Centerlines - September 2008 - (Page 17)

A S S O C I AT E S ’ C O R N E R Flight Plan Tomorrow’s national aviation infrastructure crisis can be averted by working toward new capacity today A IR PORT DEL AY S H AV E reached unprec- edented levels as air travel rebounds to the volume of traffic seen before Sept. 11, 2001. The result is thousands of misplaced bags, increased security hassles, hours stuck on runways and a hub-andspoke model that amplifies across the nation the delays at a single airport. The industry, as well as the general public, knows that the United States has runway and airspace infrastructure that is inadequate to handle the current traffic. In fact, in a airports must address land constraints, environmental regulations, escalating costs and advocacy groups challenging virtually all airport expansion efforts. At best, a new runway can take just 17 years, as was the case at the MinneapolisSt. Paul International Airport runway which opened in 2006. However, at Boston’s Logan International Airport, it took 40 years to build a runway—a worst case scenario, for sure. The good news is that there are steps that can be taken to expedite runway projects. One step is advance planning, which is a vital first step that extends IF we don’t act now and build more runways at the best possible speed, we do not have a hope of meeting American’s long-term aviation needs. survey conducted by HNTB in 2007, 44 percent of respondents indicated that expanding airport facilities to include more runways would be one of the most helpful tactics to take to reduce airport flights delays. Delays are expected to become longer and more frequent as air passenger traffic continues to increase 3 to 4 percent annually over the next 20 years, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Recent capacity cutbacks by major U.S. airlines to mitigate high fuel costs have bought the nation some time by temporarily reducing traffic at airports, but the need for more American runways is inescapable. Under ideal conditions, a new runway takes years to deliver. In contemplating a new runway, the planning period for a complex runway project, but ends up shortening the overall timeline for completion. Advanced planning bridges the gap between the airport master plan and the start of the design phase. It is proactive, detail-oriented and it helps ensure that the project is integrated and coordinated with all aspects of the airport’s development program and operations. Another tactic used to shorten the overall timeline is to begin the environmental process before the planning process is complete. By moving up the environment process, issues can be identified faster and coordination with agencies that have jurisdiction may start and end sooner. It also is helpful to engage the surrounding community sooner to identify concerns and address them early on to secure the community’s buy-in. Plus, according to the FAA, an airport can minimize litigation and enhance its position if sued, by soliciting early, transparent public involvement. Construction phasing is another way to shrink the timeline. With careful sequencing of construction, the runway project will have minimal effect on operations of the existing airfield while maintaining the construction schedule and budget of the new project. Finally, airports should coordinate early with FAA to ensure that the airspace design, approach and departure procedures, installation of navigational aids, etc., happen simultaneously and as early as possible. That way, when the concrete is ready to be commissioned, everything else is ready, too. We face a major infrastructure capacity crisis. If we don’t act now and build more runways at the best possible speed, we do not have a hope of meeting American’s long-term aviation needs. ■ E VA N F U T T E R M A N AV I A T IO N M A R K E T S E R V I C E S L E A DE R HNTB Evan Futterman is the aviation market services leader for HNTB and a member of the ACI-NA. Futterman is responsible for the strategic direction and management of the firm’s aviation practice worldwide. ACI-NA’s Operations & Technical Affairs Committee is working within the industry and the government to streamline the review and construction of new runways. Futterman and other HNTB staff have long been active on the committee. | CENTERLINES 17

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Centerlines - September 2008

Centerlines - September 2008
Welcome to Boston
President’s Message
Canadian Airports
Associates’ Corner
Policy Center
On the Hill and On the Stump
Downes Award
ACI-NA 60th Anniversary
Host Airport Profile
Cover Story: James L. Oberstar
Regulatory Front: Security Standards
Security: Checkpoint Evolution
Environment: Measuring Greenhouse Gases at Sea-Tac
Air Service: Wild, Wild Ride
Passenger Focus: DOT’s Complaint Desk
On Management: “TLC” at John Wayne
Revenue Arena: A Tale of Two Diversified Cities
Media Relations: New Media
Now Underway
Grand Openings
New Members
Conference Sponsors
Conference Exhibitors
Index of Advertisers/
Box Scores

Centerlines - September 2008