November 20, 2013
By Dan Namowitz
AOPA has notified the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey of the association’s strong objections to a new fee to be levied against general aviation aircraft taking off from Stewart International Airport in Newburgh, N.Y., beginning Jan. 1, 2014.
According to a fee schedule, "the charge for each cargo non-scheduled airline or general aviation aircraft take-off shall be $1.53 (effective 01/01/2014) per thousand pounds of maximum gross weight, provided that the minimum charge for each such take-off shall be $15.00."
AOPA, in a Nov.15 letter to the airport’s general manager, Richard V. Heslin, pointed out that general aviation aircraft based at the airport already support the facility through tie-down and hangar space rental payments, and fuel-flowage charges. Those tenants should be exempt from the new fee, which could have a "chilling effect" on the airport’s traffic volume, "not to mention the added financial burden on based operators that conduct flight training operations," wrote Bill Dunn, AOPA vice president for airport advocacy.
According to FAA figures, general aviation aircraft account for 20,000 of Stewart International Airport’s 37,000 annual operations.
Dunn urged members who use Stewart International Airport, or are based there, to inform airport management of the impact of the fee on their flight operations before the effective date of the new charge.
In his letter, Dunn also requested that officials provide AOPA’s airport advocacy team with the methodology used to calculate the rate to be charged, and disclose the figures and financial assumptions used as the basis for allocating airport costs to general aviation operators.
AOPA, which has approximately 13,000 members in New York, will evaluate the information on behalf of members to "determine any further actions necessary on their behalf," Dunn wrote.
Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.
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