Airport managers are worried about the country’s facilities as the crowds increase at record highs. They question whether or not U.S. airports will be able to handle the exceedingly high demand for air travel. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which was created after the September 1, 2001, terrorist attacks, reported screening in 2.67 million flyers this past Friday, prior to Independence Day.
What they have recorded is the second highest figure since the administration was created, reports the Los Angeles Times. More records may yet be broken before the end of 2018, which has executives scratching their heads and rushing to find a solution to the impending issue of overcrowding. More fees have been mentioned.
Joel Bacon, the executive vice president of government and public affairs at the American Association of Airport Executives, has spoken to journalists recently about the conundrum. This group has been representing managers of more than 800 U.S. airports. Bacon and his organization have been lobbying lawmakers to increase the passenger facility fee, which is charged to every single airline ticket purchased.
These fees are used toward airport expansion projects and modernization. Indeed, the idea to increase facility fees could be the answer airport managers are seeking. Perhaps the additional funds would allow for much needed, larger upgrades to U.S. airports.
“Long term, this is an issue that every airport has been grappling with. Our aging facilities are not intended to accommodate the kind of crowds we are seeing.”
Despite the stated reasoning for upping facility fees, airline trade groups are opposed to the notion. Costs of flying are already a struggle for many people, and trade groups claim a hike in prices could discourage air travel. According to them, air carriers are already sinking more investments into terminal upgrades, rendering such added fees as useless and unnecessary. Bacon obviously disagrees.
While acknowledging that air carriers are in fact investing in such a way, he says upgrades to terminals are not all that these airports require in order to accommodate copious loads of passengers lining up to fly in common areas of the airports. There are reports that these air carriers are allegedly not investing in small and medium sized airports at all.
Currently, the facility fee is $4.50 for each and every segment of all flights. The amount has not been raised since the year 2000. U.S. Travel Associations have predicted domestic travel will continue increasing by about 2.5 percent over the next six months thanks to cheaper air fares.