In this issue:
- Airline support for PFCs?
- Airport privatization on the rise in Europe
- Politics upsets LaGuardia revamp
- U.K. Airports Commission seeks a solution
- Are new airport trains worth what they cost?
- News Notes
- Quotable Quotes
Airline Support for Passenger Facility Charges
Last issue’s article about U.S. airports’ new efforts to obtain an increase in the federal cap on individual airports’ passenger facility charges (PFCs) generated a lot of comments. One retired airline CEO opined, “Airlines, if they had any sense, would support raising the PFC. The alternative is more and more run-down facilities, which neither they nor their customers will enjoy.” I wish he would say that publicly!
But the most interesting comments came from a relatively new (but aviation-savvy) staffer at the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the global airline trade organization. He expressed surprise at the U.S. airlines’ opposition to a more robust PFC regime, as being contrary to the position of many IATA member airlines. And to back this up, he attached a one-page IATA document titled “Passenger Based Airport Charges.” In bold type under this headline, the document says, “It is in the interest of both the airport and the airlines to recover these costs [of facilities to serve passengers] through passenger based charges instead of other aeronautical based charges.”
In the body of the document, it states as the IATA position the following:
“Overall, IATA recommends airports to progressively recover aeronautical infrastructure costs through direct passenger based charges instead of other aeronautical based charges. It should be noted that any passenger based charge needs to be in full compliance with the applicable legal and regulatory obligations.”
It goes on to add that “Wherever possible and practical, airports should transition to passenger based charges. This can include a combination of one or more of the following steps:
- Per passenger calculation [rather than based on numbers of flights or landed weight]
- Cost recovery from passengers [in accord with IATA user-pay principles]
- Collection mechanism [by the airlines, on behalf of the airport]”
The document concludes by stating that the key benefits of charging per passenger are:
(1) Accountability [so that passengers can see what they are paying and compare it with what other airports charge] and,
(2) Risk sharing [with airlines paying for runways and passengers paying for terminals].
I’m amazed that this strong support for PFCs at the international airline level is so little known in this country-to reporters, to members of Congress, and to taxpayer groups that for many years have been bamboozled into believing airline propaganda calling an increase in the PFC cap “a federal tax increase,” when it is nothing of the sort.
But I also want to suggest that U.S. airlines have a new reason to take a fresh look at PFCs in the upcoming FAA reauthorization. It’s been clear for several years that the current federal funding structure for aviation is not sustainable. That was the conclusion of the FAA’s own 2011-2013 Management Advisory Council even before the budget sequester that led to furloughs of air traffic controllers and the near shut-down of 149 contract towers last year. That situation is a key factor in growing support for taking the Air Traffic Organization (ATO) out of the FAA and making it self-supporting from a new set of ATC fees and charges, consistent with the ICAO charging principles used everywhere else in the world.
Most airlines support that major change-but insist that if they are going to be paying ATC fees sufficient to support the capital and operating costs of a self-supporting ATO, then all the existing federal aviation excise taxes must be abolished. That sounds fine . . . until you come to the other use of the revenue from those taxes: the Airport Improvement Program. AIP currently gets $3.4 billion from those taxes, nearly half of which goes to large, medium, and small airports (which handle nearly all airline service) and the other half to non-hubs, relievers, and general aviation airports. If those taxes all go away, how could airports make up for their current $3.4 billion in AIP grants?
One way would be for the large, medium, and small hubs to be allowed to increase their PFCs to a level that would replace what they formerly received from AIP (about $1.46 billion a year). That would leave just under $2 billion a year to make up for current AIP spending on non-commercial airports, plus FAA’s administrative costs for managing AIP. The answer to that is the “general support contribution” to FAA’s budget, which in recent years has ranged between 20 and 30%. Figuring 25% of the current $15.3 billion FAA budget yields general support of about $3.8 billion. That should be enough to cover FAA’s current safety and miscellaneous non-ATC activities, along with the $1.75 billion it now spends on AIP grants for non-commercial airports.
Under this approach, airlines would get their wish-abolition of all the current aviation excise taxes, and a self-supporting ATC system separate from FAA. Small airports would get their current level of AIP grants, now paid for out of the general fund portion of FAA’s budget. The only thing the airlines would have to do is to allow commercial airports to replace their AIP grants with self-generated revenues from increased PFCs.
Airport Privatization on the Rise in Europe
France and Spain are in the process of launching new rounds of airport privatizations, and there are quite a few transactions taking place elsewhere in Europe, as well.
Spain’s long-awaited privatization of its 46 commercial airports (including Barcelona and Madrid) has gotten under way with the separation of the air traffic control function from state aviation company AENA. (The now-separate air navigation service provider is called ENAIRE.) Next, the government sold 21% of what is now a purely airports company, AENA, to three “cornerstone” investors for $2 billion. They are U.K.-based Children’s Investment Fund, Ferrovial Aeropuertos, and Corporacion Financiera Alba. Another 28% of AENA will be sold to investors early in 2015 via an initial public offering (IPO) of shares on the Madrid stock exchange. That will leave the government with 51%. Based on the initial price for the first 21%, analysts expect the IPO to increase the government’s overall proceeds to as much as $5 billion.
France is also on the threshold of a new era of airport privatization. Until the early 2000s, all commercial airports in France were owned by the national government. Early in that decade, except for the Paris airports, the government devolved significant control of commercial airports to local governments, giving them partial ownership stakes. In 2006, Aeroports de Paris (AdP) was part-privatized via an initial public offering of shares, with additional small stakes subsequently acquired by Schiphol Group, Vinci, and Predica; today the French government holds 50.6% of AdP. In 2009-2010 the government began allowing companies such as Keolis, SNC-Lavalin, and Vinci to enter into management contracts at secondary and tertiary airports. CAPA Centre for Aviation lists 22 airports with such private-sector operators as of November 2014. In 2009-10, the government allowed Vinci to purchase 99% of four regional airports. And in 2012 the government announced plans to sell its ownership stakes in four primary airports: Bordeaux, Lyon, Montpellier, and Toulouse-but those plans were put on hold due to the 2013 presidential election. That plan was revived in mid-2014, with Toulouse as the first candidate. Ten companies expressed interest in acquiring the offered 49.9% stake, and three consortia ended up submitting bids by October 31st: AdP/Predica, Vinci/CDC/EDF, and SNC-Lavalin. Assuming this sale goes through, CAPA predicts that eight other airports will follow in 2015: Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseille, Montpellier, Nice, Strasbourg and two overseas departments-Fort de France (Martinique) and Saint-Denis (Reunion).
Greece’s privatization agency, Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund, received three international bids for the first 14 of its 37 regional airports, being offered as a 30-year concession. The winner was Fraport, with a bid of $1.5 billion up-front. The government is also seeking bids to finance, develop, and operate a new $1 billion airport at Heraklion, on the island of Crete, under a 37-year concession; bids are due Dec. 16th. Still undecided is the fate of the government’s 55% stake in Athens Airport, developed under a 30-year concession by Hochtief (now AviAlliance) in the 1990s.
Greece’s rival Turkey had expected to have its third Istanbul Airport project under way by 2014, after having selected a five-company consortium to develop it under a 25-year concession in 2013. But in February a court put the project on hold, over questions about the adequacy of the environmental impact of the planned six-runway airport estimated to cost nearly $30 billion. Malaysia Airports Holdings, which already owned 60% of Istanbul’s second airport (Sabiha Gökcen), purchased the other 40% from Turkish company the Limak Group.
In the United Kingdom, AENA and its joint venture partner, Ardian, received the OK from the Luton Borough Council to expand the capacity of privatized Luton’s terminal from 12 million to 18 million annual passengers, at a cost of $172 million. Two small U.K. airports, formerly privatized, shut down in 2014 when their owners could not afford to continue losing money. Balfour Beatty Infrastructure could not find a buyer for ailing Blackpool Airport, and shut it down in October (though it was subsequently re-opened by a new Balfour Beatty subsidiary as a general aviation airport). Infratil in 2013 sold money-losing Kent International Airport (in Manston) to Scottish entrepreneur Ann Gloag, but she could not turn it around and closed it down in May.
Other privatization developments in Europe include:
- Croatia: A consortium led by Aeroports de Paris reached financial close on a $331 million, 30-year concession to expand and modernize Zagreb Airport, the country’s largest.
- Denmark: Copenhagen Airport, owned by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board and Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund 3, refinanced $1.05 billion in debt, to take advantage of lower interest rates.
- Hungary: Privatized Budapest Airport completed a $1.4 billion debt refinancing. Budapest’s largest shareholder is Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board.
- Italy: Corporacion America, which already owns minority stakes in the Florence and Pisa airports, has offered by buy out the government’s remaining interest in both of them, offering $110 million for Florence and $55 million for Pisa.
Politics Upsets New York Airports Revamp
On October 20th , the day before the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was to announce the winner of its competition for a $3.6 billion concession to replace the obsolescent Central Terminal at LaGuardia Airport, Gov. Andrew Cuomo held a news conference (with Vice President Joe Biden) to announce a 60-day competition offering the winners $500,000 to redesign New York’s entire airport system. The Port Authority is to manage this new competition.
Three international teams had spent about three years preparing their proposals for the LGA megaproject, while the Port Authority had developed the detailed concession agreement under which the project would take place, as well as negotiating an agreement with LGA’s airlines, spelling out their role in the project’s financing. Needless to say, this political intervention has left the bidders, as well as PA’s aviation staff, aghast. According to the New York Times story on Cuomo’s announcement, the Governor “said repeatedly on Monday that he did not intend to pre-empt the Port Authority’s decision on the contract to rebuild the 50-year-old Central Terminal Building. . . . He said he intended for that selection process and the design competitions to occur simultaneously, suggesting that a new main terminal would have to be built in any case. Still, he acknowledged that the best idea to come out of the open competition might involve changes to the proposal chosen by the Port Authority.”
This is yet another example of politics interfering with professional airport management. To be sure, the Port Authority, whose board members are chosen by the governors of New York and New Jersey, has always been a political entity. Its creation reflects the political ideology of the Progressive Era, in which skilled professionals-separated from politics–centrally plan and control all of a region’s transportation infrastructure-highways, bridges, tunnels, mass transit, airports, and seaports-siphoning user-fee revenues out of the cash cows to cross-subsidize the weakest facilities. In recent decades, not content with controlling LaGuardia, Kennedy, and Newark, the PA has also acquired far-off Stewart Airport (70 miles north of Manhattan) and Atlantic City Airport.
Cuomo’s previous brainstorm was to move all air cargo operations from Kennedy to Stewart, to free up space at JFK for expanded passenger service-completely oblivious to the logistic system that distributes air cargo from JFK to Long Island, New York City, and elsewhere. According to a 2013 report from the Port Authority, JFK supports an air cargo industry that accounts for 50,000 jobs, $3 billion in wages, and $8.5 billion in sales for the metro area. Customs brokers and freight forwarders are located adjacent to JFK. In addition, over 50% of the cargo volume at JFK is transported as belly cargo on passenger aircraft, which are not about to shift to Stewart. I’m not aware of any actions taken in response to this proposal, but it has not been withdrawn, either.
The Governor’s contest will no doubt produce visionary plans of fast trains direct to each airport, new runways on platforms into adjoining bays, and all sorts of other grandiose ideas that are neither politically nor economically feasible. While we are dreaming such dreams, why not think really big? Break up the PA’s airport oligopoly, privatize the individual airports, and let them compete to develop the best ways to serve their various customers.
Britain’s Airports Commission Seeks a Solution
A special report by David Bentley
One of the biggest decisions ever to be made on transport policy in the U.K. is expected in the early summer of 2015. At roughly the same time as a general election must be held (there are now fixed five-year terms for Parliament), the Airports Commission, an independent body set up by government in 2012 broadly to examine U.K. airport capacity needs, will deliver its final verdict. The debate on this matter now stretches back over six decades and many other commissions have tried and failed to solve the conundrum.
There is some confusion in the general media as to what the Commission’s remit is. Frequently one reads that it is to determine if a new runway should be built in southeast England (around London) and, if so, where it should go. But the brief given to Sir Howard Davies, the Commission’s chairman, was broader than that. It is: to consider how the U.K. can “maintain its status as an international hub for aviation and immediate actions to improve the use of existing runway capacity in the next five years.” However, congestion and constraint is at its highest in the southeast. Davies admits that is possibly the wrong question. However, it is the one he has to work with.
That brief could have opened up a Pandora’s Box of intrigue. For example, one study identified redundant, unused runway capacity at commercial airports in the U.K. as being 15 times greater than what any single additional runway in the southeast could provide. The invitation to environmentalists, politicians and those simply just not convinced by the argument in favor of any new runway was that the redundant runways should (somehow) be put to better use first and, indeed, they were quick to respond to it, vigorously.
But in fact the opposite happened. For example Manston Airport in Kent, 60 miles from central London, potentially linkable by a high speed rail spur and with a runway capable of handling the A380, closed down in May of this year. This represents a downside of privatization, where a struggling airport, but one that could have a much wider role than it does, is acquired by entrepreneurs, resold, and eventually identified for the value of the land for industrial or residential purposes rather than to satisfy a transport demand.
But the commercial emphasis in the U.K. over the last two decades has been on London itself, its financial sector, and specifically on Heathrow Airport, which its management has told us ad nauseam, is “the U.K.’s only hub airport.” Not only that; Heathrow Airport Holdings never shirks from informing anyone who will listen that airlines could not operate with such frequency at Heathrow if not for its connecting hub traffic. But 70% of Heathrow’s passengers are origin & destination. If airline schedules were curtailed to fit O&D demand it could happily exist on its two runways.
Davies’ Interim Report in December 2013 identified three options:
- A new runway at Heathrow;
- Extension of the existing northern runway at Heathrow to permit take off and landing on it simultaneously;
- A new runway at Gatwick Airport.
In doing so, Davies dismissed many other long-term suggestions to solve the conundrum involving both existing and envisaged airports in different parts of the country; over 50 in all.
As for short term “immediate actions,” the Commission has come up with some concrete proposals to improve surface transport access to major airports and will be helped by the forthcoming completion of many projects around the country including Crossrail in the southeast and the Northern Hub (both of them rail schemes).
But the focus is on the long-term decision and whether the recommendation will be for a new runway or whether there will be another attempt to “kick the matter into the long grass.” It might be argued that the government cannot fudge the issue yet again, or it would have no credibility left on this matter. More to the point, corporate businesses would be outraged. Some have already threatened to quit the U.K. altogether.
Of the three options, an additional runway at Heathrow has always been more popular amongst powerful business interests, most politicians, and the airlines. Latterly an additional one at Gatwick has gained increasing favor. Gatwick’s argument is based on the greater prevalence of air transport models such as low-cost airlines and self-connection in the future; the likelihood that the B787 and A350 will “hub-bust” airports like Heathrow in favor of smaller ones; and the need for greater passenger choice.
Just this month Sir Howard Davies released yet another invitation for organizations and individuals to comment on aspects of the decision-making process: in this case specifically with regard to the costs of each of the submissions and how those costs will influence charges to airlines and airfares; the environmental effects with specific regard to noise; the provision of surface transport connections in each case; and the economic impact of each submission. Meanwhile in the background another sub-committee is investigating regional connectivity via London. The phrase “paralysis by analysis” comes to mind.
As things stand Gatwick certainly has the cheapest option, though Davies is convinced all three proposals are very conservatively costed. Gatwick also believes it can undertake the new runway project without materially hiking up airline charges. While the media seized on the costs element, my personal view is that British politics is influenced to a far greater degree by environment and economic impact considerations.
Gaining political consensus is essential to all of this. The whole idea of the Commission was to ensure that sufficient time elapsed to ensure all-party support was achieved before an announcement was made that involved a new runway. But such support has not materialized. At its recent annual conference, Liberal Democrat party delegates voted to retain its policy of “no net runway increase” in the U.K., despite pleas from its leaders. As things are shaping up now the Lib Dems may well form part of another coalition government next year. It cannot over-ride the wishes of its members.
So while a new runway at Heathrow and one at Gatwick were running neck and neck, it seems now that the third option, the Heathrow runway extension, might come into play. It could be argued that would not constitute a “net runway increase.” Semantics perhaps, but that is often what politics is about.
But even that is not the end of it. Many of the airports overlooked by the Commission in the Interim Report are keen to re-enter the fray, if they see any backtracking by Davies. They include London Stansted Airport, Manchester Airport (both now owned by the same group), and notably Birmingham Airport. All three have considerable capacity to spare. Birmingham’s case revolves around its central position in England and its excellent transport links, which will be enhanced by the HS2 high-speed rail line to and from London, scheduled (if built) to come on line in 2026, and which will permit a terminal to central London journey time of just 49 minutes.
There is also the political need to “re-balance the economy” in favor of regions outside of the southeast, acknowledged by government but little acted upon until the recent Scottish independence vote. The U.K. seems to be on the path towards a federal system of government as in Germany. Large English city-regions that are already seeking their own “devolution” from the UK, with additional tax and spend powers, may well achieve their aim. Indeed, one of them (Manchester) already has. Separately, the Chancellor, George Osborne, whom many believe will be the next Prime Minister, also champions the creation of a “northern economic powerhouse” of several cities to rival London. Should this come to pass, this powerful new region would seek to develop further its own hub airport at the expense of London, and much of Davies’ work might have been academic.
Clearly there is much still to play for in what is one of the longest and most drawn-out sagas in aviation history.
David Bentley is Chief Airports Analyst for CAPA – Centre for Aviation, www.centreforaviation.com, and author of an independent 2013 report on UK airport capacity.
Are New Airport Trains Worth What They Cost?
Last month Oakland Airport opened its new automated people mover connecting the terminals with the BART heavy-rail station 3.2 miles away. It replaces the AirBART bus that I used to ride when I lived in California to get to BART. The bus was slower and cost $3 each way. The new people mover will be faster, and will offer shorter waits between trips, for a $6 one-way fare. But does it represent good value for the taxpayers who pay for most of BART’s costs?
The largely elevated system cost $484 million to build, which works out to $151 per mile. Despite not having drivers, it will cost about $13.5 million a year to operate. At projected levels of ridership, BART expects to generate about $6 million a year in farebox revenues at $6 per trip, meaning the operating subsidy will be $7.5 million per year. For that capital plus operating costs, will the system add that much value for the several thousand people a day expected to use it? The AirBART buses were slower, but they cost only a small fraction of what the people mover costs.
Moving up the scale in cost is the Sky Train at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. Its first stage, opened last year, is 1.7 miles long and links a nearby light rail stop and the east parking lot with Terminal 4. Subsequent stages will extend the line to Terminal 3, and later on to the west parking lot and the rental car center. This system is being developed and paid for by the airport, so the costs are being met out of airport (airline and passenger) revenues, not tax money. But the same kind of value-for-money question needs to be asked. The total cost of the full system’s 4.9 miles is estimated as $1.58 billion-a whopping $322 million per mile. (This is partly because it is the nation’s first people mover that crosses over an active taxiway.) There is no charge to use the system, so the operating costs are also coming out of airport revenue. Prior to Sky Train, all these connections were made via buses. Is the marginal improvement in travel time and convenience really worth $1.58 billion plus the operating costs?
Then there is Los Angeles, my former home town. City and airport officials are considering plans to relieve chronic congestion on the two-level roadway that links the seven terminals. Two sensible ideas that other airports have long since adopted are (a) a consolidated rental car center, and (b) an integrated transportation center, both about a mile east of the Central Terminal Area. But of course, this being LA, they would not dream of linking these new facilities with a fleet of zero-emission buses. Instead, the debate is over which of two rail-based people mover plans to adopt. One-the “spine”-would provide a single route down the middle of the Central Terminal Area, from which people would walk to the terminals on either side. The alternative is the “scissors” which would have one link on each side of the CTA, providing passengers with shorter walks to their terminals. The spine would be about 1.5 miles long, and would cost-wait for it–$1.5 to $2 billion. And the scissors would be closer to 2 miles and would cost $2.0 to $2.5 billion. Even at the low end of the cost range, that’s $1 billion per mile, making Phoenix and Oakland look like pikers.
Yet with most parking removed from the CTA, and consolidated buses serving the rental car center and the transportation center, the congestion problem would be solved without spending several billion dollars on a people mover system. Whoever is expected to pay for this boondoggle should start objecting now.
Two New SPP Contracts in Operation. Two additional contracts for screening by TSA-selected contractors took effect this fall. In October, Trinity Technology Group took over checkpoint screening at Orlando Sanford Airport. And in November CSS FirstLine took over screening at Bozeman Yellowstone Airport and three other small airports in Montana. These two additions bring the total number of airports with contract screening to 20, including Sarasota, FL, whose contract is not yet in effect. Next up could be Orlando International (MCO), whose decision on whether to apply to TSA’s Screening Partnership Program is expected during first-quarter 2015.
Mitsubishi Group Will Manage Mandalay Airport. A consortium headed by Japan’s Mitsubishi has won a 30-year concession to upgrade and manage Mandalay International Airport, the largest airport in Myanmar. The contract will go into effect in March 2015. In addition to operating both the airside and the landside of the airport, the consortium will expand and modernize the terminal. The airport is located 22 miles south of Mandalay, and its longest runway is 14,000 feet.
GMR Seeking Damages from Maldives Government. In late 2010 a joint venture of India’s GMR Infrastructure and Malaysia Airports won a 25-year concession to expand and operate Male International Airport in the Maldives. They had committed to spend $511 million on the project. But soon after the concession took effect, a new government was elected, which sought to renegotiate the deal. With no agreement being reached, in late 2012 the government cancelled the concession, after the companies had invested $230 million. They have sued the government for wrongful termination, seeking a total of $803 million in damages.
Hong Kong Third Runway Approved. With its airport already operating near capacity, the Hong Kong Airport Authority has welcomed the November approval by environmental regulators for its third-runway expansion project. The Department of Environmental Protection granted an environmental permit for the project, provided HKAA complies with all the mitigation measures set out in the Environmental Impact Assessment-which include creating a 5,928-acre marine park and re-routing ferry routes. The current schedule calls for the new runway to be in full operation by 2023.
Seven Americans Removed from No-Fly List. In October the TSA for the first time removed Americans from its No-Fly list, in compliance with a federal judge’s ruling that the previous provisions allowing people to challenge their inclusion on the last were “wholly ineffective.” The seven were among 13 people who sued to get off the list, and are being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union. The cases of the other six are to be decided by January.
Voters Side with Opponents of Santa Monica Airport. A ballot measure sponsored by AOPA and NBAA that would have required a popular vote to reduce or eliminate aircraft operations at Santa Monica Municipal Airport failed at the polls last month, garnering only 41% of the votes. That result means decisions over the airport’s future will be made by the City Council. But a local government’s ability to shut down an airport that has received federal airport grants is constrained by the grant assurances that accompany such grants, and the FAA has repeatedly maintained that the city cannot shut down the airport.
A Second Provider for Runway Anti-Overrun Systems. At airports where there is not space to provide a normal 1,000-foot runway safety area at each end of a runway, the FAA-approved alternative is an engineered material arresting system (EMAS), of which about 90 have been installed at airports around the country and overseas. Until now, the dominant provider has been Zodiac Aerospace, whose EMAS consists of crushable cement blocks. But new-entrant Runway Safe has received approval for a new material: crushable silica foam nuggets. Its first installation will be at Chicago Midway Airport, to replace one of four Zodiac EMAS pads. The concept was researched at the Texas Transportation Institute, with funding from the Airport Cooperative Research Program.
CLEAR Adds Miami International Airport. Membership-based CLEAR has announced that its services will soon be offered at Miami International Airport (MIA), making it the 11th airport where CLEAR is in operation. Members are allowed to bypass regular screening lines, and after verifying their identity at a CLEAR kiosk, go to the head of the line. They then go through regular screening, unless they are also members of TSA’s PreCheck program.
Multi-Airport Regions in New ACRP Report. How do airlines decide their operating strategies in urban areas with multiple passenger airports? And how do passengers select an airport in such regions? These questions are explored in a new report from the Transportation Research Board’s Airport Cooperative Research Program. “Understanding Airline and Passenger Choice in Multi-Airport Regions” is ACRP Report 98, available on the TRB website.
“The [Wright] Amendment is merely being replaced with a different means of interfering in free commerce. The law that then-President George W. Bush signed in 2006 to rid us of Wright limits DAL [Dallas Love Field] to 20 gates, of which Southwest holds 16. This was the result of a five-party agreement that led to the demolition of 12 gates at Love. It erects a huge roadblock to prospective competitors. Through all this, there has been one interested party that was never at the negotiating table-‘the traveling public.’ Wouldn’t want those suckers in on the deal. These vestiges of the Wright Amendment reflect nothing more than power politics and the lobbying brawn of two airlines. American doesn’t want to see traffic grow at Love Field. Southwest wants its overwhelming dominance of DAL kept intact. How ironic that so many Texans-those supposed friends of freedom and champions of laissez-faire-would be mixed up in so much shameless shackling of Adam Smith’s invisible hand.”
-Editorial, “Love Lost in Dallas,” Aviation Week, Oct. 13, 2014
“I’m hopeful that we will have some more people being enrolled [in PreCheck] through the third-party private sector, which could expand perhaps next year significantly the numbers. Instead of hundreds of thousands it may literally be in the millions-which we would then need to accommodate by increasing even more the number of TSA PreCheck lanes. . . . What I see with the third parties . . . is, can third-party enrollment be a game-changer for the checkpoint of the future? Can we do it in a partnership with the private sector in ways that go beyond our ability, because we have a reduced budget?”
-John Pistole, TSA Administrator, in “Considering the Year in Airport Security, With the TSA Chief,” Joe Sharkey, The New York Times, Dec. 1, 2014