Infrastructure investment key to easing congestion says GECAS

US Government officials should maintain a focus on improving airport infrastructure and the air traffic control system as a means of tackling congestion rather than implementing measures that will constrain demand, a top executive at GE Commercial Aviation Services (GECAS) suggests.

Congestion-based pricing is one of a handful of mechanisms that US President George W Bush’s administration is considering as it determines how to reduce air traffic congestion and flight delays at New York JFK. The FAA has also proposed caps to reduce overscheduling during peak hours of operation at the airport.

Speaking at the Regional Airline Association’s annual fall members’ meeting in Washington DC yesterday, GECAS senior VP and manager of regional jet programs Todd Freeman said he is concerned that if the administration’s demands are introduced, it might reduce the government’s perceived need to improve the country’s airport infrastructure.

For its part, says Freeman, GECAS is “certainly looking at the infrastructure around our core business and to the extent there are decent financial opportunities that can help grow [our] core group”, which includes aircraft leasing and financing.

The company this year acquired a majority stake in UK aviation management consultancy AviaSolutions, which now assists GECAS in the investment and development of regional airports and airport terminals worldwide.

Low-cost terminals are of interest to GECAS, reports ATI sister publication Airline Business. The magazine quotes AviaSolutions director Seamus Kealey as saying: “Post-9/11, the majority of growth worldwide has been with low-cost carriers. As such, our plan is to dedicate ourselves to looking at low-cost terminal products, particularly in developing markets.”

Expanding to meet growing demand, AviaSolutions has begun a hiring push. It says it is looking to appoint individuals with experience in forecasting, business planning, operational research, infrastructure development and project management, working both in the