Simply stated, it is an industry led effort urging online FBO pricing and ramp fee transparency. The general aviation community believes pilots should have easy online access to fees prior to arriving at an FBO. The original industry call to encourage FBOs to make prices easily accessible online was released in 2018 by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), Helicopter Association International (HAI), National Air Transportation Association (NATA), and National Business Aviation Association (NBAA). Since that time, hundreds of general aviation organizations representing hundreds of thousands of pilots have signed on to support transparency of FBO fees at public-use airports.
AOPA has heard from thousands of pilots that have been surprised by a number of FBO ramp fees. These include tie-down fees, facility fees, infrastructure fees, access fees, security fees, handling fees, and even fees for being picked up by a taxi at an FBO. Most of the complaints are pointed to a few large chain FBOs or where an FBO has a monopoly position. Pilots tell us they are often charged for services they don’t ask for or receive. AOPA, along with its industry colleagues, believe all pilots of both piston and turbine aircraft should have easy online access to FBO fee information so they can make informed pre-flight planning decisions. A few large chain FBOs have instituted programs requiring a pilot to join its frequent flyer program before making its prices and fees for turbine aircraft available. These types of programs do not meet the spirit or intent of the Know Before You Go program, especially when other large FBOs have instituted full fee transparency for all aircraft.
Ramp transparency is an industry led effort to urge airports to use standardized GA parking labels on Airport Diagrams. Today, the FAA requires over 700 airports to have a diagram and the agency plans to increase that number to nearly 3,000 airports.
The three simple labels include GA Transient Ramp, GA Tenant Ramp, and FBO Ramp.
AOPA conducted a review of airport diagrams and found as many as 30 different parking terms for the same type of ramp in Southern California alone. So, you can imagine what that looks like on a national scale. Many airports currently have transient general aviation parking areas that are available to pilots but are either not labeled or labeled in a way that is not clear or relevant to the ramps purpose. Often, pilots don’t require the services of an FBO but are unaware that an alternative ramp exists.
Ramp transparency is widely supported by hundreds of thousands of pilots including hundreds of State and Local Pilot Associations and Type Clubs from across the country.
This effort will bring needed transparency to airport ramp areas, where applicable, giving all pilots an opportunity to again make informed pre-flight planning decisions.