Thanksgiving-like Passenger Congestion to be Year-Round Norm without Major Infrastructure Investment
November 20, 2013 3:52am
Major Investment in U.S. Air Travel System Needed to Avoid Serious Delays and Economic Harm
WASHINGTON (November 20, 2013) - U.S. air travel infrastructure is in such bad shape that Thanksgiving-like passenger congestion will be a year-round reality at nearly all of the top 50 U.S. airports within the decade, two new studies find.
The companion studies, released Wednesday by the U.S. Travel Association and the Eno Center for Transportation, reveal that infrastructure is already struggling to keep up with current air travel demand. Expected growth in passenger volume threatens to overwhelm the system completely, and significant harm to the U.S. economy will follow.
"Travel has been one of the leading sectors of the economic recovery, but that success won't be sustainable unless our infrastructure keeps pace," said U.S. Travel President and CEO Roger Dow. "Every projection holds that the demand for travel will continue to dramatically rise, which portends terrific things for the growth of jobs and tax revenues. But that rising demand will be stifled without a significant effort to modernize infrastructure, and unfortunately the moment of greatest need has already arrived."
"Over the next decade, delays in our aviation system have the potential to inhibit travel and economic growth, and current federal policies are not structured to effectively address anticipated capacity issues," said Eno Center President and CEO Joshua Schank. "In our paper, Eno looks at specific airports and the various ways they are capacity constrained, and proposes four policy recommendations that could reduce delays and enable greater economic benefits."
U.S. Travel's study, "Thanksgiving in the Skies," examined passenger volume and growth data to calculate how soon the average day at the nation's airports will resemble the busiest travel days of the year. The study focused on the top 30 airports, which accounted for 70 percent of total passenger enplanements in 2012. Its major findings:
The Eno Center study, "Addressing Future Capacity Needs in the U.S. Aviation System," examined the existing infrastructure at six major airports and concluded that failure to immediately expand capacity will have dire economic effects on the regions they serve and the U.S. as a whole. Its major findings:
The Eno Center study recommends a series of policy changes to address the issue:
The two aviation studies were released at U.S. Travel's Connecting America Through Travel (CATT) conference, a day-long summit of national transportation leaders from the public and private sector aimed at pursuing innovative solutions to infrastructure problems.
Click here for infographics on when one day a week and two days a week will feel like the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
Tags: u.s. air travel,
u.s. travel association
Contact: Cathy Keefe
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Contact: Chris Kennedy
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