Making an Impact: PHL's Capacity Enhancement Program
Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) is a focal point of travel for residents and visitors throughout Greater Philadelphia, but crowded runways have made delays frequent and limited expansion of international and domestic flights. To resolve this issue, PHL has worked in collaboration with federal, state, and local partners to develop the Capacity Enhancement Program (CEP), a $6.4 billion plan to construct a new runway, extend two existing runways, and expand terminal and cargo facility space.
The CEP plan is particularly vital considering the impact that PHL has on both the region’s economic competitiveness and its public image. A 2006 Econsult analysis suggested that the airport’s annual economic impact was as much as $14.4 billion, and the CEP will strengthen this impact by reducing congestion and increasing service at the facility, allowing PHL to expand its position as an economic anchor for Greater Philadelphia.
To facilitate funding and support for the expansion, PHL has done extensive stakeholder outreach, with significant support coming from local nonprofit and advocacy groups throughout the region, including the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Select Greater Philadelphia. The airport recently reached a long-term lease extension with US Airways, which had initially expressed concern over increased operating costs associated with the CEP. This new US Airways agreement will pave the way for $734 million in initial investment toward the total CEP. The future of the CEP will depend, in part, on the outcome of the airline’s proposed merger with American Airlines and changing service needs along the Northeast Corridor.