Committee Adds New Working Group

The role of the ACI-NA Finance Committee is to share ideas and exchange information among fellow airport finance and associate member professionals on important industry topics such as benchmarking; airline rates, fees and charges, accounting, budgeting and financing.

The Finance Committee currently has four active working groups – the Airport/Airline Business Working Group, the Strategic Planning and Performance Management Working Group, the Accounting/Financing Working Group and the Alternative Airport Business Models Working Group.

The purpose of the Airport/Airline Business Working Group is to develop a develop a compilation of emerging trends and best practices for use in discussions between airports and airlines; to catalogue expertise and experience as resources for other committees; and to address other pertinent goals related to the various facets of airport and airline relationships. The working group emphasizes venues for direct dialogue with airline representatives. The working group has drafted a list of examples to help airports and airlines work cooperatively and collaboratively to undertake a holistic review of total airport costs, for the purpose of increasing overall airport operating efficiencies and /or reducing airline costs.

The Strategic Planning and Performance Management Working Group promotes the implementation of best practices in strategic planning, continuous forecasting and budgeting, performance measurement, enterprise risk management, and benchmarking principles and techniques at airports. It will also aim to standardize, improve, and implement related industry surveys. The working group is responsible for the annual ACI-NA Benchmarking Survey. This survey has proven to be an invaluable tool for airports in evaluating their operational and financial performance. Members also review financial metrics to streamline and identify most important key performance indicators for comparison, efficiency and effectiveness that will supplement cost per enplanement.

The Accounting/Financing Working Group seeks to identify accounting and financial reporting issues which will impact airports, with an underlying goal of developing standard industry best practice approaches to key issues for airports.  This working group develops and communicates best practice reporting approaches through accumulation of data from a number of member airports and through communication with external agencies as appropriate, such as GASB, GFOA, FAA, Rating Agencies, etc.  Input may also be sought through other industry subject matter experts (e.g., Accounting/CPA Firms, Financial Advisors). The working group will also focus on providing timely information to members on regular basis by hosting series of webinars and conference calls. The working group has identified relevant topics for webinars to include: updates on the financial and capital markets, investor relations, other post employment benefits and the effects of the healthcare reform legislation. The working group will also keep abreast of new GASB pronouncements.

This year, the Finance Committee has established a new working group: the Alternative Airport Business Models Working Group. Owing to historic underfunding of airport capital needs and restrictions on airports’ ability to raise their own capital, the ACI-NA Board of Directors has established a goal of reducing the federal role in airport finance. The working group will provide analysis, assistance and support to develop alternative airport business models for airports in the US and Canada.

The Finance Committee also develops, in coordination with other ACI-NA committees, the agenda for the annual ACI-NA Airport Economics and Human Capital Conference. The upcoming event will be held in Phoenix on May 2-4 and will cover hot button issues affecting the industry.

Since 2007, the Finance Committee had also organized the annual Airport CFO Summit. The CFO Summit (which is only open to Airport CFOs and senior finance staff) is an intensive 1.5 day event which focuses on peer-to-peer discussion and problem solving. The CFO Summit is not a typical conference with panels of speakers. Rather, the purpose is for senior airport finance members to get a chance to talk with each other about issues of importance. This year’s event will be held in Madison on July 19-20. More information on this event will be available soon.

Contact ACI-NA’s Liying Gu for more information.