The Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) is disappointed in the latest U.S. government budget proposal, which seeks nearly $1 billion in cuts from the FAA Airport Improvement Plan in the Fiscal Year 2009 budget. The proposal for 2009 would reduce airport improvement plan spending by $765 million compared to 2008 but also by $1.1 billion compared to numbers in the FAA reauthorization bill pending in Congress. The budgetary move is significant because airline delays and traffic congestion are due mostly to lack of capacity at airports rather than airspace constraints, according to the association.
“Without increased funding, airports cannot fulfill their obligation to the flying public: to operate safe, secure and efficient facilities,” said ACI-NA president Greg Principato. “With delays and congestion at an all-time high, and a record one billion passengers expected in the skies by 2015, airports need to act now to improve capacity and their ability to handle ever-increasing numbers of air travelers. The administration’s budget proposal will not allow for the kind of expansion that is vital to our aviation system.”