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House Appropriations Subcommittee Approves $140 Million for Contract Towers

The contract towers look like they will be getting funding for at least another year.  The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation approved $140 million intended to help fund these vital towers through the next fiscal year once the current stopgap measure expires later this year.

I don’t claim to know much about the way government works, though to be totally honest I’m not sure the people in government really know how it works either, but I really don’t understand why this whole tower issue has become such a problem.  I agree that there are some of these towers that need to be closed because they just don’t have the traffic to support a tower, but many of these towers provide critical support to larger airports.

It is clear that many of these politicians have no idea how the National Air Traffic System works.  It is not just the tower at one airport that affects its traffic.  Every tower in the area affects every other tower’s operation.  You start eliminating some of these towers, and they will see how adversely impacted the entire system will be.

The measure still has to get through the full House and the Senate, so lets hope that somehow they will get past the politics and make this funding a reality.

June 19, 2013 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

Are Passenger Facility Charges the Answer to Airport Funding Problems?

I’m not sure if there is another industry that has started to nickel and dime its users more than aviation.  Some of these charges have already been implemented, and others have simply been proposed.  Airlines are now charging for food, checked baggage, and even for carry-ons in some cases.  Recently most of the major airlines also increased their flight change fees to $200, which was the same amount I paid for my last round-trip ticket in the first place.

Despite all of these new fees, and the simultaneous reduction in service, the airlines are still doing quite well.  Like many other industries, airlines will likely continue to increase fees and charges as much as the market will bear.  With the debatable success of all of these fees it is reasonable to question if airports couldn’t benefit from increasing these fees themselves.

In the past airports have relied heavily on the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) in order to fund major improvements like new runways, taxiways, or terminals.  However, as the cost of these improvements has increased there has not been a coinciding increase in funds.  Airports are having to get creative with ways to fund the projects they need because this previous source just isn’t cutting it.

One of these income sources are Passenger Facility Charges (PFC).  PFCs are currently capped by Congress at $4.50 but there is an increasing number of supporters trying to get that cap lifted.  The airports themselves are one of the biggest supporters of lifting the cap, but groups like AAAE are also lobbying hard to make this a reality.

I don’t know if PFCs are necessarily the answer, but it is time to give airports more ability to support themselves.  Congress has shown their complete ineptitude when it comes to pretty much anything, but especially when it comes to budgets and funding anything.  They need to get out of the way of the people who know how to fix problems and take care of their needs.

Whether it is PFCs or some other source, it is clear that airports need more funding to support their needs, let alone their wants.  What do you think, should Congress lift the cap on PFCs, or is there another way for airports to raise the money they need?

May 19, 2013 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

AAAE Recognizes 57 Airports For Training Excellence

Alexandria, Va. — The American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) has recognized 57 airports with an ANTN Digicast Excellence in Airport Training award for training completed in calendar year 2011. The award winners are:

  • Aspen/Pitkin County Airport
  • Augusta Regional Airport
  • Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
  • Blue Grass Airport
  • Centennial Airport
  • Charlotte County Airport
  • Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport Authority
  • Chicago Rockford International Airport
  • Dallas Love Field
  • Daytona Beach International Airport
  • Dothan Regional Airport
  • Elmira Corning Regional Airport
  • Evansville Regional Airport
  • Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority
  • Gainesville Regional Airport
  • Griffiss International Airport
  • Hilton Head Island Airport Fire/Operations
  • Huntsville-Madison County Airport Authority
  • Jack Brooks Regional Airport
  • Jackson Municipal Airport Authority
  • Jacksonville Fire & Rescue Training Academy
  • Kenai Municipal Airport
  • Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport
  • Lakeland Linder Regional Airport
  • Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport
  • Little Rock National Airport
  • Louisville International Airport
  • Middle Tennessee State University
  • Morristown Municipal Airport
  • N.W. Arkansas Regional Airport Authority
  • Nantucket Memorial Airport
  • Naples Municipal Airport
  • New Bedford Regional Airport
  • New Castle Airport
  • Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport
  • Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport
  • Palm Springs International Airport
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
  • Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport
  • Port Columbus International Airport
  • Pueblo Memorial Airport
  • Purdue University Airport
  • Rapid City Regional Airport
  • Republic Airport
  • Rickenbacker International Airport
  • Roanoke Regional Airport Commission
  • San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport
  • Scottsdale Airport
  • St. George Municipal Airport
  • Tallahassee Regional Airport
  • Teterboro Airport
  • The University of Oklahoma Max Westheimer Airport
  • Tweed New Haven Airport
  • University Park Airport
  • Van Nuys Airport
  • Wichita Airport Authority
  • Will Rogers World Airport

The award signifies that airport employees and others working at each facility have completed a certain amount of federally mandated airport-specific and continuing education training using ANTN Digicast’s Web-based training system. The award levels are based on total training programs watched and total number of employees trained at each airport. Levels vary based on the airport’s hub size. Each winning airport is presented with a plaque marking the achievement.

“An Excellence in Airport Training award underscores an airport’s commitment to improving operations, safety, and overall preparedness through advanced training,” said Joan Lowden, AAAE senior vice president of communications and general manager of AAAE’s Airport News and Training Network (ANTN) division that produces ANTN Digicast. “ANTN Digicast is designed to be used by airports nationwide as a cost-effective, efficient way to help comply with federally mandated training needs and advanced training curriculum, and we’re honored to recognize the ones that maximize the system’s usefulness.”

Airports that subscribe to ANTN Digicast have unlimited access to the service’s training programs, which currently number some 500 videos. Topics covered range from operations, ARFF, security, customer service, FAA required recurrent training, and more.  ANTN Digicast training is designed for airport employees as well as tenants, such as airline workers and subcontractors, who work at an airport.

Digicast programming is accessible online via any Web-enabled computer, and the system tracks training on a per-user basis, allowing airports to demonstrate to regulators that their employees have completed required recurrent training.

For more information on ANTN Digicast, visit


Founded in 1928, AAAE ( is the world’s largest professional organization representing the men and women who work at public-use commercial and general aviation airports. AAAE’s 5,000-plus members represent some 850 airports and hundreds of companies and organizations that support the airport industry. Headquartered in Alexandria, Va., AAAE serves its membership through results-oriented representation in Washington, D.C., and delivers a wide range of industry services and professional development opportunities, including training, conferences, and a highly respected accreditation program.

February 7, 2012 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.