AOPA, NATA Disagree Over FBO Conflicts
AOPA and 11 other aviation user groups called on the FAA on Tuesday to take action against “egregious FBO fees and denial of airport access.” The groups said hidden fees and unaffordable costs for ramp space deny pilots “reasonable access to federally funded airports.” NATA quickly issued a dissenting statement, citing “misguided assumptions” driving AOPA’s campaign. “We believe AOPA’s initiative risks increasing costs for users, will redirect resources from important operational and safety projects at airports, and fails to recognize how airports carry out mandates from TSA and satisfy its rigorous requirements,” said NATA President Marty Hiller.
AOPA, along with Women in Aviation International, the American Bonanza Society and nine other pilot groups, said that “pilots across America” want FBOs to be healthy and profitable, but they also want FBO fees to be publicly disclosed online, with public access to and from parking ramps, charted and fully disclosed transient parking, competition among FBOs and freedom from paying for unwanted services. “Egregious, hidden fees drive down traffic and cut off access to important communities,” AOPA said. “It's time for the FAA to ensure pilots have a right to reasonable access to federally funded airports.” NATA said AOPA has identified problems at only 13 airports, out of 5,136 public-use airports. “Every FBO market and region is different, with specific local economic circumstances,” NATA said. “NATA encourages airport users to talk with the airport manager and FBO when an issue arises.”