Seventy-two percent of Americans say they’d support expansion of capacity at their local airport, reports the nationwide Saint Index survey of attitudes towards development. Yet airport expansion projects have been among the most controversial development issues across the US and globally.
Airports in Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco will need additional capacity in 2015 even if planned improvements are carried out. In all, 14 U.S. airports will be overwhelmed by 2025, the FAA reports.
The biggest mistake airport operators — or developers of any potentially controversial project — make is launching expansion efforts without fully understanding the politics of planning
And, as Jesse McKnight, executive vice president for The Saint Consulting Group writes, citizen opposition — more accurately, the politics it spawns — quickly mushrooms into a formidable force that will delay and kill vital programs to expand capacity or even improve safety.