US airports require massive capital investment in infrastructure over the next five years if they are to keep up with predicted rising passenger levels and forestall flight delays, a survey from the country's main industry body has concluded.
The 'Airport Capital Development Costs for 2007-11' study, released by the North American branch of Airports Council International (ACI-NA), found that US airports must plough USD87.4 billion into new runways, terminal buildings, cargo facilities and other construction projects to meet the future needs of air passengers.
The survey estimated total airport capital development costs at around USD17.5 billion per year for the period 2007-11: a 19.5 per cent increase compared with an earlier forecast for 2005-09.
The study also predicted that travellers will experience worsening delays - with a potentially damaging effect on traffic levels - unless increased investment is provided for capacity, safety and security facilities at airports: "In 2000, the average delay was 51 minutes. That number increased to 53 minutes in 2006 and will only increase more if airports don't launch projects now to meet expected demand."