There’s Plenty of Smooth Air If We Ignore the Static

Paul Bowers

For most airports, the new year has begun much like 2023 ended. Planes, terminals and parking lots are full. There are more airport projects taking place than we’ve ever seen. Funding for future growth has been secured. Inflation has calmed down, and it appears that the Fed and White House have achieved the elusive soft landing that will keep fears of recession at bay.

This is certainly all good news. Even better news is that an expected reduction of interest rates in 2024 should encourage sustainable growth for the next few years.

OK, so we now have an economy that’s providing consumers who want to travel and wallets with cash to pay for it. As an industry, we have projects ready to keep pace with increased demand and the cash to pay for them. So, what could go wrong?

For starters, the rug can be pulled out from under FAA funding. Congress has played with the agency’s funding authority, which is scheduled to expire in March, as it continues to negotiate a long-term FAA reauthorization bill that’s been held up since June 2023.

Also looming is this year’s presidential election, where politics have the potential to wreak havoc with reason. The dialogue associated with the election will have an impact on Congress, consumer confidence and business investment decisions. I had already seen examples late last year of some businesses pulling back growth forecasts and reducing budgets due to a feared recession that never materialized. Not only will these actions hurt the companies themselves, but the ripple effect will hurt their employees, not to mention customers who will wait longer to receive orders placed.

There’s a lot to feel good about. Let’s do our part to keep it going.


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