Research Field: Administration
U.S. airports provide safe and reliable facilities for aircraft operations and contribute significant benefits to the economy. Aviation demand continues to grow; technology continues to advance at an increasingly rapid pace; aging infrastructure needs to be replaced and upgraded; and new safety and security protocols need to be incorporated. Yet the funding mechanisms used to finance these efforts have remained relatively unchanged for many years resulting in a growing concern for the long term sustainability of many airports. Additionally, in many communities, airports are not viewed as having a positive impact, which may increase funding uncertainty. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought a new focus on the limits and deficiencies of the current airport economic model, creating an inflection point for the industry. Research is needed to identify new means for ensuring the long term sustainability of the U.S. airport system.
The objective of this research is to assess the current economic model for funding airports, identify and evaluate other models (including those from other countries and industries) for their possible application to U.S. airports, and recommend new funding models and processes.