I’m in Arizona for two of our most interesting and important conferences: Our Commissioners Conference in Tucson and our Finance/Human Capital/Information Technology Conference in Phoenix. The fact that they are in one of my favorite parts of the world makes it even better!
The Commissioners Conference serves those who serve on the boards of airports (many airport directors also come). These men and women are leaders in their community and serve on these boards as a community service. They invest a lot of time, energy and expertise in making their airport an important economic engine for their community.
The Finance/Human Capital/IT meeting was in Phoenix. Some of the sessions were joint and some were on separate tracks. We had 300 or so key airport staff from all over the US and Canada here engaging on a wide range of topics important to their work at their airport and in their companies (many corporate members were also here). Many attendees were able to receive professional development credits.
An important topic at both conferences was the lack of a PFC increase and the whole airline/airport relationship. I gave a version of the speech I gave at Airport Cities in Memphis at both locations and received an overwhelmingly positive response. I encourage you to look at it and let me know your thoughts.
airport governance model if nothing changes, and that could include some form of privatization. What I do know is we can’t go on like we are now.
I should mention that Doug Parker, the CEO of US Airways addressed the group in Phoenix and did a very nice job expressing his views, even though they disagreed with mine.
I came away convinced of two things: that we need to continue expressing our views that the airlines and government are working tacitly together to strangle the airport economic engine and do so in explicit terms; and, that we need to quietly work with the airlines to find some better way forward. I should also say there need not be a contradiction between those two things, indeed the first might help make the second more possible.