Texas airports face common challenges

Texas airport executives recently gathered in Houston to address common challenges, including the threat of less funding and a weak economy. Executives noted that recent FAA partial shutdowns created additional stress on airports’ financial sustainability, while laws and regulations, both at the federal and state levels, prevent Texas airports from operating efficiently and moving forward with economic development.

“Airports undertaking development are economic drivers, which depend on supportive laws and policies that will allow Texas airports to sustain financial viability and invest in needed infrastructure improvements,” said Jeffrey Fegan, CEO of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. “We look forward to working closely with federal and state lawmakers and regulators to promote our shared objectives.”

“If the federal government isn’t going to fully fund the nation’s needs for airport infrastructure maintenance and improvement, then Congress needs to give local communities the legal authority to do that, so that airports can determine their own futures,” said Frank Miller, Aviation Director of San Antonio International Airport.

Airport construction projects, known to create jobs, require a long lead time and airport leaders say the key is determining early how to fund infrastructure projects.

“Congress needs to permanently reclassify airport bonds to avoid making these bonds more expensive and less attractive to investors,” explains Mario Diaz, Director of Houston Airport System. “It would help airports become more self-sufficient financially and allow us to fund projects that will help kick start our economy.”

In coming months, Texas airport officials said they will continue working with each other to learn ways to best serve the public.

Airports that participated in the meeting include:

  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
  • George Bush Intercontinental Airport (Houston)
  • William P. Hobby Airport (Houston)
  • Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
  • San Antonio International Airport
  • Dallas Love Field
  • El Paso International Airport
  • Jack Brooks Regional Airport (Beaumont)
  • Easterwood Airport (Bryan/College Station)
  • Brownsville/South Padre International Airport
  • McAllen-Miller International Airport
  • Valley International Airport (Harlingen)

Comments

  1. The listed participants are Part 139 airports. According to the 2011-2015 NPIAS, as a national group these commercial service airports receive 70% of the FAA’s AIP funds, yet represent only 15% of nationally funded airports.  It’s interesting to note that no general aviation airport in the NPIAS–85% of the airport population–is listed among the participants.

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