The FAA has amended its 1996 Rates and Charges Policy to create a so-called “congestion pricing” scheme over the objections of AOPA and the aviation industry. But there is some good news for GA.
A related policy change will allow the owner of a congested airport to use fees to offset the cost of operating any affiliated reliever airports that it also owns.
AOPA has consistently objected to congestion pricing because it uses fees as a penalty to limit airport access. In comments filed in April, AOPA argued that the FAA and airport owners should be working to improve efficiency and increase capacity instead of restricting access.
“While the proposal was targeted at the airlines, we don’t like the idea of congestion pricing for anyone,” said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. “The silver lining in the cloud is that airport owners could do more for projects at GA airports.”
For example, that the owners of Los Angeles International can now charge LAX users a fee that includes a portion of the costs of operating Van Nuys Airport, which is owned by the same entity.
Another amendment to the FAA’s policy, which took effect July 14, allows the operators of congested airports to charge users a portion of the cost of airport improvement projects under construction. In the past, those costs could be passed to users only after the improvements were completed.