Pilot response helps stop Alaska rate hike

June 12, 2008

A proposed increase for lease rates at Fairbanks and Anchorage airports won’t happen, thanks in part to objections by local pilots and AOPA.

The plan would have raised lease rates for most tenants at the two airports by more than 50 percent beginning July 1. But AOPA expressed concerns about such a dramatic and sudden increase and pointed out that the move could seriously impact pilots and businesses already suffering from high fuel and energy costs. In a May 27 letter to Keith Day, controller for the state’s international airport system, AOPA asked Alaska to study the economic impact of the increase before moving forward.

Now the state has decided not to increase lease rates, at least for the time being.

In a June 3 letter, Day noted that in deciding not to move forward with rate increases, the airport system was responding to the concerns raised by AOPA, the Alaska Airmen’s Association, and air carriers, which argued that their revenues are highly seasonal and the sudden increase gave them no time to budget for the change.

In his letter, Day promised that any new proposal for future rate increases would be accompanied by a renewed opportunity for public comment.