April 22, 2010
AOPA ePublishing staff
It’s a scenario repeated all too often at air carrier airports across the country—general aviation tenants being squeezed out in favor of the airlines. This time, it’s happening to pilots at Reno-Tahoe International. But AOPA is working to buck the trend and ensure that GA pilots continue to have access to the airport and its services.
The Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority has announced that, effective July 1, it will manage hangars currently operated by Jest West and Sierra Aviation for the next two years while new GA hangars are being built at Reno/Stead Airport. Once the new hangars are completed, tenants at Reno-Tahoe would have the first right of refusal for a hangar at Reno/Stead.
On April 19, AOPA wrote to Krys Bart, president and CEO of the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority, to express its opposition to the plan. The association is concerned that the airport authority is not renewing existing fixed-base-operation leases and is reducing the services available to general aviation pilots.
As has been the case in previous instances when GA tenants have been forced to relocate to new hangars at a different airport, the rates at the new facility are higher and the services at the current airport are drastically reduced, making it a lose-lose situation for pilots.
AOPA Vice President of Local Airport Advocacy Bill Dunn will be meeting with Reno officials and the Washoe County Commissioners in June to discuss the value of GA operations at the airport and a need for a balance between GA and airline operations. Currently, 127 GA aircraft are based at the air-carrier airport.
“It appears that the airport authority is taking the same route as those who tried to reduce the GA presence at San Jose,” said Dunn. “Such an action is ludicrous because Reno-Tahoe is nowhere near capacity in total operations. We will work diligently with those elected officials who appoint members to the airport authority to make sure GA isn’t squeezed out.”
Only 10 percent of the aircraft excise taxes that Washington aircraft owners pay go to the Washington State Division of Aeronautics, while the other 90 percent go into the general fund. AOPA is advocating for legislation that would direct 100 percent of the tax to aviation use.
A Seattle pilot on a ferry flight from California to Maui deployed his airframe parachute near Hawaii and was videotaped by the Coast Guard.
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