The Airforwarders Association (AfA) is making significant strides in advocating for investment in air cargo infrastructure in the United States. With the aid of senior lobbyist Michael Taylor, the association aims to raise awareness among influential Members of Congress about the urgent need for funding to address congestion and improve efficiency in airport cargo areas.
“Our goal is to identify key decision makers on Capitol Hill and raise their awareness of the challenges to air cargo and its importance in the logistics supply chain,” Brandon Fried, Executive Director of the Airforwarders Association, said.
The Airport Congestion Committee, established by the AfA, identified key focus areas and recommended solutions to address cargo congestion at airports. Challenges include communication and technology limitations, inadequate facilities and infrastructure, staffing issues, customer service, and government policies and regulations. The committee’s white paper offers a comprehensive list of recommendations, emphasising the importance of integrated solutions. Coordinated stakeholder engagement, efficient automation, communications technology, and appropriate policy frameworks are crucial in addressing congestion effectively.
Truck congestion at major US airports continues to pose a significant challenge despite airfreight volumes returning to pre-pandemic levels. The AfA’s key objective is to engage decision-makers on Capitol Hill and ensure they understand the importance of air cargo in the logistics supply chain.
“Airports are facing capital improvement requirements of over 120 billion dollars over the next five years, and the recent infrastructure act legislation would, at best, cover 20% of those requirements,” Fried stated. “Most of the monies allocated to airports will likely go to delayed passenger requirements and amenities, critical support services, safety, and security.”
Taylor, a seasoned Washington insider with extensive legislative and regulatory advocacy experience, spearheads the AfA’s efforts. With a deep understanding of the industry’s impact on the supply chain and national commerce, Taylor brings relevant expertise to advocate effectively for air cargo infrastructure investment.
Key to the economy
The air cargo industry has proven to be a financial mainstay for the aviation industry, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. As passenger traffic declined, air cargo operations expanded to meet the increased demand for time-sensitive shipments.
The industry’s efforts in facilitating the transportation of critical goods, including high-value and time-sensitive items, contributed significantly to airport revenues. Increased freighter operations generated revenues through landing fees, fuel flowage fees, and other operating revenue, offsetting some of the losses experienced by airports and their partners.
“It is essential to understand that air cargo throughput impacts thousands of small businesses that depend on the timeliness of their expedited shipments. Lawmakers need to understand that these businesses and their constituents will benefit once improved,” Fried said.
The AfA is determined to convince Members of Congress about the urgent need for investment in air cargo infrastructure. By highlighting the impact on shipping costs, consumer prices, job creation, service improvement, carbon emissions reduction, and increased private investment, the association aims to build a compelling case for funding.
AfA’s efforts have gained traction in Congress. The association’s legislation regarding a General Accountability Office study was adopted during the FAA Reauthorisation bill’s amendment process in the U.S. House of Representatives committee.
“Once the full version of the legislation is complete, it will be voted on by the House, and then there will be a Senate version. Both pieces of legislation will be taken to a conference to iron out differences to produce the finished bill to be voted by both the House and Senate and sent to the President for signature,” Fried explained.