CALL TO ACTION: Contact Your Senators TODAY to Support Fair, Reasonable, and Transparent FBO fees

I received the following from AOPA today. Please consider contacting our senators here:

I am reaching out to request that you contact your U.S. Senators TODAY and urge them to support Senator Ted Budd’s amendment to ensure GA pilots have access to fair, reasonable, and transparent FBO fees at public-use airports.

The Senate Commerce Committee is meeting tomorrow, Thursday, to consider the FAA Reauthorization bill (S. 1939).

Your opinion matters, and when Senators hear from thousands of constituents, it helps make a difference in how they vote.

It is of the utmost importance that you contact your Senators TODAY and urge a YES vote on Senator Budd’s amendment to this year’s FAA Reauthorization bill, S. 1939.

As we know, most airports and small FBOs do not charge fees, and if they do, they are generally fair and reasonable. Like you, I am willing to pay a fair and reasonable fee, but that is not happening at hundreds of airports across the country.

We continue to hear from pilots who have expressed frustration with being charged exorbitant fees for simply parking their aircraft to grab a sandwich, have a meeting, or just drop off or pick up a passenger. You may have experienced this, as I have on several occasions, and it needs to stop!

And now, large chain FBOs and even airports are charging egregious “special event fees” – $3,000 and higher – just to park.

Airport and FBO interests oppose the Budd amendment and have been providing misinformation about Senator Budd’s amendment, so I want to clarify what the amendment does and does not do:

The Budd Amendment:

  • DOES protect access to airports by requiring the FAA to develop guardrails around fair, reasonable, and transparent FBO fees.
  • DOES coincide with existing law, rule, regulation, and guidance on the imposition of airport oversight to ensure fair and reasonable fees collected at federally funded public-use airports.

The Budd Amendment:

  • DOES NOT require ramp construction.
  • DOES NOT require free parking.
  • DOES NOT impose an unfunded mandate.

With the upcoming Super Bowl in Las Vegas, attention on parking fees for private aircraft at public-use airports has garnered national attention. Two local airports where Clark County controls the parking, have published “special event fees” for private aircraft based on size. Their “special event fees” range from $750 to $3,000 and are charged in addition to regular parking fees. However, at Harry Reid International Airport (LAS), where two large chain FBOs control the prices for parking, the fees will be much higher. News reports suggest fees at one FBO start at $2,575 and can reach almost $15,000 depending on the size of the aircraft.

While these fees for the Super Bowl are exorbitant, egregious FBO fees are not new. Pilots have been experiencing unfair and unreasonable fees at hundreds of public use airports where fees are controlled by large chain FBOs.

Many business operators who fly for hire pass these FBO fees along to their customers. Unfortunately, owner-operators who don’t fly for hire can’t pass these fees along and thereby have limited access to these public-use airports.

Senator Budd is trying to protect GA pilots from unfair, unreasonable, or non-transparent FBO fees, but he needs your help! Please join AOPA and nearly 600 pilot organizations across the nation in support of the amendment offered by Senator Budd .

Even if you have not experienced egregious FBO fees, you must take action to ensure this does not happen to you in the future.