Published in Midwest Flyer – August/September 2018 issue
As part of an ongoing initiative to ensure fee transparency, airport access, and competition for critical services at publicly funded airports, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) has announced an Airport Access Watch List of 10 locations where the organization believes fixed-base operators with monopoly positions may be preventing reasonable airport access with their pricing practices, potentially putting them in violation of FAA grant assurances.
AOPA intends to contact each airport sponsor and begin a dialogue about the conditions for transient general aviation pilots to access these public airports. AOPA’s goal is to ensure that pilots are able to land and park at each airport without being forced to purchase services they do not use, want, or need.
There are several airports that have agreed with AOPA’s assessments on egregious FBO pricing practices, and some of those airports have unilaterally taken steps to correct these situations. We call them self-help airports, and they include Orange County, Waukegan, Syracuse, Santa Barbara, Heber City, and Cedar Rapids.
All 10 airports on the newly announced Watch List have received federal funds from the Airport Improvement Program and are thus subject to FAA grant assurances. Each of the FBOs at these airports also have transparency issues, in that their fees are not easily accessed online.
Airport Access Watch List includes Atlantic City, New Jersey (ACY); Casper/Natrona County, Wyoming (CPR); Charlottesville, Virginia (CHO); Chester County, Pennsylvania (MQS); Hilton Head, South Carolina (HXD); Laughlin/Bullhead City, Arizona (IFP); Norfolk, Virginia (ORF); Rochester, Minnesota (RST); Rocky Mountain, Colorado (BJC); and Sloulin Field, North Dakota (ISN).