145 travel leaders urge Congress to help US airports


145 organizations from 38 states—including major corporations, trade associations, and state and local tourism agencies signed a letter urging House and Senate leaders to provide long-needed infrastructure help for U.S. airports.

A Senate-passed measure lets airports raise more of their own capital at the local level through an existing user fee, the Passenger Facility Charge. The measure also protects rural travelers by prohibiting fee increases for connecting flights.

eTN Chatroom: Discuss with readers from around the world:

The letter from business and travel leaders urges lawmakers to support the Senate’s approach to airport funding. The system badly needs investments to improve the passenger experience, enhance airline competition and facilitate economic growth, it says.

“The health of our airport infrastructure is vital to passengers, the economy and our country’s global competitiveness. The president campaigned on this issue,” said U.S. Travel Association Vice President of Government Relations Erik Hansen. “It’s time for Congress to prioritize the interests of the broader travel industry and, as our letter shows, virtually everyone—save but a small handful of airlines—supports the Senate’s approach to airport funding.”

The letter, organized by U.S. Travel, reads in part: “In 2015, domestic and inbound international air passengers spent $409 billion, which directly supported 3.4 million American jobs. Over the next decade, air travel is forecast to grow from 776 million to 926 million enplanements per year, which could add an additional $224 billion in annual travel spending and support 750,000 new American jobs. Unfortunately, this growth can only be realized if our airports have the financial resources to modernize and promote competition.”