Monday Insight – April 12, 2021

Congressional “Infrastructure” Funding:
Chump Change For Airports – And Insults For Communities

It gets really, really difficult not to simply call it for what it is: irresponsible political pork.

We’re talking about the financial dishonesty of the “infrastructure” bill being ginned up by the life forms inhabiting the marble playpen, a.k.a. Congress.

Two Trillion for “InfrastructureThat Isn’t.  This rag bill has payoffs in hundreds of millions for stuff for which anyone with access to a Funk & Wagnall’s would find no such definition.

But here in our industry, the glorious bill that we are told “the people” are all excited about has just $25 billion for airports.

‘Course, the trendy rail hobby-lobby got $80 billion, much of which is to build new intra-city lines that nobody will use, and in no case will even cover their costs. And lots of money to make Amtrak’s dilapidated, obsolete and mostly useless long-haul services even more wasteful.

See, air transportation is not a modality that has any real support among the elites now in charge. See, the emerging new role of air logistics is nowhere near as exciting seeing lots of new high-speed (like, 35-mph average in some cases) choo-choos going across the countryside. Mostly empty.

Let’s put this $28 billion in context… the post-CCP-Covid context…

It’s Barely Covering The CCP-Covid Losses, Let Alone A Runway Rehab. Airports:USA® produces the only independent enplanement forecasts accomplished entirely in the private sector. Below we have compared the national Airports:USA® forecast accomplished in the 3rd quarter of 2019 and presented at the 24th Annual International Aviation Forecast Summit in Las Vegas, to the most recent (April 1, 2021) forecast.

Not a pretty picture…

Take a look at the cumulative difference between what was forecast based on the air transportation system that existed before the CCP inflicted Covid on the Chinese people and then the world, and the current projections through 2025.

Through 2025, the forecast indicates there will be cumulatively 1.74 billion fewer enplanements at U.S. airports between 2020 and 2025 than would have been generated by the pre-CCP-Covid air transportation system.

Let’s put a pen to this. Assuming that the average revenues per enplanement – concessions, parking, fees, PFCs, etc. – would be something like $15, this loss of 1.74 billion enplanements represents just over $26.2 billion dollars.

These were revenues that airports had most likely planned for in their Master Plans and long-term facility projections. And they are gone like the dodo.

Gee, that’s not too far off of the $28 billion in federal largesse that’s in the “infrastructure” bill.

So, the conclusion is that this new money from Congress is barely a wash compared to the hit airports are/were taking due to CCP-Covid.

Time For Airports To Raise A Bit of Ruckus. Okay, aviation industry. The perfunctory congrats to the new Secretary of Transportation are over. It’s time that this infrastructure scam be righted. These people are going to spend this money in any case, and airports likely need four or five times the peanuts Congress is tossing at them.

The Washington alphabet organizations representing airlines and airports need to sharpen their pencils and advise Congress what’s really needed.

And make it loudly public. Or just sit back and get chumped.

This whole dishonestly-labeled spend has more to do with political pay-offs than infrastructure.

For more information on Airports:USA® just click here.


Another Economic Pandemic Gift From The CCP?

As our clients know, last week’s Touch & Go newsletter outlined a potentially disturbing eventuality.

Like, another pandemic-type economic event that will torpedo the current post-Covid recovery. Perhaps a bit of skepticism… understandably.

It’s not crazy talk, but it involves crazy people. See, wars don’t do much for economic recovery, particularly ones that could shut down the entire logistics and air travel flows across the Pacific.

It’s the potential of China militarily invading democratic Taiwan. If this takes place, there will be major conflict – a.k.a. war. Missiles, tanks, all sorts of related violence.

In that process, you can take it to your bookie that trade between the USA and China (and the rest of the relatively sane world) will get disrupted.  That means a lot of the things we (unfortunately) rely upon from Chinese sweat shops won’t be on the shelves. Things from the tacky electronic gizmos advertised on late nite TV up to major auto parts, furniture, TVs, cell phones, computers, major appliances and the like.

This means that a lot of U.S. factories won’t have the China-sourced components to keep the production lines going. That means economic slowdown – facilities closed, paychecks missed, and a lot less discretionary travel – which has been the lynchpin in the recent recovery in air travel demand.

Yes, given the damage it will concurrently inflict on China, it makes no sense. However, the political factions inside the CCP are in a free-for-all to get the current Thug-In-Charge, Xi Jinping out. So, his next move could be a move to “restore” Taiwan — one that his political opponents would have to follow.

If you haven’t pulled it up, the latest Aviation Unscripted video explains the background to this hoedown, and what might happen. Trade channels are very fragile, and the fallout to the U.S. economy and air transportation system will not be inconsequential.

This event could happen any day, or maybe a couple years in the future, or maybe not at all.

But given the rumblings from inside Zhongnanhai (the CCP headquarters in Beijing) it may be sooner that we’d like.

Click here to get the story. It’s on our Aviation Unscripted channel on

While you’re there, subscribe to get notices of future Unscripted videos, scheduled for each Thursday. Our approach is awake, not woke.