Sustained investment in airport infrastructure and a continuing view of all airports as part of a national aviation-transportation network are paramount to maintaining America’s world-leading aviation system, NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen told U.S. lawmakers yesterday at a House aviation subcommittee hearing on airport financing and development.
“Airports are a key component in our transportation system, and they are an important element in business aviation operations,” Bolen said. “There are about 5,000 public-use airports in the U.S., and business aircraft are able to fly into most of them. Business aviation relies heavily on secondary and tertiary airports.”
But, he added, “Local airports also serve a critical role in supporting flights for schools, universities, agricultural services, emergency medical services, postal services, fire and rescue teams, law enforcement and other services. The airports are also local economic engines, bringing people and goods from communities to national and global markets, stimulating local economic growth.”
Bolen identified three key priorities for maintaining and enhancing the nation’s airport system: a strong federal commitment to the Airport Improvement Program (AIP), which funds airport improvements; airports must be equipped to meet national economic and other objectives; and federal support for airports must include continuing opposition to local attempts to curb access or close facilities.