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Coalition calls for fee transparency

Groups release best practices for communicating FBO fees, prices

AOPA joined five other major aviation associations to jointly release the “Know Before You Go” best business practices, a set of recommended communications practices to enhance fixed-base operation transparency including publishing an online list of prices, fees, and charges that pilots may face when landing at an airport.

AOPA file photo.

The joint release calls on fixed-base operators (FBOs) to “move expeditiously to implement these practices,” and recognizes that certain providers face unique implementation challenges and may need time to communicate their prices and fees online.

The move aligns with FAA-issued guidance in December 2017 recommending FBOs make fees public. In the document, the FAA wrote, “In order to confirm whether airport fees are reasonable and not unjust discriminatory, the fees, rates, and charges should be disclosed and made publicly available.”

According to the joint release, “With this declaration, we remain committed to promoting the widespread adoption of these best practices, which will strengthen the flight experience and general aviation overall.”

For almost two years, AOPA has been investigating and working with local leaders to understand and fight the effect of egregious and often opaque FBO fees on airport accessibility.

“This is about the fundamental rights of pilots—whether they fly piston or turbine airplanes—to know what the fees and charges are before they get to the airport,” said AOPA President Mark Baker. “AOPA’s efforts toward fairness and transparency will lead to informed decisions for pilots, drive competition, and increase flying—a win-win for general aviation.

“This is a major step in our work to ensure reasonable airport accessibility, and we hope that today’s announcement sends a unified message that FBOs need to be able to accurately tell all aviators what costs to expect before arriving at publicly funded airports.”

Baker continued, “We believe that the united support of these principles both validates that there is an issue with pricing transparency and provides a reasonable path to meet customer expectations.”

AOPA staff will work directly with FBOs that request assistance in developing technology solutions for posting fees, and AOPA is offering to communicate the fees through the association’s online Airport Directory.

The joint release was issued by AOPA, the Experimental Aircraft Association, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Helicopter Association International, the National Air Transportation Association—which represents the FBO industry—and the National Business Aviation Association.

AOPA General Counsel Ken Mead said, “We are starting to see significant progress on fee transparency and the charting of public parking areas on airports, and we applaud these associations and FBOs for joining our coalition.”

On Oct. 11, five aviation groups including AOPA sent a joint letter to FAA Acting Administrator Daniel Elwell asking the agency to ensure transient ramp parking areas are clearly, accurately, and consistently labeled on airport diagrams.

Joe Kildea

Joe Kildea

AOPA Senior Director of Communications
Joe is a student pilot and his first solo flight was at AOPA’s home airport in Frederick, Maryland. Before joining AOPA in 2015, he worked for numerous political campaigns, news organizations, and the White House Press Office.
Topics: Advocacy, Airport Advocacy, Aviation Industry

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