AOPA President Mark Baker on June 5 announced to members that “for only the second time in the past 24 years, we’ve made the tough decision to increase AOPA member dues.” Regular membership dues will increase to $59 a year starting Sept. 1.
“Raising dues isn’t a decision we made lightly or in a vacuum,” Baker told members in a letter. “We know that the cost of flying is an important consideration for our members, and AOPA dues are part of that cost. So before taking this step, we collected feedback from more than 2,000 members like you. Those members told us that the work we do on their behalf is important and must continue today and long into the future. I hope you’ll agree. As a result of member feedback, we are also providing you with added options that will help tailor your membership to meet your needs.
“Right now, we are working to create an environment where many more people can share in the experience of general aviation, where we can reverse the rising cost of flying, and where all of us can fly more often and much later in life than we ever imagined. With your support and engagement, we are working to create a general aviation community that is stronger and more vibrant than ever before. We can bring our vision to life by fighting hard to protect our freedoms, by opening the hangar doors to anyone who wants to experience aviation, and by removing the barriers that prevent people from starting or continuing to fly.”
Baker said that AOPA exists to help pilots do what they love for as long as they can, and that’s flying. A large part of keeping pilots flying is AOPA’s advocacy efforts.
“When we stand up to federal agencies like Customs and Border Protection, they take action to make sure the rights of law-abiding pilots are respected. When we work closely with regulatory agencies, we prevent government from chipping away at your freedoms with rules and regulations that are impractical, expensive, restrictive, or just plain ineffective. When we work with friends in Congress, we stop user fees, promote legislation that supports general aviation, and get long-overdue action on medical reform.
We know you count on AOPA to represent your aviation interests at every level of government and to provide you with specialized services tailored to how, what, and why you fly,” Baker said.
AOPA offers members with special hotlines, award-winning magazines, outstanding websites, best-in-class safety education, and more.
“All of these efforts rely on member dues to some extent,” Baker said, explaining that, “Your dues cover about 30% of AOPA’s annual operating costs, with revenues from other sources like advertising and sponsorships covering the rest.”
Since Baker became president in 2013, AOPA has cut its operating costs by “eliminating four executive positions, reducing mailings to save postage, and selling the Caravan.” Now, AOPA’s 2014 operating budget “is the lowest it has been since 2006.”
“But even with cuts, the basic cost of doing business has gone up in America. Things like technology to operate the websites and postage to mail the magazines are a lot more expensive these days. At the same time, companies in every industry, including GA, are spending less on advertising, significantly reducing an important source of revenue,” he continued.
“As AOPA’s president, it is my job not only to make sure we are good stewards of your membership dollars, but also to make sure your association is here to serve you and pilots like you for another 75 years. That’s why, after careful consideration, we decided that the time had come to raise dues.”
Baker announced new membership options as well that includes bundling of some of AOPA’s popular services.
Membership options range from a $49 e-Membership to a $179 Premier Plus Membership that includes Pilot Protection Services Plus at a discounted rate. Lifetime membership options also are available. (Learn more about the membership options.)
Those whose membership is scheduled to expire on Aug. 31 or later will receive renewal information with the new dues rates.
“All of us at AOPA share your passion for aviation. We are committed to strengthening GA, growing our community, and protecting our uniquely American freedom to fly. We pledge to be good stewards of your dues dollars, and we appreciate the trust you place in us,” Baker said. “Thank you for your membership and your commitment to a strong future for general aviation.”