Airport World editor, Joe Bates, reflects on the infrastructure challenges facing US airports in this ‘master planning and design’ themed issue and looks forward to 2020.
Planning for the future
The seemingly never ending need for new airport infrastructure comes under the spotlight in our ‘master planning and design’ themed final 2019 issue of Airport World.
We have features on China’s new $12.9 billion Beijing Daxing International Airport, the opening of Yogyakarta International Airport in Indonesia and the new trend of ‘greening’ airport terminals.
However, the US and its need for new airport infrastructure is the main focus of our ‘master planning & design’ section. We turn the spotlight on a handful of the US’s leading airport architectural firms and some of the pioneering projects they are working on or have recently completed.
We also hear from ACI-NA president and CEO, Kevin Burke, who reiterates his warning from earlier this year that the US needs to find the means to rebuild the country’s aviation infrastructure and improve the airport experience for millions of travellers.
Indeed, he reveals that the country’s gateways are facing more than $128 billion in new infrastructure needs across the system despite having a debt burden of $91.6 billion from past projects, a situation he fears has left US airports “terminally challenged”.
So, how will the US find the funds to build this new infrastructure and avoid becoming a victim of its own success and running out of airport capacity? Will it finally raise the $4.50 cap on the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) to provide airports with the self-help they need to finance vital infrastructure projects?
Maybe the US will look to the private sector and PPP or P3 projects with more gusto than ever before to finance, build and operate new terminals or other key pieces of infrastructure?
Or perhaps new legislation will be passed that completely changes the way US airports are funded?
The US theme continues with a feature about the challenges of airport construction projects and best practices for controlling costs.
Elsewhere in this issue, we have articles about the growing trend of airport innovation labs; and how advances in wireless technology and cloud-based data can deliver multiple benefits to airside operations.
Our main airport feature is on Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport, where Metropolitan Airports Commission CEO, Brian Ryks, talks about everything from engaging with the local business community and route development to MSP’s Airport Service Quality (ASQ) success.
We also hear from ACI World director general, Angela Gittens, who reminds us about the importance of green infrastructure when accommodating traffic growth; report on the expanding route networks of a handful of European airports; and discover the latest news from ACI’s World Business Partners. A busy and exciting issue to end the year on, I hope you’ll agree.
The next issue of your favourite airport magazine will be out in March 2020 ahead of the Airport Economics & Finance Conference and Exhibition in Kuala Lumpur. I am already looking forward to it!
Finally, as we say goodbye to 2019 and hello to 2020, I would like to say bon voyage and good luck in their new endeavours to outgoing ACI regional directors Patti Chau (Asia-Pacific) and Javier Martínez (Latin America & Caribbean) and, of course, wish a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year to all our readers.