How will the infrastructure bill be used to modernize our country’s airports?

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The United States has the largest aviation market of any country in the world. Every day, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) serves more than 45,000 flights and 2.9 million passengers. This represents 10 million scheduled passenger flights to and from the country’s 19,633 airports each year.

American airlines carry more passengers than airlines from any other country, and the United States is home to eight of the 10 busiest airports in the world.

What’s up with US airports?

In recent years, US airports haven’t fared too well on the world’s “Best Of” lists, which is likely due to the nation serving as a pioneer for the aviation industry.

Indeed, the United States and Europe are home to most of the world’s 10 oldest airports. College Park Airport in Maryland, for example, was established in 1909 and is the oldest operating airport in the world.

Because airports like College Park were designed and developed long before frequent international travel became the norm, they are not necessarily equipped to meet the demands of 21st-trip of the century.

Nevertheless, much progress is being made at US airports to address inefficiencies that can lead to long lines, overcrowded gates and flight delays.

Dallas Fort Worth Airport, for example, was the first major US airport terminal to be built after 9/11. Thanks to Skylink, the largest airport train in the world, the airport can accommodate up to 37,000 passengers per day.

Then there’s a free mobile app, My TSA, which provides passengers with real-time updates on security wait times so they can better plan their trips and avoid traffic jams.

The country’s smaller regional airports, in particular, are generally much less hectic, providing passengers with the cleanliness, efficiency and ease of access they value. Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport in Georgia, for example, has a new dedicated TSA PreCheck line, which allows TSA PreCheck passengers to wait in separate lines and enjoy an expedited check-in process.

How will the infrastructure bill be used to modernize our country’s airports?

The Biden administrations’ infrastructure bill allocates $25 billion to airports to focus on maintenance and renovation backlogs, foster electrification as well as additional low-carbon technologies, and reduce congestion and emissions near airports and ports. It is hoped that these major upgrades and expansions will further enhance the passenger experience, strengthen supply chains, and boost the United States’ competitiveness on the global stage.

Just last month, the administration announced nearly $1 billion would be invested in 85 airports to expand and upgrade terminals and other facilities.

We’ll see how those plans take off.

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Image Credit: Dima Moroz/Shutterstock.com

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