Gonzalo
Topic Author
Posts: 1526
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2005 2:43 am

U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 12:45 pm

Airport infrastructure in the U.S. could be a very serious handicap for the industry ( and the country's economy ), according to Airports Council Intl. of North America.
Big factor in this is the funding.... and the best way to solve this problem, is passengers/user fees.

Thoughts ?

http://atwonline.com/airports-routes...frastructure-not-keeping-pace-0910

Rgds.
G.
Gear Up!!: DC-3 / EMB-110 / Fairchild-227 / Ab318-19-20-21 / B732 / B763 / B789
 
User avatar
lightsaber
Crew
Posts: 11734
Joined: Wed Jan 19, 2005 10:55 pm

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 12:57 pm

Quoting Gonzalo (Thread starter):
Airport infrastructure in the U.S. could be a very serious handicap for the industry ( and the country's economy )

Agreed. We've lost our motivation to build infrastructure. It will force the growth to those regions that support it (includes ground transportation, water, and power). There will still be growth, it just won't be where there isn't transportation expansion.

Quoting Gonzalo (Thread starter):
Big factor in this is the funding

That article over-simplifies. All of the US is in debt. We had a housing bubble which always translates into a debt bubble.  

I would say the big factors are:
1. NIMBYs
2. Legacy airlines not wanting expansion that lets in LCCs.

When airlines want expansion, it happens.

Lightsaber
"They did not know it was impossible, so they did it!" - Mark Twain
 
PanHAM
Posts: 8529
Joined: Fri May 06, 2005 6:44 pm

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 12:57 pm

There are role models to change the situation all over the world,

privateize and make airports shopping malls., Most large international airports have 50% of their profit from retail and concessions. This is an untapped source at least at the international airports.

Then again, who wants to eat at an airside reataurant and all of a sudden a TSA agent comes up and grabs a food sample from your plate.

There have to be some changes .......
powered by Eierlikör
 
Cubsrule
Posts: 11368
Joined: Sat May 15, 2004 12:13 pm

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:22 pm

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 2):
privateize and make airports shopping malls., Most large international airports have 50% of their profit from retail and concessions. This is an untapped source at least at the international airports.

But I don't think it's the only way. Otherwise, how do we explain projects like DTW or SFO?
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
Gonzalo
Topic Author
Posts: 1526
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2005 2:43 am

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:38 pm

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 1):
2. Legacy airlines not wanting expansion that lets in LCCs.

Very true. I think the US legacy airlines could try a more "hybrid" model in their service, something similar to the LASER model ( used by LAN ). Yes, can be a little more "disappointing" for the Y passengers , but the key word in the equation is "competitiveness"... Otherwise, the secondary airports will start to find the way to absorb more LCC traffic anyway, and the outcome will also be negative for the legacy carriers.

Rgds.
G.
Gear Up!!: DC-3 / EMB-110 / Fairchild-227 / Ab318-19-20-21 / B732 / B763 / B789
 
ScottB
Posts: 5413
Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2000 1:25 am

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:53 pm

Quoting Gonzalo (Thread starter):
Big factor in this is the funding.... and the best way to solve this problem, is passengers/user fees.

I disagree that funding is the key bottleneck here. The bigger issues, as Lightsaber put it, are:

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 1):
1. NIMBYs
2. Legacy airlines not wanting expansion that lets in LCCs.

When the topic of congestion comes up, as it does in the article, the airports at which congestion is worst are the very same airports where expansion has been either halted or greatly slowed by local opposition. At airports like JFK, LGA, EWR, SFO, BOS, ORD, etc., the problems with airport expansion are far more political & environmental than they are financial.

Passenger/user fees are something of a red herring, especially in light of DOT's ruling that fare displays must reflect the all-in cost rather than larding all manner of fees on top of a come-on fare. Does it matter if the airport charges a $12 user fee or a $3 user fee if the other $9 is in the fare? Moreover, in light of common U.S. practice where carriers hold preferential- or exclusive-use leases on facilities, it makes sense for the airlines to pay directly for their own facilities. Carriers which use their gates and other spaces more efficiently would then enjoy lower costs as a reward for using their facilities efficiently. Also, carriers with nicer, newer facilities should pay the cost of those facilities rather than having carriers in older sections of the airport subsidize the cost of newer terminals.
 
Cubsrule
Posts: 11368
Joined: Sat May 15, 2004 12:13 pm

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:56 pm

Quoting Gonzalo (Reply 4):
Very true. I think the US legacy airlines could try a more "hybrid" model in their service, something similar to the LASER model ( used by LAN ). Yes, can be a little more "disappointing" for the Y passengers , but the key word in the equation is "competitiveness"... Otherwise, the secondary airports will start to find the way to absorb more LCC traffic anyway, and the outcome will also be negative for the legacy carriers.

Are the two related? Certainly, airports and terminals that are infested with LFCs have put together very nice terminal expansion or modernization projects. MDW, BWI Concourse A and JFK Terminal 5 are three good examples.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
SRT75
Posts: 204
Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2005 2:42 am

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 2:38 pm

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 1):
That article over-simplifies.

I would agree.

First, the United States, by in large, will be O & D for international travel. Non-U.S. Citizens do not like to transfer in the United States because of TSA/customs. That is not going to change because of airport infrastructure.

So, I wouldn't quite classif the United States as a "feeder system" for the global aviation network. Both domestic and international carriers will continue to provide a good deal of point-to-point (as well as hub) service to the United States.

Second, a good deal of U.S. airports already are shopping malls (MSP comes to mind as a good example). Commercial space at U.S. airports appears to be profitable and generating income for airport authorities. The U.S. has many private or "for profit" airports that appear to be doing well.

Third, probably the most pressing infrastructure issue for U.S. aviation is not airports: it's ATC. The FAA is slowly, but surely, moving to a modern, sattelite-based, ATC infrastructure. ATC infrastructure will reduce congestion much more than airport infrastructure.

Fourth, most of the U.S. is not like the desert outise of Dubai. We don't have huge expanses of vacant land on which to build airports. Where we can find such land, we build world-class airports (see DEN).

Fifth, safety improvements to U.S. airports do happen. A good example is the runway repositionsing at LAX.
 
LAXdude1023
Posts: 4431
Joined: Thu Sep 07, 2006 3:16 pm

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 2:50 pm

If were talking about airport interiors that are falling behind, I nominate GRU. Thats one ugly airport on the inside.
It is what it is...
 
LOWS
Posts: 1194
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2011 5:37 am

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 3:37 pm

Quoting Gonzalo (Reply 4):
Yes, can be a little more "disappointing" for the Y passengers

That's possible on US carriers?
  

Quoting SRT75 (Reply 7):
Fourth, most of the U.S. is not like the desert outise of Dubai. We don't have huge expanses of vacant land on which to build airports. Where we can find such land, we build world-class airports (see DEN).

There's plenty of land... The US is one of the largest countries on Earth. Things can be moved around a bit.

Admittedly, places like JFK and EWR there's no will to reorganise the land use, but yes, there's plenty of land. Surely, the entire plot that DEN is on wasn't just an empty expanse.
 
Cubsrule
Posts: 11368
Joined: Sat May 15, 2004 12:13 pm

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 3:38 pm

Quoting lows (Reply 9):
Surely, the entire plot that DEN is on wasn't just an empty expanse.

It mostly was, actually.

The US does, however, have a lot of closed or barely used military airports. AUS is a great example of a conversion to civilian use.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
ckfred
Posts: 4694
Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2001 12:50 pm

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 3:43 pm

Quoting SRT75 (Reply 7):
Fifth, safety improvements to U.S. airports do happen. A good example is the runway repositionsing at LAX.

Or the third east-west runway at ORD.

Someone earlier mentiopned NIMBY as to why Congress won't allocate funds for airport expansion. Former U.S. Senator Peter Fitzgerald of Illinois was elected, in part, by suburbanites who were opposed to ORD expansion. He used some Senate rules to hold up federal funding of ORD expansion.

Part of the problem of building airports away from city centers is that, they are far from city centers and hard to get to. People complained how far Denver International was from downtown Denver, compared to Stapleton Field, and that there was nothing out there, including office parks, off-site parking, hotels, and businesses who need access to airport cargo.

I even know airline pilots who thought that there was no need for a new airport in Denver and certainly weren't looking forward to layovers at the new DEN.

In Chicago, we've been talking about Peotone for several decades. It's way out in southern Will County, almost into Kankakee County. Yes, you can get there from the Lopp, taking I-90 to I-57. But, for people going to and from business centers such as Oak Brook, Downers Grove, and Naperville, it would be a pain in the neck to get there, unless I-355 is extended from I-80 to I-57. But, because that area has filled in, buying land for an extension has become prohibitiively expensive.

The idea of increasing PFCs on passengers doesn't sit well with the airlines, because it boosts airfares. For a hub carrier, the fear is that connecting traffic would shift to another carrier's hub to avoid the higher cost. Part of the reason that AA has drawn down ORD and shifted connecting traffic to DFW is that the landing fees at ORD are among the highest in the country. If the PFCs at ORD were boosted, chances are that even more traffic would shift to DFW.

I would wager that even Southwest would look at shifting some operations to STL and MKE, if Chicago boosted PFCs at MDW.

By the same token, since most airports are operated by an agency of a major city, suburbanites feel they are being forced to pay extra taxes without a say in the matter.
 
goosebayguy
Posts: 548
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 1:12 pm

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:01 pm

Have to say flying out from an airport in the USA internationally is a dreadful experience. The international terminals tend to be under used and poorly provided for with food or shopping opportunities. The duty free system where your purchases are delivered at the gate totally sucks it also adds to the cost. Every other country I've traveled to somehow lets you purchase goods and lets you carry them to the gate all by oneself! Perhaps they should follow Schipols system? American airports need to change their attitudes and encourage people to fly!
 
User avatar
mayor
Posts: 6188
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2008 3:58 pm

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:12 pm

Quoting lows (Reply 9):

There's plenty of land... The US is one of the largest countries on Earth. Things can be moved around a bit.

But THAT land isn't where it needs to be, near any large metro areas.......suburbs, you know.

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 10):
The US does, however, have a lot of closed or barely used military airports. AUS is a great example of a conversion to civilian use.

Many of those are closer to smaller cites and towns than they are to a large metro area.
"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary"----Fred Allen
 
FlyPNS1
Posts: 5258
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 1999 7:12 am

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:14 pm

Quoting SRT75 (Reply 7):
Third, probably the most pressing infrastructure issue for U.S. aviation is not airports: it's ATC.

Not really. While ATC modernization is needed, it won't fix the fundamental problems at airports that simply do not have enough concrete (JFK, EWR, LGA, PHL, SFO). You could fix most of the New York metro area's ATC delays, by simply shutting down LGA and building a few more runways/terminals at both EWR/JFK. Now, I realize that will never happen due to cost and NIMBY opposition, but it would fix the problem. Whereas even the most modern ATC system will not overcome the problems in NYC airspace.

The article also ignores that many U.S. airports have the reverse problem....more infrastructure than needed. Ask the folks at CVG, PIT and STL about airport infrastructure!!
 
mogandoCI
Posts: 1247
Joined: Thu Jun 04, 2009 2:39 pm

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:19 pm

Quoting goosebayguy (Reply 12):
Have to say flying out from an airport in the USA internationally is a dreadful experience. The international terminals tend to be under used and poorly provided for with food or shopping opportunities. The duty free system where your purchases are delivered at the gate totally sucks it also adds to the cost. Every other country I've traveled to somehow lets you purchase goods and lets you carry them to the gate all by oneself! Perhaps they should follow Schipols system? American airports need to change their attitudes and encourage people to fly!

When you consider that barely a quarter of its citizens hold a passport at all, it's not hard to imagine why Americans are extremely domestic-centric in terms of their travel.

But even Schipol is not ideal considering their force security check *at* the rate. I always prefer to get the hassles out of the way (check-in, immigration, security) then have the residual hour or hour-and-half to leisurely enjoy the food and shopping at the terminal. HKG is one airport terminal done correctly.
 
roseflyer
Posts: 9606
Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2004 9:34 am

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:19 pm

What few people know is it is the airlines themselves that often lobby to not expand or upgrade airports because they want the lowest airport fees. Airports that do development projects often end up ostracized by airlines who shrink operations and leave shiny new terminals vacant.
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
 
LAXintl
Posts: 20183
Joined: Wed May 24, 2000 12:12 pm

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:22 pm

I think there are many many reasons for this, and the situation is actually quite complex when it comes to US airports.

I'll throw out a few factors:

o Airports are not centrally owned or managed at the Federal level. Airports belong to local agencies/municipalities with varied interest and policies.

o Just about every municipality has economic budget issues these days. There is minimal appetite to add to debt (article mentions $82Bil in existing debt already)

o Federal government continues to run a deficit itself. Minimal interest to add to airport grants or fund aviation projects to a greater degree.

o With government having such budget problems, strong opposition from both consumers and airlines in having government simply creating more taxes or fees to cover this holes. The industry is already one of the highest taxed sectors in America.

o US airline industry is still economically fragile. It is largely unable to fund new facilities itself, nor could pass it on to passengers successfully. Large capital project spends are greatly reduced in budgets these days and can make a company less competitive if you cant get them to earn their cost back.

o With fragile industry, airlines have acute focus on cost. Very leery to enter into deals that will raise individual airport operating cost. Might only amount to to a few dollars per passenger, but might be the difference between profit and loss on a route.

o Limited ability to get financing - credit markets are still tight -- needs lots of collateral. Both airlines and many municipalities are not very good credit risk for lenders.

=

[Edited 2012-09-11 09:30:34]
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
User avatar
TWA772LR
Posts: 3603
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2011 6:12 am

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:23 pm

I agree that mall/airports are the way to go. MCO is a perfect example of that. DTW is also nice too.
Not every day we find light winds. What do we do in these situations? Fly.
 
LOWS
Posts: 1194
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2011 5:37 am

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:33 pm

Quoting mayor (Reply 13):
But THAT land isn't where it needs to be, near any large metro areas.......suburbs, you know.

Well, that's because the US made poor land use decisions in the 1950s and 1960s...

Never the less, why not use Eminent Domain if the project is so important?
 
kaitak744
Posts: 2084
Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2005 1:32 pm

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:40 pm

And U.S. airport bashing begins again....

Lets look at the U.S. International Gateways, west to east:

SEA, PDX, SFO, LAX, LAS, SLC, DEN, DFW, MSP, ORD, DTW, ATL, MCO, MIA, CLT, PHL, EWR, JFK, BOS.

PDX, SFO, (soon LAX), DEN, DFW, ORD, DTW, ATL, MIA, PHL, EWR, JFK (except Delta's terminal), and BOS all have new and modern international terminals, that are not behind any world standard.

And the rest of the airports have international facilities that are honestly not bad at all.

So, I just don't see what the point of this article is.

Regarding domestic facilities, other than SFO, LAX, and JFK, I just do not see any airport having handicaped domestic operations due to lack of terminal or gate space.
 
Cubsrule
Posts: 11368
Joined: Sat May 15, 2004 12:13 pm

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:41 pm

Quoting mayor (Reply 13):
Many of those are closer to smaller cites and towns than they are to a large metro area.

Yes, but some are quite close to airports with serious space issues, like Miramar.

Quoting lows (Reply 19):
Well, that's because the US made poor land use decisions in the 1950s and 1960s...

Were there European countries that left land open for subsequent airport development in the 50s and 60s?
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
ASA
Posts: 1002
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2010 5:12 pm

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:43 pm

Quoting LAXdude1023 (Reply 8):

If were talking about airport interiors that are falling behind, I nominate GRU. Thats one ugly airport on the inside.

GIG isn't far behind either ... just concrete and concrete!

even little IGU is far better than either of those!  
 
apodino
Posts: 3022
Joined: Mon Apr 04, 2005 2:11 am

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:44 pm

Quoting goosebayguy (Reply 12):
The duty free system where your purchases are delivered at the gate totally sucks it also adds to the cost. Every other country I've traveled to somehow lets you purchase goods and lets you carry them to the gate all by oneself! Perhaps they should follow Schipols system? American airports need to change their attitudes and encourage people to fly!

In US airports, the problems you mention are two fold. One is that the TSA experience has made flying for a lot of people a not so pleasant experience and this is beyond any airports control, and TSA doesn't seem to be making strides to make it more efficient, and so we all lose. The second problem with Duty Free that you mention is that unlike in most European Airports, International Flights from the US usually share gate areas with Domestic flights. In order for someone to be able to purchase Duty-Free according to US law, they have to be flying out of the country immediately. Where this is a problem at US Airports is that if Passengers were allowed to keep Duty Free purchases right after purchase....someone in theory could leave the secured area with a Duty Free purchase, or actually buy it for someone leaving on a domestic flight. To prevent this problem, Duty Free purchases have to be given to people in the Jetbridge so that they can be sure that the purchase is not subject to US Tax. The reason this is not a problem in Europe is because that in Europe it is next to impossible to leave the secured area after clearing security, and thus people can get their purchases and keep them right away.

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 1):

I would say the big factors are:
1. NIMBYs
2. Legacy airlines not wanting expansion that lets in LCCs.

When airlines want expansion, it happens.

A third factor is flat out mismanagement of modernization projects. Look at MIA for a textbook example of that. As far as airlines wanting expansion...it depends on the airport. In airports where airlines control their own facilities (e.g. JFK, LGA), the airlines can invest in their own terminals a lot more easily, which has happened with T5 and T8 in JFK, is happening with DL at LGA and JFK, and historic examples of such investment would be the McNamara Terminal in DTW, Terminal E at IAH, Terminal A in BOS, and Terminal 1 at ORD. One thing that is happening a lot more often in this country is you have one or two central terminals for all airlines, and then the airports are just providing gate and counter space for the airlines, and in this situation, expansion is largely up to the airports, and usually if the airport is well run, it goes pretty smoothly. Examples would be LAS, IND, MCO, and even though US controls most of CLT, the expansions have been run and paid for by the airport, and not US.

LAS in my opinion, shows the benefits of Common Use facilities. By having common use facilities, it is much easier for the airport to plan for the future, and it saves money because you don't need as many gates to operate the same number of flights. The other thing common use gates prevent is airline gate hoarding, which can seriously damper an airports ability to grow and force the airport to spend more money in the long run which only drives up costs in the short term. BOS is an airport where gate hoarding has been a problem, and as a result Massport has to build a new facility for UA just to provide them with one space to accomodate all their flights. (There were more cost effective solutions than this but by playing favorites with B6, it has created a mess)
 
planeguy727
Posts: 1054
Joined: Fri Mar 30, 2007 2:58 am

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:50 pm

Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 14):
Quoting SRT75 (Reply 7):Third, probably the most pressing infrastructure issue for U.S. aviation is not airports: it's ATC.
Not really. While ATC modernization is needed, it won't fix the fundamental problems at airports that simply do not have enough concrete (JFK, EWR, LGA, PHL, SFO). You could fix most of the New York metro area's ATC delays, by simply shutting down LGA and building a few more runways/terminals at both EWR/JFK.

I suggest that there is sufficient concrete, but we lack efficiency in how we use it. As long as over scheduling is permitted and the focus is purely on frequency then there will always be a call for more concrete. We need to increase the size of a/c being used and reduce scheduling to max possible in bad weather to balance the system. This would be an efficiency approach. And before you all yell, I'm quite confident that it won't stop the business traveler. They will adapt as they did before we offered so many flights on smaller aircraft.
I want to live in an old and converted 727...
 
LAXintl
Posts: 20183
Joined: Wed May 24, 2000 12:12 pm

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:05 pm

Quoting apodino (Reply 23):
LAS in my opinion, shows the benefits of Common Use facilities.

Not according to Allegiant which gets saddled with a large chunk of the cost when the airport goes on a building spree.

Personally I prefer the model where airlines can be their own masters, and chose to have as a lavish or spartan home as they are willing to fund.

There is a reason why LCC terminals are popping up around the world. A tin shed with minimal facilities is enough in many cases, and ultimately benefits the consumer.
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
User avatar
AirlineCritic
Posts: 979
Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2009 1:07 pm

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:08 pm

What do you mean, fall behind?

With few exceptions (like SFO) the differences to European and Asian airports have been quite striking for a long time. At least as far as passenger visible facilities are concerned. Can't say anything about runways and equipment.
 
sccutler
Posts: 5555
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2000 12:16 pm

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:14 pm

Quoting SRT75 (Reply 7):

Third, probably the most pressing infrastructure issue for U.S. aviation is not airports: it's ATC. The FAA is slowly, but surely, moving to a modern, sattelite-based, ATC infrastructure. ATC infrastructure will reduce congestion much more than airport infrastructure.

Not at all so. See well-crafted comment that follows...

Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 14):

Not really. While ATC modernization is needed, it won't fix the fundamental problems at airports that simply do not have enough concrete (JFK, EWR, LGA, PHL, SFO).

ATC "modernization" can make incremental changes in efficiency, but even these will be modest in comparison tothe improvements that will be realized from having better ground facilities. Note well: absent weather issues, you pretty much never have delays at well-designed and adequately-equipped airports like DFW and DEN.
...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
 
airbazar
Posts: 6798
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2003 11:12 pm

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:18 pm

I agree to some extent. What is missing is the fact that US airports are predominantly domestic airports so the market forces at play are very different from those at places like SIN, ICN, FRA, LHR. The vast majority of US airport infrastructure is built primarily for domestic flights and passengers who don't need all the glitz and amenities of the large international hubs. To compare the general airport infrastructure in the US with the rest of the World is an apples and oranges comparison.

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 2):
privateize and make airports shopping malls., Most large international airports have 50% of their profit from retail and concessions.

Perfect example of what I said above. Retail is not a factor in the US where retail is a lot cheaper outside of airports. You'd have to be nuts to buy something at an airport over here, unless it's an absolute emergency. Don't assume that because it works in Europe where VAT is high, duty free is still relevant, and the airports cater predominantly to international passengers, that it would also work in the US where things like duty/sales/import taxes are practically non-existent. I would mush rather have a couple extra rows of security screeners than another shop so I can get in and out of there faster.
 
mogandoCI
Posts: 1247
Joined: Thu Jun 04, 2009 2:39 pm

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:23 pm

Quoting LAXdude1023 (Reply 8):
If were talking about airport interiors that are falling behind, I nominate GRU. Thats one ugly airport on the inside.

Totally. When I transited in GRU in 2011, it totally reminded me of Kai Tak circa 1985.
 
LAXintl
Posts: 20183
Joined: Wed May 24, 2000 12:12 pm

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:37 pm

Quoting airbazar (Reply 28):
What is missing is the fact that US airports are predominantly domestic airports so the market forces at play are very different from those at places like SIN, ICN, FRA, LHR.

   Big factor which effects not only physical design, but also passenger behavior. Not only do they spend less time at the airport, they simply will not be consumers of meals/goods/services as a longhaul passenger will be.

Quoting airbazar (Reply 28):
Retail is not a factor in the US where retail is a lot cheaper outside of airports. You'd have to be nuts to buy something at an airport over here, unless it's an absolute emergency.

   One of the very hard issues for airport retailers is to try to keep pricing reasonable. Airport rents are often quite high, which forces retailers to price high simply to breakeven.

In the recent updated LAX concession bid, one of the requirements was for companies to keep pricing to average within 15% of street pricing -- a challenge for many considering the nonstop discounting that takes place in retail away from the airport. Also at airports like LAX, the employment cost is higher as the city has its own airport wage requirements and taxation plus background checks and stuff compared to an average street shop.
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
AADC10
Posts: 1506
Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2004 7:40 am

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:45 pm

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 2):
There are role models to change the situation all over the world,

privateize and make airports shopping malls., Most large international airports have 50% of their profit from retail and concessions. This is an untapped source at least at the international airports.

That is a little different since USA airports are dominated by domestic travel. Why buy something at the airport when you can buy the same thing at home? I can see shopping for international such as duty free or for iconic national or unique items but not nearly as much for domestic.

Quoting TWA772LR (Reply 18):
I agree that mall/airports are the way to go. MCO is a perfect example of that. DTW is also nice too.

It did not work out well for one of the largest airport malls, PIT.
 
LOWS
Posts: 1194
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2011 5:37 am

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:50 pm

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 21):
Were there European countries that left land open for subsequent airport development in the 50s and 60s?

No. But that didn't stop Franz Josef Strauß from getting MUC built, for example.
 
Viscount724
Posts: 18831
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 7:32 pm

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 6:08 pm

Quoting mogandoCI (Reply 15):
When you consider that barely a quarter of its citizens hold a passport at all, it's not hard to imagine why Americans are extremely domestic-centric in terms of their travel.

That's still more than the entire population of many significant countries like the UK, France, Italy, and almost equal to Germany, and more than twice the population of Canada.

Quoting mogandoCI (Reply 15):
But even Schiphol is not ideal considering their forced security check *at* the gate. I always prefer to get the hassles out of the way (check-in, immigration, security) then have the residual hour or hour-and-half to leisurely enjoy the food and shopping at the terminal.

I actually prefer the way AMS does it. That way you don't have to worry about missing your flight if there's a very long line at a centralized security checkpoint. The security check at the gate is also only for flights to non-Schengen countries. If you're connecting between any of the 26 Schengen countries, there's no security check. You just go the gate for your next flight.
 
User avatar
mayor
Posts: 6188
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2008 3:58 pm

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 6:19 pm

Quoting lows (Reply 19):

Well, that's because the US made poor land use decisions in the 1950s and 1960s...

Never the less, why not use Eminent Domain if the project is so important?

Don't know how Europeans would handle it, but I would imagine that in the U.S., moving that many people out, to build an airport, wouldn't be put up with, by those people, Eminent Domain or not.

Think about it..........those suburbs around ORD, for example, are NOT little towns but pretty large in their own right. Where do all those people that are displaced, go to? If you want to build a new airport in the Chicago area.....Peotone, look how far away it has to be to find some open land and then, it's probably so far away that having an airport, there, isn't a viable solution, either for the customers or the airlines.


As for "poor land use decisions", that's all 20/20 hindsight. When ORD was built, there was plenty of land for expansion.....there were still the same suburbs there, then, that are there, now.......Elmhurst, Bensenville, Des Plaines, etc. THEY'VE expanded at the same rate as the airport, which is the same, all over the country.
"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary"----Fred Allen
 
airbazar
Posts: 6798
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2003 11:12 pm

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 6:46 pm

Quoting TWA772LR (Reply 18):
I agree that mall/airports are the way to go. MCO is a perfect example of that. DTW is also nice too.

MCO is an exception. It sees a huge percentage of foreign visitors compared to most US airports. For foreign visitors, even US airport prices are cheaper than the same goods back home   Brazil especially has huge import taxes. There are people flying from Brazil to the US just for shopping.
 
User avatar
lightsaber
Crew
Posts: 11734
Joined: Wed Jan 19, 2005 10:55 pm

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 7:10 pm

The US definately needs more terminal space. In particular, at the gateway hubs. May I still pine for Hanh's 'West Terminal' for LAX? SFO direly needs expansion on the air and terminal side. I'm not sure what to do with BOS...

The joke used to be, you were in trouble as an airport unless it began with a "D." (DEN, DFW). Now, its all NIMBY.

Quoting ckfred (Reply 11):
Part of the problem of building airports away from city centers is that, they are far from city centers and hard to get to.

And somehow the city moves out to the airport! e.g., IAD.

Quoting ckfred (Reply 11):
In Chicago, we've been talking about Peotone for several decades.

Ugh... Where is the customer base? There is a great plan to expand ORD.

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 16):
What few people know is it is the airlines themselves that often lobby to not expand or upgrade airports because they want the lowest airport fees.

Or in the case of ORD, keep B6 and other LCCs from expanding too much.  
Quoting kaitak744 (Reply 20):
Regarding domestic facilities, other than SFO, LAX, and JFK, I just do not see any airport having handicaped domestic operations due to lack of terminal or gate space.

ORD, ATL, BOS, and DTW all handicap new entrants due to the lack of gate space. I would like to know how VX gained so many gates at SFO... But SFO is handicapped by poor runway layout that could be fixed, but the NIMBYs block expansion.

Quoting apodino (Reply 23):
A third factor is flat out mismanagement of modernization projects. Look at MIA for a textbook example of that.

MIA is the poster child for that!

Quoting mogandoCI (Reply 15):
When you consider that barely a quarter of its citizens hold a passport at all, it's not hard to imagine why Americans are extremely domestic-centric in terms of their travel.

Yet that is 80 million people who do hold a passport. You do realize how quickly a US citizen may arrange for a passport? My job was dependent upon having a valid passport. When I laundered it (which makes it invalid... oops the extra soak and rinse really did a number on it...) I had a new passport in hand 3 days later. The same process and paperwork (and fees...) as getting a new passport.

Quoting goosebayguy (Reply 12):
American airports need to change their attitudes and encourage people to fly!

It used to be much more fun. LAX used to have a culture where families would go to the gates seeing off loved ones.

Quoting lows (Reply 32):
No. But that didn't stop Franz Josef Strauß from getting MUC built, for example.

MUC direly needs the two runways that weren't built then. Where is the European expansion today? DXB?  


Lightsaber
"They did not know it was impossible, so they did it!" - Mark Twain
 
goosebayguy
Posts: 548
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 1:12 pm

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 7:10 pm

I'm hoping the new international terminal at Las Vegas has all the bells and whistles!
 
slinky09
Posts: 590
Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2009 5:03 pm

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 7:35 pm

Quoting kaitak744 (Reply 20):
PDX, SFO, (soon LAX), DEN, DFW, ORD, DTW, ATL, MIA, PHL, EWR, JFK (except Delta's terminal), and BOS all have new and modern international terminals, that are not behind any world standard.

Now you only have yourself to blame for stating this but the reality is that if you use some of the modern terminals you're OK, but if you use say LAX as a AF customer then the facilities are awful. T5 at ORD is dreadful as an international terminal and the facilities for long waits are abysmal there. MIA outside of the new international terminal is a dump that reminds me of BOM in the old days. EWR might be improving, but outside of the CO terminal is not so good.

SFO is excellent though and a model for all the others. BOS is lovely to experience but there's actually very little to do post security. All opinions of course as a regular visitor to all.

Quoting AADC10 (Reply 31):
That is a little different since USA airports are dominated by domestic travel. Why buy something at the airport when you can buy the same thing at home? I can see shopping for international such as duty free or for iconic national or unique items but not nearly as much for domestic.

That doesn't explain how LHR benefits from its shopping malls though, I read somewhere once that something like 40% of perfume sold in the UK is handled at LHR because of duty free, and BAA does very nicely from the retail revenue. Of course, if you're fying ORD-DCA that's totally irrelevant but to my point above, some airports can build great international terminals in the US all the same.
 
Gonzalo
Topic Author
Posts: 1526
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2005 2:43 am

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 7:39 pm

Quoting SRT75 (Reply 7):
Where we can find such land, we build world-class airports (see DEN).

I don't want to look disrespectful, and certainly I don't know how good is DEN regarding runways / gates lay out or facilities, but from a passenger standpoint, I have to say that the murals, sculptures and "art" displayed all over the place are among the ugliest things I have ever seen in a public space.

Just to illustrate :

http://www.sabotagetimes.com/travel/the-ominous-art-of-denver-airport/

Rgds.

G.
Gear Up!!: DC-3 / EMB-110 / Fairchild-227 / Ab318-19-20-21 / B732 / B763 / B789
 
mcogator
Posts: 299
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 11:51 am

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 7:47 pm

Quoting TWA772LR (Reply 18):
I agree that mall/airports are the way to go. MCO is a perfect example of that.

MCO's biggest problem is that most of the shops are prior to security. Which international tourist wants extra stuff to carry through security?
 
solarflyer22
Posts: 1446
Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 7:07 pm

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 7:58 pm

"Yawn". The US is falling behind in everything everywhere. Airports are just another symptom but certainly its been obvious I think for the past 20 years. There are a few good, large airports owing to the size of this country but I would say there are 3 major infrastructure hurdles.

1) No effort to tax and invest in airport infrastructure. User fees are good for maintenance not new development
2) Lack of multi-modal transportation to and from the airport. Specifically, high speed rail, local rail and bus service.
3) Aging air traffic control systems

You look at Dubai, Hong Kong and China's new airports and we are clearly way behind. Having said that, it's still functional if not elegant. We're not second world, not yet anyway. The UK and Canada have their airport issues too with LHR and Toronto if you ask me.
 
goosebayguy
Posts: 548
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 1:12 pm

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:07 pm

Well for one thing DEN is not the worlds biggest airport at 53sq miles. The biggest is DMM followed by RUH which is so large Bahrain would fit inside it.
 
User avatar
mayor
Posts: 6188
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2008 3:58 pm

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:10 pm

Quoting solarflyer22 (Reply 41):
You look at Dubai, Hong Kong and China's new airports and we are clearly way behind. Having said that, it's still functional if not elegant. We're not second world, not yet anyway. The UK and Canada have their airport issues too with LHR and Toronto if you ask me.

Considering how many other infrastructure problems we have, spending money to upgrade or build new airports, as long as they're still working, is all that high on the list.
"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary"----Fred Allen
 
Gonzalo
Topic Author
Posts: 1526
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2005 2:43 am

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:45 pm

Quoting mayor (Reply 43):
Considering how many other infrastructure problems we have, spending money to upgrade or build new airports, as long as they're still working, is all that high on the list.

Airport infrastructure is a big issue for the economy. And not only for the cargo operations. The governments ( not only in the U.S. ) needs to start to think in the airports like investment, not spending. The case of Hong Kong is probably the best example. The cost of the whole project to build Chek Lap Kok ( including the island, rail, bridges ) was around 20 Billions dollars, but I can bet you that Hong Kong already had that money in return long time ago.
Gear Up!!: DC-3 / EMB-110 / Fairchild-227 / Ab318-19-20-21 / B732 / B763 / B789
 
maddogjt8d
Posts: 207
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2009 3:37 pm

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:52 pm

I'd like to nominated ATL as an example to refute the original point of this thread. ATL clearly needed more international capable gates, especially to be A380 ready, and we just completed Concourse F in May adding an additional 12 gates, allowing for A380 capable gates to now be added in place of previous jetways on Concourse E. ATL is definitely landlocked by businesses, highways,and the like, yet they have managed to build a 5th runway and a whole new concourse within the past few years.

Seems like they haven't had too much trouble expanding to me...
 
RobertS975
Posts: 756
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2005 2:17 am

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:13 pm

Quoting lows (Reply 9):
Surely, the entire plot that DEN is on wasn't just an empty expanse.

It was built on wheat fields.
 
ScottB
Posts: 5413
Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2000 1:25 am

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:23 pm

Quoting Gonzalo (Reply 44):
The cost of the whole project to build Chek Lap Kok ( including the island, rail, bridges ) was around 20 Billions dollars, but I can bet you that Hong Kong already had that money in return long time ago.

Chek Lap Kok is a bit of a special case, though, in that IIRC the project was greenlighted under British rule and the contracts were let to British companies -- even though the eventual costs of the airport would be paid back while under Chinese rule. A bit of a parting gift, perhaps.

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 36):
I'm not sure what to do with BOS

There's really little which can be done about BOS. The airfield is mostly adequate for current demand, but there really is no room whatsoever for expansion given its proximity to downtown Boston, the harbor, and densely-populated neighborhoods. I suppose they could have tried to build a replacement at Fort Devens (N.A.S. South Weymouth wasn't a large enough property), but adequate road or rail access would have been a very serious problem. Eastern Massachusetts really doesn't have any large tracts of flat, undeveloped land.
 
SurfandSnow
Posts: 1046
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2009 7:09 am

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:03 pm

Since when are U.S. airports falling behind the rest of the world? In the 21st century alone, in spite of economic turmoil, industry consolidation reducing demand for airport facilities, and a myriad of security risks/challenges/ever-changing protocol, we have managed to successfully open brand new greenfield airports at BKG and ECP, brand new runways at key hub airports like ATL, BOS, CLT, IAD, ORD, and SEA (I'm sure I'm forgetting several others); and brand new state of the art terminals at ATL, DFW, DTW, IAH, IND, JFK, LAS, MIA, PHL, RDU, RSW, SAT, SFO, SJC, SJU, SMF, and SNA (I'm sure I'm forgetting several others). Not to mention a host of other improvements, like additional taxiways, better road access and parking facilities, cosmetic improvements to existing terminals, improved dining and shopping options, etc. at many of these same airports and others across the country. Work is currently well underway for further improvements at JFK and LAX, among others. I would argue that our facilities are very much on par with those around the world. You want a hodge podge of terminals serving a major global city, from world class to downright decrepit? You can check out JFK, or LHR, or CDG... You want beautiful hub facilities serving a rather secondary global city? Then head to DTW, or MUC, or ZRH..
Flying in the middle seat of coach is much better than not flying at all!
 
User avatar
mayor
Posts: 6188
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2008 3:58 pm

RE: U.S. Airports Falling Behind Rest Of The World

Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:08 pm

Quoting MaddogJT8D (Reply 45):


Seems like they haven't had too much trouble expanding to me...

I think ATL was lucky that they had room to expand. There was room when they tore down the old terminal and built Midfield. Not every airport has that luxury. SLC has that luxury. There's a huge amount of land north of the terminal, hangar and reservations building that could be used to expand, however, in the new terminal plans, they plan to use the existing area.

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 36):
Quoting goosebayguy (Reply 12):
American airports need to change their attitudes and encourage people to fly!

It used to be much more fun. LAX used to have a culture where families would go to the gates seeing off loved ones.

Most airports in the U.S. were that way. Blame security for the way it is, now. It would be a nightmare if everyone was allowed thru security as it used to be. In a way, it's better because of less congestion. We used to have a problem at SLC with families either greeting returning missionaries or seeing them off.
"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary"----Fred Allen

Who is online