A modern air system can best be achieved by pro-connectivity, pro-growth and pro-traveler policy.

Quick Facts

Over the next decade (2017-2026), air travel is forecast to grow from 838 million to 996 million enplanements per year, which could add an additional $236 billion in annual travel spending and support 772,000 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 2017. 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 15.3 million American jobs, with international travel spending directly supporting more than a million U.S. jobs. 

Recommendations

Modernize airport infrastructure

Local airports need the authority to increase passenger facility charges to provide more funding for new airport improvements. The 30 largest hub airports would then be able to forego $1.5 billion in federal grants over 10 years.

Expand air service

Protecting existing Open Skies agreements will eliminate government control over airline routing, flight frequency and pricing and continue to increase connectivity that encourages travel. This lowers fares for travelers and provides access to more flights.

Quick Facts

  • 17

    years

    Since Congress authorized an increase in the passenger facility charge (PFC).
    The PFC is a key funding source to help airports modernize. Without funding to modernize, U.S. airports will have lowered ability to provide a quality air travel experience and be less competitive with airports in other parts of the world.
  • 1 in 5

    Flights delayed or cancelled in 2014.
    Flight delays have reached their highest levels since 2008, and flight cancellations have reached their highest level since 2000.
  • 75

    %

    U.S. airline routes dominated by 1 carrier with more than 50% market share.
    Airline competition is stagnant, driving up airfares and pricing some people out of the market.

Research, News and Commentary on Air Travel

Aviation Agreements Benefitting America's Travel Industry Upheld

February 02, 2018

In President Trump’s State of the Union address earlier this week, he suggested several opportunities for the travel industry to partner with his administration on shared priorities. 

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Fixing Our Airports, Growing International Travel Are Crucial to Trump’s SOTU Priorities

January 31, 2018

The travel industry welcomes the president’s attention on the crucial topics of infrastructure, trade and national security—and knows exactly how to help him achieve his goals in these areas. 

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Image of Airplane tail in the sky during flight

U.S. Travel Reacts to Open Skies Qatar Decision

January 30, 2018

We are very pleased that the Big Three U.S. airlines and their allies are embracing the administration's wise decision to reject both a freeze on international flights and renegotiation of Open Skies agreements. 

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Image of Airplane tail in the sky during flight

U.S. Travel Reacts to Open Skies Pending Agreement with Qatar

January 29, 2018

For three years, we’ve sought to protect American jobs and travel by defending Open Skies agreements. 

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CBP officer

Travel Industry Welcomes Senate Bill to Increase CBP Staffing

January 19, 2018

U.S. Travel Association Senior Vice President of Government Relations Victoria Barnes issued the following statement upon the introduction of S.2314, which would increase the number of of U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at ports of entry. 

 
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Travel Industry Ends 2017 Strong

December 22, 2017

Our final check-in reflects on the many achievements we accomplished together this year. Thank you for all that you do to make our industry strong—I look forward to continuing our work in 2018.

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