b'98 INDUSTRY INSIDERRecovery is Not Just About the TrafficAcross North America, airportthrough certification, cockpit time with boards and leadership teamsregional partners and ultimately toStephen Van Beek are determined to get a fix onUnited mainline aircraft.is director and head where the aviation industry is headed. AsGovernments also have aof North American U.S. airports approach a full domesticAviation for Steer, responsibility to invest the security anda management traffic recovery and reap the benefits ofCustoms fees paid by travellers and a strong summer for international traffic,consultancy.freight shippers into sufficient operational decision makers wonder whether todaysstaff and new technologies that can air service patterns offer a preview forexpand throughput and reduce waitHad YYZ been eligible for the same the years to come. In Canada and thetimes. For their part, airports need tolevel of infrastructure support as U.S. U.S., airports continue to face airlineensure longer dwelling customers haveairports, it would have received $500 operational challenges as well as securityaccess to open food and beveragemillion in aid. That would have helped and customs queues. options even if that requires adjustingreduce debt, retain staff and keep Graphical depictions of aviationtheir business models. more capital projects going. Together recovery are deceiving. Some U.S.2. New Infrastructure Over thewith ongoing rent paid to the Canadian airports are already fully recovered iflast decade, the demands on airportgovernment by the largest airports, the todays traffic levels are compared toinfrastructure have continued toCanadian aviation model requires reform 2019. Typically leisure airports, they havegrow and shift. Airline traffic not onlyand some insulation against Black Swan benefited from the growth in ultra-lowsignificantly increased pre-pandemic,events such as pandemics, given the cost airline service and the desire tobut airlines continued to fly moreimportant role airports play in supporting escape our houses and hit the beaches,passengers per operation than theand enabling the economic success of national parks, etc. Other airports,decade before due to new larger aircraft,surrounding regions.especially those with a large share ofseat densification and higher loadPrior to the pandemic, U.S. airports international departures, have trailed infactors. For many airports these trendsreceived the vast majority of their their recovery and their own estimatesare positive, increasing the efficiency ofsupport from the Airport and Airway show traffic recovery as late as 2025 their airfields, as more passengers areTrust Fund (AATF) provided by fees on or 2026. delivered per operation. Airports withairlines, general aviation and shippers. A full industry recovery that getstightly circumscribed footprints (SAN,Taxpayer support was typically 20% or airports to a new normal will requireYYZ, DCA, JFK, etc.) see their usefulless of FAAs budget. The precipitous three major factors: lives extended by often a decade ordrop in traffic, however, combined with 1. Reliable Operations Todaysmore. But this same trend challengesa temporary suspension of the revenues aviation industry operates with a servicepassenger-centric infrastructure. Asbacking the AATF, will cause continuing tripwire where one or more problemsmore passengers fly, peaking occurs,pressure on taxpayers to support can ruin a day of travel, especiallystressing terminal holdrooms, securityaviation, significant reform or draconian during peak times. Convective weathercheckpoints, concessions andcutbacks when the FAA and its in the summer or snow in the winter,bathrooms. More peaking also hitsprograms will be reauthorized beginning airlines running full loads with little spareroadways and curbs with more vehiclesOct. 1, 2023. capacity across their networks, andrequired to deliver the higher passengerAdded to the three industry variables shortages of security and Customs staffloads, leading to landside congestion.mentioned above, is a challenging mix of can add up to thousands of miserableUnfortunately, U.S. terminal and landsiderecession risks, rising interest rates and customer experiences and airportinfrastructure enjoys less support andinflation, and global instability led by the terminals full of cots for involuntary stays.FAA funding eligibility than airfields. ongoing conflict in Ukraine.Improved airline and airport operations3. Policy Reform Deborah Flint,Traffic recovery is underway at North will require rebuilding staffs acrossCEO of the Greater Toronto AirportsAmerican airports. Full industry recovery the industry, especially in Canada andAuthority, previously served in theis not, however. We all need to spend Europe, and creating a much largersame position with Los Angeles Worldless time looking at recovery curves pipeline of pilots to fly regional, mainlineAirports. She notes that semi-privateand more time working together on and private aircraft. The star of thisCanadian airports such as YYZ receivedoperational, infrastructure and policy show has been United Airlines Aviatecomparatively little government supportimprovements to produce a prosperous Academy, which is taking traineescompared to their U.S. counterparts.industry we can all be proud of.September 2022AirportImprovement.com'