Monthly Archives: May 2012

Heated Floor Debate on Cutting Federal Spending

By Annie Russo

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives considered H.R. 5652, the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act of 2012, introduced by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI).  According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) the bill would yield $243 billion in deficit reductions over the next ten years and would replace of the $72 billion in cuts that would take effect in January due to the sequester mandated by the debt ceiling deal.

The debate on the House floor was heated at times on both sides of the aisle raising the age old debate of military versus non-military spending, as H.R. 5652 would prevent the deep cuts to defense that the sequester would bring.  House Republicans defended the proposal citing that they were taking a common sense approach by replacing the sequester’s across the board cuts.  H.R. 5652 passed by a mainly party-line vote of 218-199.

The bill will likely not see time on the Senate floor as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has said that he is only interested in taking a “balanced approach” to replacing the sequester, meaning that he supports increasing revenues as well as making budget cuts.  The Administration also went on the record in opposition to H.R. 5652 saying “the bill’s unbalanced provisions fail the test of fairness and shared responsibility.”

Reporting from Nashville: Delivering Solutions that Matter

By Liying Gu
Elise Jordan, senior vice president, strategic financial planning and analysis & business systems of FedEx Express, opened the annual ACI-NA Economics & Finance and Human Capital Conference this week in Nashville discussing the economic outlook, air cargo market outlook, FedEx’s strategic imperatives, the evolving role of finance, and industry challenges.

Elise Jordan

FedEx economists see a two-speed world with emerging markets such as China, India, Brazil and Mexico leading global economic growth, and the developed world in the form of the U.S., Europe and Japan in slower growth mode for some time. The global economy “is in a soft patch” currently with uncertain markets and dampened consumer sentiments driven by the debt crises in the U.S. and Europe and geopolitical uncertainty in the Middle East. According to Jordan, FedEx expects calendar year 2012 U.S. gross domestic product growth to be slightly below the blue chip consensus of 2.3 percent, and calendar year 2013 below the consensus 2.6 percent.

The air cargo industry is expected to grow faster than world trade and global GDP, driven to a large extent by the increase in high value-added goods, just-in-time inventory practices and the growth of electronic commerce.  In 1970, 10 percent of U.S. GDP was related to international trade. Today, it’s about 25 percent and growing. International air cargo accounts for only about 2 percent of the tonnage moved, but over 40 percent of the value.

FedEx continues to pursue growth opportunities in international service, which is the fastest growing component of the company’s overall revenue base. In this process, the company also strives to be flexible and nimble enough to respond to the ups and downs of the world economy in an organized and appropriate manner.

Looking forward, Jordan sees fuel, infrastructure, and sustainability among the many critical issues facing airlines and airports today.  Greater access and connectivity, safer operations, fewer delays, lower costs, greater fuel efficiency and reduced carbon footprints, cannot be optimized without significant improvements to the nation’s aviation infrastructure in the very near future.

Terminal of the Future Opening in Vegas

By Annie Russo
With about two months to go, Terminal 3 at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas is well on its way to being ready for its first passengers at the end of June. While attending the ACI-NA Environmental and Ops Tech conference in Las Vegas last week, I had the opportunity to tour the new state-of-the-art terminal.  There wasn’t a more fitting place to have the best minds in airport environmental procedures and technical experts than to be hosted by an airport about to put advances in airport operations, technology and efficiency into use in a new terminal.

Terminal 3 utilizes common use practices and technology to offer passengers efficient no-hassle travel.  Technology in the new terminal offers the capability to check in at a kiosk, self tag their luggage and even self board.  Since Terminal 3 will house McCarran’s international gates, a great deal of thought has gone into ensuring an easy trip from the gate to Customs and Border Protection. The terminal also relies on dynamic sign capability for communicating with passengers from the curb and throughout the terminal that will allow the airport to make quick changes thus adding to the flexibility of the terminal’s facilities.

From an environmental prospective, Terminal 3 is equipped with some of the best advances for energy and emissions savings available to airports today.  From use of solar energy, to the newest air exchange systems and control systems that help regulate energy use, Terminal 3 has instituted many of the best practices and advancements talked about during the Environmental conference.

The terminal will open in three separate phases, first welcoming international travelers at the end of June, then domestic passengers in July and full integration with the carriers in August.  For aviation and airport enthusiasts, Terminal 3 is going to be one destination you won’t want to miss.  However, it’s the millions of tourists that visit Las Vegas every year and the Las Vegas residents that will gain the most from this state-of-the-art facility in the years to come.