Monday, December 11, 2017

Holiday-sized crowd will become more common at airports, study says

If air travel demand continues at its current pace, many of the nation's biggest airports will face holiday-type congestion once or twice a week within the next decade.

That is the warning issued in a new study from the U.S. Travel Association, the trade group for the nation's travel industry. The group says the nation's airports need funds to expand and modernize to alleviate airport congestion and growing passenger frustration.

"The gap between the busiest travel day of the year — the Wednesday before Thanksgiving — and the average day in the rest of the year is closing fast," said Roger Dow, chief executive of the U.S. Travel Association.

On the day before Thanksgiving, passenger volumes at airports around the country jump as much as 256 percent compared with those on average travel days, the study says.

At seven of the nation's biggest airports, including San Francisco International and McCarran International in Las Vegas, crowds already reach the levels of the day before Thanksgiving at least once a week, the study says.

The Federal Aviation Administration estimates that U.S. airports will serve about 800 million passengers in 2016 and 1 billion passengers annually by 2027.

At Los Angeles International Airport, one day a week will be as crowded as the day before Thanksgiving by 2015, the study says. Without major investments to upgrade the airport, every day at LAX will be as crowded as the day before Thanksgiving by 2033, the study predicts.

Even though passenger volume has been dropping at some regional airports, the travel association says the congestion problems will eventually spread to smaller airports.

The nation's airlines are increasingly directing flights to hub airports, according to a related study released by a Washington think tank, the Eno Center for Transportation. When passenger volumes exceed capacity at hub airports, a ripple effect will lead to flight delays at other airports across the country, the Eno study says.

"Not all airports within the system are experiencing capacity constraints, but due to the interconnectivity of the system, those with constraints create congestion nationwide," the Eno study says.

The travel association's study does not estimate how much money is needed to solve the congestion problem, but it points to a $71.3 billion backlog of airport infrastructure projects that the Airports Council International-North America says need to be completed by 2017.

Finding the money to pay for the expansion and modernization projects could be a problem, the travel association acknowledged.

Dow said travelers and members of the travel industry need to bring attention to the problem to get lawmakers to act.

"Everything happens when you begin to get outrage," he said.

The forecast of severe airport congestion was no surprise to the American Association of Airport Executives, the trade group that represents executives from 850 airports and aviation-related companies.

"We have seen a whole lot of studies saying we have a lot of needs at airports that are going unmet," said Joel Bacon, a spokesman for the group.

He said airport executives would like greater authority to raise funds to launch local airport improvement projects.

Comments
Update: Gun found near Lakewood High, school now on lockout

Update: Gun found near Lakewood High, school now on lockout

A gun was found in a backpack near Lakewood High on Monday, St. Petersburg Police spokeswoman Sandra Bentil has confirmed.She would not say where exactly the gun was located off-campus or if it was loaded.The school, which was placed on lockdown arou...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Ashley Moody unveils powerhouse finance team in bid for AG

Ashley Moody unveils powerhouse finance team in bid for AG

Former Hillsborough Circuit Judge Ashley Moody got the support from incumbent Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi before she even officially announced for the job.Even with three other Republicans in the race — Jay Fant, Ross Spano, Frank W...
Updated: 4 hours ago
‘80s Holiday Gift Guide: Here’s what to buy your friends this season

‘80s Holiday Gift Guide: Here’s what to buy your friends this season

The holidays are almost here, and as a proud fan of the '80s, you no doubt want to represent the decade in your gift-giving again this year. But how many A Christmas Story leg lamp ornaments can you really give out? Here are some fresh ideas to ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
How bad are Florida State’s football facilities?

How bad are Florida State’s football facilities?

As Jimbo Fisher was leaving Florida State for Texas A&M, an administrative commitment to facilities was one reason why.So how bad are the Seminoles' facilities, really?No. 12 in the country, according to 247Sports.That's better than Miami (...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Kesha, Macklemore coming to the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa

Kesha, Macklemore coming to the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa

Brush your teeth with Jack Daniel's and put on your grandpa's hand-me-downs, because Kesha and Macklemore are teaming up for a summer tour.The pop outcasts-turned-heroes will hit the road for a 30-city trek that includes a stop at Tampa's MidFlorida ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 1

Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 1

UPDATE, 10:30: In addition to the Cardinals, the Rockies and Mets are considered hot in pursuit of Rays closer Alex Colome. …. Keep hearing the Angels as a potential landing spot for 3B Evan Longoria if the Rays deal him. … Rays manager K...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Rays manager Kevin Cash on trade speculation, bullpen staffing, Yankees addition of Giancarlo Stanton

Rays manager Kevin Cash on trade speculation, bullpen staffing, Yankees addition of Giancarlo Stanton

Rays manager Kevin Cash was first up in the media room at the winter meetings today and here are a few up the more interesting things he said:* On trade speculation regarding their veterans such as Chris Archer and Evan Longoria: "I know there is a l...
Updated: 3 hours ago
What to watch this week: New season of ‘The Librarians,’ Gwen Stefani’s Christmas special

What to watch this week: New season of ‘The Librarians,’ Gwen Stefani’s Christmas special

MondaySEASON FINALE: The Gifted, 9 p.m., Fox: The team at Mutant HQ is divided on what to do next after Jace is forced to hand over something valuable to Dr. Campbell.Disney's Fairytale Weddings: Holiday Magic, 8 p.m., Freeform: A behind-the-scenes l...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Explosives? On 40-yard plays, Bucs among NFL’s worst

Explosives? On 40-yard plays, Bucs among NFL’s worst

Bucs coach Dirk Koetter has key statistics that he puts great value in, finding a close correlation between success in those areas and success on the scoreboard. Winning the takeaway battle is always first among those priorities, but he and his staff...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Watch: New ‘Ready Player One’ trailer is instant classic

Watch: New ‘Ready Player One’ trailer is instant classic

Have you seen the first full trailer for Ready Player One? Here it is. It debuted Sunday, and a million '80s nerds all cried out in joy. Like the book by Ernest Cline, it just dazzles. It looks like Steven Spielberg is back in top form again. (Sorry,...
Updated: 1 hour ago