Airports Group reach Consensus on PFC position and More?

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Article:  ACI/AAAE Joint Statement

As often noted here, the world of Washington Aviation trade associations is painted in shades of gray (non-prurient) . Nuances are the primary palate of the participants. Why one organization takes a specific position or why this group exists requires great scrutiny of the tableau. Under this genre of Washington aviation imagery, someone lacking the eye for the interstices of black and white surely had questions why airports have two (or is it three?) representatives—ACI, which represents the large airports, AAAE, which represents the professionals who work at all airports and an offshoot group of mega airports, the Gateway Airports Council.

Nothing so confuses the Congress or confounds the Executive Branch as multiple messages from one industry (see any number of problems caused by the lack of unanimity about NextGen) or even worse from one segment of that sector. The Congressional consternation is further exacerbated by its own internal ineptitudes, labeled as Sequestration or the Shutdown.

The linked statement is an important step by the leaders of the aviation groups to announce that they have reached consensus and will speak with one voice. On one visible, critical issue, they now all concur that Congress should adopt an increase in the PFC to $8.50 plus “cycling” (periodic, rather than annual, indexing) and AAAE’s dropping of its position that PFCs should have no cap.

Further the Board leadership instructed their executives to:

·         align their positions on other key federal policy issues;

·         develop strategies, tactics and messaging so that airports will be perceived as speaking with a single voice on legislative and regulatory issues; and

·         examine possible structures to oversee the effort to speak with one voice.

The responses to these questions are expected by December 20, 2013.

Finally, an interim government affairs council (composed of the two Board Chairs, the two CEO’s, the two senior government affairs staff and the Chair of the ACI-NA government affairs committee and the Chair of AAAE’s ALA) will review the staffs’ plan and provide oversight of the collaborative government affairs work of the two organizations. While AAAE has named its next CEO, ACI choice has not been announced.

In the range of grays this announcement moves the position to the variation known as gainsboro, that is the airports are adding a lot of light to their segment’s position and that’s good for aviation. Clearly, it took a lot of effort for these airport directors and professionals to develop some consensus and clarity.

Now if our elected officials could study the good work of AAAE, ACI and the Gateway Airports Council.

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