AOPA Members "Understanding" Of Fee Hike

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AOPA says a 14-percent increase in its membership fee has been greeted with "understanding" by most of those who have contacted the organization. As of September, the annual fee went from $39 to $45. "This is our first dues increase in about 20 years," AOPA spokesman Chris Dancy told AVweb. " While no one likes to pay more, most of the members who have contacted us have been understanding. Many have made comments to the effect that they couldn't believe we didn't do this sooner." Former AOPA President Phil Boyer was proud of the fact that membership fees had been frozen at $39 during his tenure and often mentioned it during speeches at AOPA events. Membership fees in the U.S. are among the lowest of all AOPA groups. In Canada, membership in the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) is $55 plus tax while in the U.K. it's about $175 at current exchange rates. Current AOPA President Craig Fuller said the increase (which will generate about $2.5 million a year) is necessary to fund the continued expansion of advocacy and membership services.

Fuller announced the hike in his column in the September edition of AOPA Pilot. In it he said that even though the dues have held steady for 20 years, AOPA has added myriad services and features in that time, including its substantial online presence, most of it funded by advertising in its publications as well as revenue from insurance, credit card, medical and legal programs. It's continuing to look for new ways to make money in so-called "lifestyle" programs such as the recently introduced AOPA Wine Club, in which 10 percent of the sale price of wine ordered through the club will go to AOPA.