ACI report says US has big airport infrastructure needs

Airport infrastructure changes in the US, such as this rebuilding of LaGuardia in New York will require $100 billion over the next five years

A report just released by Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) says airports in the US have $100 billion in infrastructure needs from 2017-2021 to accommodate passenger growth and cargo activity, rehabilitate existing facilities, and support aircraft innovation.

This report estimates an increase in infrastructure needs of 32% since the most recent estimate was released in 2015. Passenger and cargo growth account for 63% of the increase in infrastructure needs, and 30% of the increase is needed to respond to aging airports and maintenance costs.

Infographic courtesy of ACI-NA, on the rising infrastructure costs in the US

The majority of the increases are for large and medium-sized hubs, which are seeing great increase in traffic due to a recovering economy. Although smaller hubs are seeing a decrease in traffic, their aging infrastructure continues to require funding.

“America’s airports have real and significant unmet needs that threaten their ability to serve their passengers, grow their local economies, and create good paying jobs,” said ACI-NA President and CEO Kevin M. Burke.  “The longer we delay, the more America’s airports will fall behind and our infrastructure needs will become even more expensive to fix.”

Infographic courtesy of ACI-NA, on the unmet infrastructure costs

These estimated needs of $20 billion per year are more than double current funding through all sources. Burke suggests the government eliminate the outdated federal cap on Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) to realize this difference. “Local user fees are the most affordable and most responsible method for modernizing our airport infrastructure,” says Burke.  “By giving airports the ability to meet their local infrastructure needs without relying on additional federal funding, airports will be well positioned to maintain their leadership in the global aviation system. Time is of the essence.  We must act now to get Washington out of the way and eliminate the outdated federal restrictions that hold America’s airports back.”