AOPA is urging the town of Islip, N.Y., to reconsider a recently enacted fee schedule that sets higher rates for night landings and, for the first time, subjects aircraft based at Islip’s Long Island MacArthur Airport to the charges.
Rates that increase the cost of night landings may create an economic disincentive to use the airport—a restriction that might violate contractual terms under which the airport received federal airport grant funding, AOPA said in a letter to local officials.
Under the fee schedule, which took effect Sept. 1, Islip-based aircraft weighing up to 12,500 pounds maximum takeoff weight are billed $2 per 1,000 pounds for landings between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. The charge increases to $3 per 1,000 pounds between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. The fee schedule also contains rates for aircraft weighing up to 70,000 pounds, and for aircraft weighing more than 70,000 pounds, that increase for landings between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Airport tenants were notified of the new fees in an August letter from Robert J. Schaefer, commissioner of aviation and transportation or the town of Islip.
Most airports that collect landing fees exempt locally based aircraft because they "already pay a series of fees" and taxes that support the facility, wrote Bill Dunn, AOPA vice president of airport advocacy, in a Sept. 15 letter to Schaefer. Dunn urged that the fee exemption for locally based aircraft be continued.
Dunn also asked that the town provide AOPA with additional information about the decision to impose a decibel-based night landing restriction—including whether Islip conducted an FAA-approved noise study, whether the FAA approved nighttime restrictions on flights using the airport, and whether the restriction was voluntary or mandatory.
"Such a restriction may be viewed by the FAA as a violation of Federal Grant Assurances," he wrote on behalf of AOPA and its approximately 12,000 members in New York state.