Airport, Airlines At Odds Over Operating Fees

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General-aviation advocates are not the only ones crying foul when it comes to the airlines' ideas about who should pay for what. While AOPA, NBAA and others last week protested the airlines' claim that GA needs to shoulder a bigger share of the expense for the National Airspace System, this week a California airport agency said the airlines are not paying enough for terminal space. Seven airlines that occupy terminals at Los Angeles International Airport have refused to pay their fair share of the operating costs, according to Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), the city agency that operates LAX. "As a result, much-needed airport improvements have not been made," the agency said in a news release on Tuesday. Further, the airlines want to "continue to force LAWA to subsidize their operations at LAX in order to boost their bottom lines," the agency said. "Over the course of more than 100 meetings between airport and airline representatives, the airlines have acknowledged their need to pay their respective shares of [increased operating] costs, but have yet to do so," LAWA said. The seven airlines filed a complaint on Tuesday with the Department of Transportation, saying the "massive" fee hike imposed by LAWA on Feb. 1 forces the airlines to pay as much as 12 times more per square foot than their competitors at other terminals.