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AOPA Action: AOPA’s fight for fair pricing continues

Highlighting egregious FBO prices across the nation

In its ongoing effort to call attention to egregious fees and prices at a small number of FBOs, AOPA voiced support recently for competitive pricing at two Western airports. AOPA sent letters to the Jackson Hole airport board in support of Wyoming Jet Center’s application to establish a second FBO at Jackson Hole Airport and to Orange County, California’s board of supervisors praising actions to “guard against crippling and excessive pricing by a fixed base operator” at John Wayne Airport.

AOPA has received more than 500 complaints concerning locations where FBOs may be imposing unreasonable prices on pilots. Reports to AOPA of high fees at a relatively small number of airports are not new, but the number of reports and the cost of the reported fees has spiked significantly over the past year.

Jackson Hole Airport is in Grand Teton National Park and near Yellowstone National Park, and AOPA has received complaints about the FBO and high fuel prices and fees there.

One Embraer Phenom 100 pilot wrote to AOPA about a $260 handling fee at Jackson Hole “for a quick turn.” Another complaint noted the airport does not have self-service fuel and has “the highest prices within 50 miles.” According to recently published prices, jet fuel at Jackson Hole’s only FBO is $6.66; avgas is $6.69.

AOPA’s letter reminded the board of federal requirements to ensure reasonable pricing and avoid explicitly or implicitly giving a single FBO “exclusive right” to operations at the airport. The airport in the past has supported two FBOs. Jackson Hole Aviation is currently the only FBO on the field. AOPA’s letter said a second FBO would “better ensure more reasonable and competitive pricing and fees for all classes of users.”

Earlier this year, the Orange County board of supervisors voted to remove Signature Flight Support from John Wayne Airport and replace it with ACI Jet because of Signature’s high fuel prices. Signature filed a complaint with the FAA and continues to push back against what it calls its “unfair” treatment in Orange County.

“It is imperative that the governing boards of airports provide rigorous oversight to ensure FBO prices are reasonable, fair, and nondiscriminatory,” said AOPA President Mark Baker.

AOPA is asking members to contact the association if they believe they have seen unreasonable prices at airport FBOs.

Web: www.aopa.org/pilot/excessivefees

BAKER ON THE NEWS
“Pilots are not looking for a free ride. We’re willing to pay our own way, but any fees need to be reasonable and in sync with the services delivered. This is an area where we are not going to give up.”  —AOPA President Mark Baker
AOPA helps ensure BasicMed info is transmitted correctly

FAR Part 68 or BasicMed—the FAA-approved third class medical reform passed by Congress in July 2016—is in effect as of May 1, 2017. As pilots visit their doctors to complete the Comprehensive Medical Examination Checklist followed by completing the AOPA Medical Self-Assessment online course, AOPA offers a few tips to make sure everything is in order when submitting information to the FAA through the online course. BasicMed rules require the user to provide some basic information about the pilot and the physician who conducted the exam such as name, address, and telephone number; the date of the exam; and a few certifications as to the pilot’s fitness to fly.

Note that the date of visit to a state-licensed physician to fill out the BasicMed checklist cannot have occurred before April 24. The FAA will not accept any exams before that date because the required Comprehensive Medical Examination Checklist that the physician needs to sign was not released until that day.

Pilots cannot use the last date of their first, second, or third class medical, even if it is still valid. Pilots who want to fly under BasicMed must complete the Comprehensive Medical Examination Checklist and online aeromedical course regardless of whether their medical certificate is expired. Also, pilots can’t use the date of just any doctor visit. The physician must follow and fill out the Comprehensive Medical Examination Checklist, available in AOPA’s Fit to Fly resources online.

Pilots who are eligible for BasicMed must have held a valid medical certificate, special issuance or regular, on or after July 15, 2006. The most recent medical certificate or application for a medical certificate could not have been revoked, suspended, or withdrawn. In addition, pilots must have a valid U.S. driver’s license and comply with all its restrictions. Pilots who developed certain cardiac, neurological, or mental health conditions after their last valid medical will need to get a special issuance medical one more time.

Web: www.aopa.org/fittofly

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