May 20, 2004 - AOPA this week asked the FAA to investigate how the city of Addison, Texas, is running Addison Airport (ADS). The association contends the city is not complying with FAA requirements, which could lead to higher costs for pilots.
"When an airport doesn't get the revenue it's due, its expenses still have to be paid," said AOPA Senior Vice President of Government and Technical Affairs Andy Cebula. "They often result in higher rates and fees charged to individual pilots and aircraft owners, which is one of the reasons AOPA fights to make sure airports get all the money that's coming to them."
AOPA cited extensive anecdotal evidence. The airport is managed under contract, and the management company not only receives compensation, but also bonus payments based on level of performance. AOPA believes that that constitutes a diversion of airport revenue because the company has already been compensated. The city provided a grant of airport revenue to build a hangar for a single corporate tenant and provided the land rent-free for five years. The city maintains a number of non-aviation buildings on airport grounds for city use, yet a review of city financial records shows no fair-market compensation for use of the property. And the city recently roped off a portion of the ramp for use as overflow automobile parking at a park center next to the airport, yet there is no record of either FAA approval or a notam being issued.
"Between 1976 and 2000, Addison Airport received just under $13 million in airport development funds," AOPA said in its letter. "This significant level of federal investment placed in ADS over the years leaves no doubt that Addison Airport is heavily obligated to the FAA and is required to follow all FAA compliance policies, procedures, and agency requirements."