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"Airport Security Bill"

Sunday, September 30, 2001

Airport Security Bill--Weekend Update

Despite our best efforts, many Congressional staffers are not convinced
that airports need funding and flexibility to meet increased security
costs even though their revenues have sharply declined since the
terrorist attacks on September 11.  It's clear that the airport message
is not yet getting through.  You can help by contacting your
Congressional delegations as soon as possible, discussing the financial
challenges that your airport is facing, and asking that the aviation
security bill Congress considers this week provide relief for airports.

Staff from the Senate Commerce Committee and the House Transportation
and Infrastructure worked throughout the weekend on their respective
aviation security bills.  Both bodies are expected to consider the
security bills this week.  The AAAE/ACI-NA Legislative Affairs
Department met with staff yesterday and talked with them again today
about the airport provisions that we would like to see included in the
two bills.  

As we reported last week, the Senate version of the aviation security
bill may include a provision that will allow airports to use PFCs and
AIP funds to pay for law enforcement officials and other operational
expenses.  However, some members of the House Transportation and
Infrastructure Committee continue to oppose AIP/PFC flexibility, arguing
that those capital programs should not be tapped for operational
expenses, even in these extraordinary times.  

Neither committee seems convinced that it is necessary to provide
airports with the revenue they need to pay for more law enforcement
officials as required by the FAA.  Whether the Senate and House bills
will address the problems that airports have encountered with war risk
insurance and airport bonds is still up in the air.  But if it is left
to the authorizing committees, the answer is likely to be "no."

Again, we would like to thank those of you who have contacted your
Congressional delegation in recent days and encourage those of you who
haven't, to do so as soon as possible.  Thanks again for your help with
these issues.  As we mentioned before, we're facing an uphill battle, so
your calls are critical.  

The reality of the financial plight is that airports are faced with
dramatically increased costs due to FAA-mandated security directives at
the same time that revenues are plunging due to huge reductions in
traffic, landing fees, parking revenues and concession revenues.  

Our advice is to drive that message home in increasingly direct forms
with your representatives in Washington.  This is not business as

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