Six years too long for pilots to pay unjust fees, AOPA says
The FAA New England Airports Division has been dragging its feet for nearly seven years on a complaint that AOPA issued on behalf of members at Massachusetts' Laurence G. Hanscom Field who are being saddled with fees for flying at night. And AOPA is tired of waiting for the FAA to act. The airport charges per arrival or departure between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. Aircraft weighing 12,500 pounds or less incur a $49 fee, and aircraft weighing more than 12,500 pounds are charged $357. The amounts double for aircraft that operate between those times more than five times in a calendar year. "We've written the FAA, insisting that they immediately investigate the legality of nighttime operations fees at Hanscom Field. We brought this to the agency's attention more than six years ago," said Bill Dunn, AOPA vice president of airports. "These unjust, discriminatory fees were implemented without FAA approval and violate the airport's protections that are spelled out in its federal grant assurances." While AOPA is sensitive to noise concerns from airport neighbors, the Massachusetts Port Authority, owner and operator of the airport, has never completed a noise study at this airport. "These fees aren't tied to the amount of noise that an aircraft creates," Dunn said. "And the FAA hasn't even validated the need for these fees by conducting a noise study to see if there truly is a noise problem. The FAA needs to stand up and take action now."
March 23, 2007