By Morgan Dye
Greg Principato, president of Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA), today delivered the welcome address at the 2012 Airport Cities World Conference & Exhibition in Denver. The Airport Cities World Conference, now in its tenth year, is slated to bring together more than 800 airport delegates from 30 countries during the 2-day conference.
In his speech, Principato shared the highlights of ACI-NA’s recent economic impact study which found that U.S. airports are responsible for $1.2 trillion of economic activity and 10.5 million jobs. He emphasized, “Beyond what we can measure, the power of the United States as a 21st century economic power would simply be impossible without aviation and airports. But we are in danger, in this country, of taking that for granted.”
He went on to explain that the current aviation financing system is outdated and we are in need of a modern system for financing needed infrastructure. Referring to the recently passed FAA Reauthorization bill, Principato noted it “…not only keeps the lid on airports, but reduces federal support for infrastructure investment without providing recourse to airports and their communities to take their growth plans into their own hands.”
Principato laid out a challenge to the aviation community near the end of his remarks. “Over the next three years we are prepared to work with airlines and others to construct a new modern system to build and upgrade infrastructure. A system that gives airports and their communities the ability they need to invest in modern infrastructure, a system that permits our air transportation system, and the companies within it, to flourish, a system that positions our nation as a key linchpin in the global economy throughout the 21st century and beyond.”
“In short, we are talking about the need for a comprehensive aviation policy that addresses the needs of airlines, aviation infrastructure and airports,” Principato reiterated.