a double-hit when you take into account the fact that it’s funding was cut by 18.5 percent in the final FY11 continuing resolution.

Rogers, in his statement accompanying the announcement of the funding levels, noted that “the appropriations bills this year will include double-digit reductions for virtually every non-security area of government while providing additional resources for the nation’s critical and urgent needs – such as our national defense.”

Ranking Democrat Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) responded to Rogers’ announcement by stating:  “Rather than presenting a reasonable budget that continues the momentum of our economic recovery, the Republicans have decided to double-down on their bogus economic theory called ‘cut and grow.’”

Rogers laid out a scheduled designed to allow the House to consider nine of the 11 bills prior to the August break.  The Homeland Security Appropriations bill is scheduled to be marked up this week by the subcommittee and will be considered by the full committee on May 23.  The Transportation Appropriations bill is scheduled for consideration by the subcommittee on July 14 and the full committee on July 26, which would push its consideration by the full House into September.

How the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee will determine funding for individual programs as they deal with what amounts to a 32 percent cut in funding over FY10 levels, is the $47 billion question.

Funding the Government – You Decide

By Annie Russo
On the same afternoon that President Obama has invited the 53 Senate Democrats to the White House to discuss raising the debt ceiling and the Fiscal Year 2012 budget, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) has unveiled a new way for Americans to get involved in the budget debate.  As a follow-up to Cantor’s popular YouCut program that allowed the public to submit specific government programs/initiatives that individuals would like to be cut or eliminated, Americans can now vote on those suggestions.

YouCut Phase II, launched this afternoon, currently allows you to vote for one of three programs that could be eliminated from the federal budget.  The website says that the winner of the vote will be “sponsored by the YouCut program.” Selections debuting on the site today include three State Department programs.  The new phase of the program also allows individuals to make recommendations for programs that should be featured on the website in the future.

With House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) expected to release funding allocations for the 12 appropriations bills today based on the $1.02 billion in discretionary spending that is allowed under the House passed Budget Resolution, it will be interesting to see what role the YouCut-sponsored programs play in the funding decisions about to be made by House appropriators.

A [Jolly] Good Fellow

By Stephenie Brooks
Since I was the one pushing to take pictures to capture Greg’s birthday gathering with the ACI-NA staff , the honor fell on me to write this blog post.  No seriously, it is a pleasure to have the opportunity to write a few words about Greg Principato, ACI-NA president, baseball enthusiast, dead-president aficionado, cake lover, and . . . . forgive me I digress.

Brett, Nancy and Greg.

Last week was Greg’s birthday. The exact date I’m sure of, but how old he is I’m not. I know if I were to ask him he would easily and gladly share that information. That is the kind of guy Greg is. He is open, honest and most of all – passionate about standing up for airports and ensuring that federal legislation and regulations are not over-reaching and burdensome.

Just last week, Greg spoke at the ACI-NA Airport Economics and  Human Capital Conference in Phoenix and was quite clear on where he stood.  “That is why it is so frustrating that the U.S. government joins with airlines to keep a boot on the neck of the airport economic engine.   Make no mistake:  by Washington joining with the airlines to limit the ability of airports in this country to provide for the transportation needs of the community, a very large boot is being placed on the neck of economic growth in this part of the world,” Greg said to the attendees gathered in Phoenix. “It is ironic that this is occurring at the very time when governments and airlines and airports in other parts of the world have figured out that this is exactly the wrong thing to do, have adjusted course, and are charting exciting futures of commerce and growth for themselves.”

Clearly the man doesn’t mince words. He’s the kind of guy you want on your side and the leader you would pick for your team. So raise your glasses and join me in toasting Greg. For he is a jolly good fellow  . . . and that nobody can deny. Slainte!

Where’s the Beef in the Senate Republican Jobs Plan?

By Jane Calderwood
“Where’s the beef” was a popular refrain in the mid-80s as a result of a popular television ad.  And while we know the answer – at least the one provided by the advertiser – the question is apt today when looking at the Senate Republican Jobs Plan released last week.

"Where's the beef?"

There is no beef, let alone job creation, provided in the plan which focuses on a “grab bag of Republican agenda items,” as one MSNBC talking head put it. The bill calls for a constitutional amendment to balance the budget, cuts in individual and corporate tax rates, decreased federal regulations, and increased exports but provides not one penny for infrastructure investment.  Apparently the fact that infrastructure investment is a known jobs creator, as well as an investment in our long term economic growth – after all how do they expect to get those increased exports out of the country – isn’t a strong enough reason to get include it in a “jobs” plan.

At the same time the Senate Republicans want to “unburden the economy from Washington regulations.” The House and Senate are working out the differences in an FAA reauthorization bill that places an undue burden on the national aviation system by cutting infrastructure funding (the House authorizes the Airport Improvement Program at $3 billion).  The bill, also, fails to “unburden” airports from the heavy hand of ‘big brother’ Washington which refuses to release control of the Passenger Facility Charge and return it to the local community where it belongs.

We all know that Washington has its own language, but it’s a bit farfetched, even for the Inside the Beltway crowd, to offer up a “jobs” plan that is severely lacking in actual job creation.