Monthly Archives: March 2012

Poll Finds Americans See Airports’ Value

By Morgan Dye

Americans love their local airports, but they’re still not sure how they work, according to a new national survey commissioned by Airports Council International-North America.

A majority (61%) recognized the importance of airports to the economy, with 33% saying they are “extremely important” to their local economy, a finding that is consistent with a recent ACI-NA report that attributed 10.5 million jobs and $1.2 trillion in spending to the nation’s 490 commercial airports.

“Americans know that airports are hubs of economic activity and job creation for the communities they support,” Greg Principato, president of ACI-NA, said.

More than two-thirds of respondents (67%) expressed favorable views about the airport in their community, putting this vital infrastructure ahead of the U.S. Congress (21%), Transportation Security Administration (35%), major airlines (38%), major car companies (49%), local government (50%) and public schools (61%).

Despite widespread public support, however, only one in four Americans were aware that the federal government has the power to limit how airport improvement funds are spent at the local level. Even fewer people (16%) know that general tax revenues are rarely used to fund commercial airports.

“This is important information because infrastructure investments are crucial to the ability of commercial airports to continue to meet increasing demands for passenger and cargo flights, both of which are expected to double over the next two decades,” Principato said. “Spending decisions should be made at the local level, not in Washington.”

The survey shows that Americans also recognize how important it is for airports to have enough flights to meet the needs of area residents and businesses. When asked what would happen if flights decreased at their local airport, about four in 10 respondents (44%) said it would impact the local community “a great deal.” Only 5% said it would have no effect whatsoever.

“Airports have identified $80 billion in unmet infrastructure needs,” Principato said. “Those are new runways, expanded terminals and other facilities that will give us better service and more flight options.”

Visit www.airportsforthefuture.org to learn more about the positive contributions airports are making to communities across the United States.

Public Opinion Strategies conducted a telephone survey of 600 registered voters in January on behalf of Airports Council International-North America. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

FAA to Re-Review Electronics Ban

By Matt Griffin
Lately, it has seemed, you couldn’t pick up a newspaper or open your ACI-NA Daily Clips (contact ACI-NA if you would like to sign-up) without finding an article or opinion piece dedicated to the highly-sensitive subject of personal electronics on airplanes.

This topic has grown from a dull rumble just 10 years ago to an all out roar thanks to the rapid acceptance of the iPad, smartphones, and e-readers. One only needs to look around them to see the popularity of these devices. In fact, as I write this article on my train ride into work this morning, at least half of the passenger within my eyeshot appear to be reading from one of these devices (I hope the engineers radios are still working!)

It appears that the FAA has finally decided to heed the cry of the traveling public, just this past week they have agreed to take a “fresh” look at this issue.  They are exploring ways to bring together the airlines, airframe and avionics manufacturers, electronics manufactures, and the regulators, the FAA and FCC, to discuss the certification of a number of these personal electronics.

After a little bit of research (a Google search and review of a Wikipedia page), there appears to be a lot of circumstantial evidence, but nothing that can conclusively support the idea that the use of personal electronics cause an interference to aircraft avionics. It appears, as the regulations are written today, the approval process is on a device by device basis.  So that is to say, the Amazon Kindle could go through the approval process and be cleared for flight whereas the Barnes & Noble Nook is not.  This could lead to misunderstandings in the cabin and just as much policing by flight attendants, if not more.

I don’t mean to sound negative, in my humblest opinion, given the amount of money being made in the personal electronics market it is certainly in the best interest of these manufacturers to help develop (and possibly fund) a solution to this problem.

One last note, don’t plan on joining a conference calls at 30,000 feet just yet, these talks will not include the usage of cell phones.  The FCC bans the use of these devices for a whole different issue.

Airports to Honor Senator John Kerry with 2012 Congressional Leadership Award

By Morgan Dye

Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA) will honor Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) with the 2012 Commissioners Congressional Leadership Award for his ongoing support of the aviation industry.

Senator Kerry was first elected to the United States Senate in 1984 and has won re-election four times since. Now serving his fifth term, he holds senior positions on the Finance, Commerce, and Small Business Committees. It was in large part due to the Senator’s efforts that private activity bonds (PABs) were exempt from the Alternative Minimum Tax for 2009 and 2010. Congress’ approval of these measures saved the airport industry and local communities over $1.8 billion in financing costs during that time.

Senator Kerry recently authored language supporting a one year extension of the AMT exemption for private activity bonds and was successful in getting the language included in the Highway Trust Fund and Reauthorization which is pending before the U.S. Senate. Senator Kerry remains committed to ensuring this language remains in the final bill.

“We are pleased to award Senator Kerry with this year’s Commissioners Congressional Leadership Award,” said Herb Hilliard, Chair of ACI-NA’s Commissioners Committee and member of the Memphis/Shelby County Airport Authority.  “Senator Kerry has long recognized the economic impact of airports on their local communities and that relief from the AMT on private activity bonds allows airports to invest in infrastructure creating tens of thousands of jobs.”

ACI-NA will present the 2012 Commissioners Congressional Leadership Award to Senator Kerry at the annual ACI-NA Commissioners Reception, on Wednesday, March  14, from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. EDT in 253 Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill. The reception is being held in conjunction with the 2012 ACI-NA/AAAE Washington Legislative Conference. For more information on purchasing tickets to the reception, visit http://www.aci-na.org/sites/default/files/ticket_order_form.pdf.

Boeing and ACI-NA Host 787 Webinar

 

 

 

By Matt Griffin
On Tuesday, Boeing and ACI-NA hosted a webinar to update members on the general and technical specs of the 787.  Representatives from Boeing provided ACI-NA member airports and associates information on general characteristics of the 787 including parking and ground servicing of the aircraft, electrical and pre-conditioned air specifications, and wireless connectivity features and requirements.  Additionally, a quick update was provided on the development of other Boeing aircraft.

Presentations

If you have any questions please contact Chris Oswald or Matt Griffin.

Congressional Retirements – They Just Keep Coming

By Annie Russo
Back in January, I blogged about all of the congressional retirements already announced and those that we expected to come especially as redistricting maps are finalized by many states.  Both senators and their colleagues in the House have not disappointed on this front, with now 21 House members and 10 senators retiring completely from public office at the end of the year.

In surprising announcements Monday night and Tuesday morning, each chamber will lose a seasoned Republican veteran in the next Congress. Three-term Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe late Monday announced that she would not be running for re-election in November.  Snowe, a member of both the Senate Commerce and Finance Committees, has been a friend to airports advocating for the alternative minimum tax exemption, AIP funding and EAS funding during her tenure in both the House and Senate.

On Tuesday morning, Congressman David Dreier from California announced that he would not seek re-election this November as well.  Dreier, a Capitol Hill veteran having served since 1980, is best known for his tenure in the top Republican spot on the powerful House Rules Committee.  Dreier is considered by many to be a victim of the California redistricting map, which essentially eliminated his district. Certainly, Dreier’s institutional and parliamentary knowledge of the House will not be easy to replace.

As we continue to creep closer to Election Day and primary filing dates, we can expect a few more surprise announcements.  I don’t think we’ve seen the end of the wave just yet.