Leaders From 125-Plus Airports Sign Letter to Congress Asking for Modernized PFC
For Immediate Release
March 25, 2015
Leaders of more than 125 airports of all sizes from all parts of the country have joined together in an AirportsUnited letter to Congress calling on lawmakers to modernize the local Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) user fee to improve airport infrastructure as work ramps up on an Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill. AirportsUnited is a partnership between the Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) and the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE), who share common policy goals for airports as Congress tackles an FAA reauthorization bill.
The PFC is the funding mechanism set by local airports to pay for improvements like new runways and expanded terminals at airports of all sizes all around the country. The outdated federal cap on the local PFC - last adjusted in 2000 - hampers airports' ability to plan for future growth and artificially limits airline competition.
"As public entities, airports are eager to address the needs of the communities we serve well into the future, and we recognize that the local PFC is the most free-market tool to meet the long-term needs of passengers given continued federal budget constraints," the airport officials write. "In contrast, airlines by their nature are more concerned about the next financial report and are content to say that we can get by with what we have now. For the long-term interest of the nation's aviation system and the country, we hope that you will act now to modernize the PFC so we can begin making vital investments to meet the needs of today and provide benefits tomorrow."
The airport leaders also directly address some of the misleading arguments in opposition to the local PFC from the airline industry.
"The airlines have gone to great lengths to tout their investments in airports," the letter reads. "While many of us have worked with our airline partners over the years to build necessary infrastructure, it is misleading to point to a handful of completed projects at a select group of airports and say that our work is finished. Passenger traffic levels and airport capital needs are on the rise, and it is folly to suggest that the need to maintain runways, taxiways, and terminals, plus invest in crucial safety and capacity projects, have somehow been eliminated by the investments airlines already have either acquiesced to or made in their own self-interest."
U.S. airports have an estimated $75.7 billion - or more than $15 billion a year - in infrastructure investment needs through 2019 to keep up with growth in passenger and cargo activity, renovate and expand existing facilities, and accommodate new aircraft, according to ACI-NA's latest Capital Needs Study
"We recognize the difficult job you have in front of you with FAA reauthorization as you try to meet growing needs in an era of tight federal budget constraints," the letter to Congress concludes. "In the absence of additional federal support, airports are eager to step up to meet their needs locally, but we need your help in the form of a modernized PFC. We urge you to recognize the hollow nature of airline claims and take action to ensure that airports have the resources they need to meet the needs of today and the challenges of tomorrow."
The letter was signed by officials from 22 large hub airports, 17 medium hubs and nearly 90 small hub or smaller airports. Read the letter and see the signatories here.