Category Archives: Legislative

Inside the U.S. Airport System

Whether you’re a seasoned airport executive or a newcomer to the world of airports, this report will teach you something. The National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS) is the U.S. airport system’s master plan, if you will. (If you’re new to airports, here’s a good overview of what a master plan is, courtesy of our friends in Memphis).

Updated every two years, the NPIAS details (mostly) public-use airports deemed “significant” to air transportation and (here’s the really important part) eligible for Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funding. The report highlights planned capital development projects–terminals, taxiways, and more mundane stuff–for the next five years, and categorizes the data (.pdf) by airport type, project type, state, and more.

In short, it’s a comprehensive overview of what’s going on with the nation’s airport system.

The newest NPIAS, released October 5, includes 3,355 airports, the fewest since FAA began releasing such plans when factoring in both existing and planned facilities (see chart below). Not all public-use airports make the NPIAS–there are 5,171 public-use airports, according to FAA. This year’s NPIAS also includes 77 privately owned airports.

NPIAS airports over time

The entire report–and its Narrative section (.pdf) in particular–are worth perusing. The entire document is worth bookmarking or parking in your reference section. Here are some highlights pulled (pretty much) straight from the document:

The FAA estimates that over the next 5 years (2013 to 2017), there will be $42.5 billion of AIP eligible infrastructure projects.  This is a decrease of 19 percent ($9.8 billion) from the report issued 2 years ago and reflects a decrease in estimated needs for all airport categories and all types of airport development except projects to improve airfield capacity, which increased 2.5 percent, mostly at the large hub airports.

Sixty-three percent of the identified development is intended to rehabilitate existing infrastructure, maintain a state of good repair, and keep airports up to standards for the aircraft that use them.  Thirty-seven percent of the development in the report is intended to accommodate growth in travel, including more passengers, cargo and activity, and larger aircraft.

The 499 commercial service airports…account for 15 percent of the airports and 69 percent of the total development in this report.  Large hubs have the greatest estimated development needs, accounting for $15 billion (35 percent) of the $42.5 billion identified.

Total development needs decreased across every development category, except capacity, which saw a slight increase.

Initial takeaways from the report? Airports, responding to the challenging economic climate of the last several years, are adjusting their capital plans accordingly. That said, there’s still a lot of work ($42.5 billion of it, to be precise) to be done, because the demand for air travel–whether it be passengers, packages, or private folk bolstering business and general aviation–isn’t going away.

Access the entire report, section by section, as well as recent NPIAS reports here.

Video: One on One with Politico’s Charlie Mahtesian

AAAE’s One on One features interviews with Washington insiders on the latest from Capitol Hill and across the aviation industry.  Bookmark the AAAE YouTube page where these timely and informative videos will be archived.

In this edition, AAAE’s Todd Hauptli goes One on One with Charles Mahtesian, National Politics Editor for Politico.  Charles joined Politico after five years as the editor of National Journal’s Almanac of American Politics, the biennial book often referred to as “the bible of American politics.”  Approximately six weeks out from the November elections, Todd and Charles discuss the competitive House and Senate races to predict the election outcome for each chamber, using 270 To Win to illustrate their predictions.  Charles will join us in the studio again just before the election to discuss the outlook for the Presidential race.