A modern air system can best be achieved by pro-connectivity, pro-growth and pro-traveler policy.
In the next decade, air travel could grow to more than 900 million passengers, which could add billions in annual U.S. travel spending and support 750,000 new American jobs. However, America’s crumbling aviation infrastructure and limited air service options threaten this future growth.
Modernizing America’s Airports
Investment in basic airport infrastructure has not kept up with demand for travel, nor does it currently compare with our international competitors’ investment in their countries’ airports. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave American airport infrastructure a D rating in 2013. Additionally, America's aviation infrastructure ranks 9th in the world, with 1 in 5 flights cancelled or delayed, and 75 percent of routes are dominated by one airline having more than 50 percent of the market share.
Improving U.S. airport infrastructure begins with fundamentally shifting the system’s financing to a user fee-based model—adjusting the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) cap—an approach that will increase local control over infrastructure improvements, help increase air service and enhance the air passenger experience.
Preserving Open Skies Agreements
For decades, the U.S. has negotiated Open Skies agreements with more than 100 countries to permit unrestricted market access in international aviation. These agreements eliminate government control over routing, frequency and pricing and have led to lower fares, more competition and higher passenger growth.
As international travel grows, Open Skies agreements have been critical in America’s efforts to capture a share of this highly lucrative market. Since 2009, increased international travel to the U.S. has delivered $50 billion to our economy. Studies suggest that Open Skies has generated at least $4 billion in benefits for travelers, including lowering fares by nearly 15 percent. Negotiating additional Open Skies agreements could bring an additional $4 billion per year in traveler gains.
Travel to and within the United States supports 15.1 million American jobs, with international travel spending directly supporting more than a million U.S. jobs.