Centerlines - September 2008 - (Page 40)

COVER STORY INVESTING IN AIRPORTS B Y T HOM A S J. S M I T H House Transportation Committee Chairman discusses prospects for FAA Reauthorization, NextGen I n a wide-ranging interview, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman James L. Oberstar (D-Minn.) discussed with ACI-NA Vice President of Government Affairs Scott Weaver a number of aviation related topics including the future of the aviation industry, the stalled Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization bill, and the importance of investing in airports. The Future of the Aviation Industry In the next year, actions by federal regulators will determine if there is a need to subject airlines to new regulations, said Oberstar. “I am very concerned about the proposed Delta-Northwest merger. I think it is the biggest threat to deregulation.” Oberstar, who has been involved in aviation issues for over 40 years as a staffer and a committee member, played a key role in passing the 1978 law which disbanded the Civil Aviation Board and deregulated the airlines. “If it should be approved by the Department of Justice,” he said, “there will be an immediate cascade of mergers. If it should go through, then as a consequence, there will be a justifiable appeal to return to some form of management of the domestic aviation system. It should be managed in the public interest rather than in the corporate interest of the mega-carriers.” Oberstar also noted that he has “lined up a great deal of support to derail” the Delta-Northwest merger should the Justice Department approve it in order for the traveling public to be best served. Even if reregulation is avoided, Oberstar sees the major U.S. carriers evolving into strictly long-haul carriers with transcontinental or international routes. In his view it is the only way these carriers can be profitable. Restructured regional carriers and a revitalized Amtrak will service the short-haul routes—either connecting service to hubs or point to point between smaller markets. Admittedly, the new structure will create a “quandary for small communities,” and the federal government will need to step forward to keep these airports viable, Oberstar said. The aid would include greater funding for initiatives such as the Essential Air Service program and the Airport Improvement Program so noncommercial airports can handle private flights critical to local industries. PHOTOS © D.C. HUGHES/LEMUR NEWS IMAGES “The FAA is talking about NextGen, but they are not going to be ready for another 10 years. We need something much more immediate.” EVEN if reregulation is avoided, Oberstar sees the major U.S. carriers evolving into strictly long-haul carriers with transcontinental or international routes. 40 CENTERLINES | SEPTEMBER 2008

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