The surge in air travel has airport executives concerned about the swelling lines and crowds.
“Long term, this is an issue that every airport has been grappling with,” said Joel Bacon, executive vice president of government and public affairs at the American Association of Airport Executives, which represents the managers of more than 800 U.S. airports. “Our aging facilities are not intended to accommodate the kind of crowds we are seeing.”
Bacon said his organization has been lobbying lawmakers to increase the passenger facility fee that is charged on all airline tickets to pay for airport modernization and expansion projects. The fee is now $4.50 for every segment of a flight — an amount that he said hasn’t been raised since 2000.
Airline trade groups, however, have opposed a fee increase, saying a hike will discourage people from flying and is not needed because air carriers are already investing heavily in terminal upgrades.
Bacon acknowledged that airlines are investing in airports but said the investments are only going toward terminals used by their passengers, not on common areas of the airport. He also said that airlines are not investing heavily in small- and medium-sized airports.