AAAE 2014 Annual Conference
Burns & McDonnell
Delta Airport Consultants, Inc.
Interactive Employee Training System (IET)
Kaba ADS Americas
Ricondo & Associates, Inc.
Transportation Security Clearinghouse
Yardi Systems Inc.
Inside Front Cover
Inside Back Cover
second, the national media began intensive
24-hour coverage about the delays, which were
affecting hundreds of thousands of air travelers
As a result, it quickly became a major news
story. After a week of constant hammering on
the airwaves, both political parties in Congress
realized that if this situation continued, they likely
would end up getting much of the blame, since
the furloughs had been implemented as a result of
the sequester. So, just before recessing for another
vacation, Congress quickly passed a bi-partisan
bill that allowed FAA to shift monies between
accounts in order to fully fund controller salaries
for the rest of this fiscal year, and thus put an end
to the furloughs.
Unfortunately, that “solution,” while good
news for air travelers and the airlines, turned out
to be bad news for airports, because the money
to fund controller salaries was taken from this
fiscal year’s AIP carryover funds, thus reducing
the pool of discretionary money by a quarter of
a billion dollars. Prior to this action, AIP funds
statutorily had been exempt from the sequester.
The bill not only put an end to that exemption but
also reversed (at least for this fiscal year) a long-standing congressional policy that AIP funds are to
be used only for airport capital projects and not to
Col. Potter’s Wisdom
fund FAA operating costs. An alarming precedent
for the future now has been set.
This issue is another excellent example of
the cost and operational impact of Washington
gridlock to our industry. Had a “real” budget been
in effect for this year, rather than the draconian
sequester, it is reasonable to assume that neither
the proposed contract tower closures nor the
controller furloughs would have ever occurred,
and airports would not now be trying to figure
out how to deal with an unexpected and very
significant reduction in AIP funding.
None of us knows if or when the current
political situation in Washington will improve.
Airports of all sizes have a lot riding on the
outcome, and we must all work together to
keep fighting the good fight on our issues, as
challenging as that may be.
Today’s problems in Washington are a good
metaphor for the angst that Sherman T. Potter
sometimes felt with the U.S. Army. On one
occasion, when commenting on a particularly
frustrating situation, Col. Potter said, “I would
prefer the mumps. At least they will go away.” As
citizens and airport professionals, we can only
hope that our choices going forward will end up
being a lot better than that!