Thanksgiving-like Air Travel Will Soon Be a Weekly Norm, Studies Find

Published on : Thursday, November 21, 2013

us travel associationU.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:

 

“Next week, huge numbers of Americans are going to experience first-hand that the U.S. transportation system is no longer the envy of the world-in fact, we’ve fallen way behind our global competitors,” said Dow. “It has become clear that the federal government can no longer care for our infrastructure on its own. In releasing these studies, the message we are sending is that every option needs to be on the table.”

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.

Source:- U.S. Travel Association

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