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AOPA asks another federal agency to act on FBO fee transparency

In an ongoing effort to improve price transparency at fixed-base operators, AOPA submitted comments to the Federal Trade Commission supporting a proposal now before the commission to curb deceptive practices and enhance price transparency at all chain FBOs serving general aviation.

Photo by Mike Fizer.

In the comments of the advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) AOPA wrote, "Pilots and users of the estimated 204,000 GA aircraft actively operating in the United States have a right to know the true price and terms associated with all chain FBO services in advance of arriving at an airport or engaging for the provision of such services." This is particularly the case when an airport is serviced by a single chain-owned FBO, or when a chain FBO is the exclusive provider of a necessary aeronautical service. A chain FBO is defined as one that has three or more locations.

AOPA's efforts to encourage FBOs to publicly list all of their fees, such as parking tiedown fees, security fees, maintenance fees, and others, began in 2018 with the Know Before You Go campaign. This campaign was met with industrywide support, with hundreds of organizations wanting FBO pricing and fee transparency, so pilots have the information they need to make informed preflight planning decisions.

While the vast majority of FBOs in the United States now openly disclose pricing as a result of the AOPA-led campaign, action is still required to ensure all chain FBOs practice pricing and fee transparency. The FTC has the authority to review these fees under Section 5(a)(1) of the Federal Trade Commission Act, which prohibits "unfair or deceptive acts or practices."

Earlier this month, AOPA also called on the Department of Transportation to expand the scope of a proposed rule on airline pricing to include FBO fee and pricing transparency.

The FTC follows the same rulemaking process as the FAA and other federal agencies, so the advance notice may be followed by a formal rulemaking proposal.

Lillian Geil

Digital Media Assistant Editor
Digital Media Assistant Editor Lillian Geil is a student pilot and a graduate of Columbia University who joined AOPA in 2021.
Topics: Advocacy, FBO Fees

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