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AOPA says vote may put Heber Valley Airport in violation of FAA grant assurancesAOPA says vote may put Heber Valley Airport in violation of FAA grant assurances 

In Utah’s Wasatch Mountains sits Heber Valley Airport, offering pilots access to ski resorts, the Sundance Film Festival, and four seasons of outdoor sports. The airport’s lone fixed-base operation, OK3 Air, is also the most complained-about location in AOPA’s inquiry into egregious prices, and despite recent progress, the city may be on the verge of a major step backward.

OK3 Air at Heber Valley Airport in Heber City, Utah, is one of the most complained-about fixed-base operators for high fuel prices. Image courtesy of Warren Morningstar.

A proposed April 2 vote by the Heber City Council intends to undo changes to the airport minimum standards, which promoted competition including installing a self-service fuel pump and a second FBO at the airport, formerly known as Heber City Municipal Airport. Additionally, Heber City officials would spend two years doing a master plan study.

In October 2017, AOPA sent letters to Heber City officials recommending changes, and it began looking like things were turning around when the Heber City Council voted to revise the airport’s minimum standards with AOPA’s support.

Heber City even issued a Request for Proposals for a second FBO in October of 2018.

In response to the upcoming vote, AOPA General Counsel Ken Mead sent an April 1 letter asking the city not to halt progress while it does a study. Mead wrote, “AOPA strongly opposes these aspects of the Resolutions in that they are anticompetitive, grant exclusive rights to the incumbent FBO in violation of the grant assurances Heber City made to secure Federal money, and otherwise unjustly discriminate against potential vendors, airport users, and our membership.”

The letter also referenced an ongoing lawsuit between OK3 Air and Heber City. “We know that OK3, the incumbent and monopoly position FBO, has sued the City in an effort to retain its position and protect its own commercial interests. Notwithstanding this, the City Council’s responsibility is to represent the public interest and run this public-use airport in a manner that complies with grant assurances and promotes a competitive environment that will better ensure reasonable and fair pricing for users.”

According to AOPA’s Airport Directory, as of March 28 there was no self-service avgas or Jet A at Heber City, full-service avgas was $6.19 per gallon, and full-service Jet A was $6.81 per gallon. AOPA has compared Heber City’s fuel pricing to other nearby airports and found rates at Heber City to be significantly higher.

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: Airport Advocacy, Airport, Advocacy

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