$1,000 Landing Fee Proposed For Massachusetts Private Aircraft


The Massachusetts senator representing Cape Cod will undoubtedly hear from his well-heeled constituents over his proposed bill to charge a $1,000 fee for every landing of private, corporate and charter aircraft in the state. Julian Cyr, one of 37 (of 40) Democrats in the state Senate, has filed a petition to have the body adopt “an Act to mitigate the climate impact of private and corporate air travel.” And although the bill might get an especially prickly reception in the toney seaside Shangri La that he represents, it would similarly apply to virtually every aircraft that doesn’t fly for hire that uses a publicly operated runway anywhere in the state. It actually specifically exempts “public aircraft, scheduled commercial passenger air transportation, freight or cargo aircraft.”

If adopted (the State House is also overwhelmingly Democrat) the new law would order every “airport commission governing a municipal or county owned airport or the board of directors of the Massachusetts port authority shall assess a climate impact landing fee of not less than one thousand dollars on personal aircraft, corporate owned aircraft and charter rental aircraft each time that any such an aircraft is to land at an airport in the commonwealth.” The airports and the state would split the money. The petition was filed in February but came to light last week.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. A $1000 landing fee on a publicly funded airport should run afoul of at least a few federal mandates pertaining to access to the aerospace environment. Of course sensible people will just avoid the state entirely.

    • So “public” aircraft (used by state officials) are exempt? In less enlightened times this would simply be called tyranny.

      • Public use is also law enforcement and emergency services. Charging $1000 to maintain proficiency in any piston powered aircraft kills any probability for training the pilot pipeline in Massachusetts and any state that follows this example. Hopefully Federal airport improvement funds being lost would redirect this States thinking as those funds are significant. I wonder if the numbers show the Common Wealth of Massachusettes has that many high income aviation sorties to attempt to attempt to justify this tax or if the state is blindly and predatorily looking for income?

    • Federal airport improvement funds could be lost if the senator proceeds with this idea. Fair and equal access is one of the prerequisites of federal airport funding. I would imagine the higher powered aircraft owners in the state would come down on the jackass pretty hard but the state is full of Democrats and they do like to tax everything.

      • There’s a certain part of the jet crowd that will support this. Government is not the only institution whose leaders fly on other people’s money. Corporate leaders now have so much pricing power that they can simply pass on any taxes and fees to people like you and me.

        • Oh, please, Corporation Hater. The smallest business does this. The government does this. YOU probably do this.

          • Yeah you do to stay in business, but we are not making MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year as the corporate big wigs are.
            And yes, this will be passed on to the customers that buy their products.
            But, don’t forget, that the Supreme Court (more ignorance from the federal government) says that corporations are PEOPLE also.

  2. This has got to be the most short sighted and stupid thing I have ever heard. There has to be federal guidance on this. People would stop flying privately there and lots of tax revenue would be lost. I’d personally never fly my plane there, oh wait I’ll do freight in my 150 right into Logan. This guy has lost his mind.

  3. Concepts like this have a tendency to spread. This wouldn’t even be a discussion if there weren’t serious lawmakers pushing a green new deal proposal that is even more outlandish. But this law would guarantee no new pilots being certificated within that state. No new airline pilots… The end of ga businesses | Any maintenance shops, flight schools, FBO operations would cease to exist.

    This would make it prohibitive even if they were to make it a $50 or $100 fee.

    I am fearful of our future in general aviation and this ‘debate’ will be far from over even if defeated. As a resident of California, I already can’t land at San Francisco International as their fees exceed $500 per landing. This is a concept already being tested.

    • Actually… the maximum ‘fee’ for travel between the states is $5… and that is for everything. This is a limit on the government. Oddly once he points this out, the airports that charge huge landing fees will be impacted if the governments only have private parking located at these airports.
      Taxachussas could charge for travel within the state… not for state to state.
      I sued Florida over this in the 90s

  4. Another misguided person in public office…what is wrong with these people? The real danger is that some of these foolish bills get passed, and more of these types get elected or appointed to public office…

  5. Besides the negative impact on GA training and maintenance, how does an “ Act to mitigate the climate impact” apply to my two Rotax powered aircraft that use Premium unleaded? Guess they plan to charge $1000 nightly to park unleaded fueled cars due to their “climate impact?”

    • Emissions from an engine burning unleaded autogas and that same engine burning 100LL are virtually identical, at least as far as greenhouse gas emissions go. (Lead is not a greenhouse gas.)

      However, you do raise a good point. The total emissions from auto use in MA dwarf that of General Aviation. Is he proposing a similar fee for auto use, recreational boating, etc.?

  6. “The airports and the state would split the money.”
    How much is an even split of zero?
    This insane proposal doesn’t surprise me one bit. It’s just the way that things are, here in the Peoples Republik of Maskachusetts.

  7. Only a politician could think of something this stupid. Way to go Massachusetts, you’ve got a real bright one on your hands.
    Did you seriously elect this Rocket scientist? 😎

  8. Massachusetts is not that big. If I ran a construction business in a neighboring state I would be lobbying for passage of this bill because I would soon be building a bunch of new hangars. And hoping the bill doesn’t get amended to include a “last takeoff from Mass. fee”.

    • Easy. Fly to a neighboring state, rent a car and drive to see her. Probably still less than a thousand bucks. Plus, if you go in the fall you get to see the nice fall foliage. 😉

  9. So, they plan to charge a landing fee for everyone BUT the ones who are making the biggest climate impact on the state (i.e. the regularly scheduled airline flights, and presumably military flights])? Clearly this isn’t actually a climate bill, but rather one jealous lawmaker who wants to punish others for his own failed life choices.

  10. I just saw a great film on Netflix, “Miss Sloan”, starring Jessica Chastain. All about lobbying and dirty politics. This idea smacks of something on that order. Follow the money, folks. This is not about ending aviation, rather I’d guess it’s more about someone courting the airlines and large freighters. What is odd, however, is that this runs 180 degrees opposite to the latest idea from the FAA to expand the use of small local airports and increase the use of small feeder airplane/airlines to the larger hubs, as was the original idea in the 1960’s. This is not a Democrat or Republican issue, it’s more likely to be someone doing something with some sort of power/money prize that is hidden from public view.

  11. And THIS is why property values on Lake Winnipesaukee and all of southern New Hampshire are going thru the roof. Wait! They’re doing that down here in Florida, too. People speak with their feet; this’ll do nothing but increase that movement to places friendlier to the “Natives.”

    SO far, I see no one has asked the obvious question … “Does this likewise apply to eAirplanes?” IF it does, it’s bravo sierra and hypocrisy at its finest.

  12. I contacted Paul Bertorelli about this bill late last week. I sent him a copy of the bill and asked him if he could look into it and verify it. It just seemed too outlandish to be true.
    I wanted to bring attention to it nationally to all pilots so they could see how vulnerable as a group we are. Lawmakers would love to make it seem like they are doing something for climate change and even if this got whittled down to $10- a fee that they would easily think is reasonable- it would have a huge negative impact on general aviation.

    • I believe the maximum ‘reasonable’ fee permitted for travel between the states is $5… and that is for everything. I remember suing Florida when they attempted a crazy impact fee for all my cars.
      I think lawyers make the crazy laws so that their buddies can sue and get the lawyer ‘fees’ when they win the case against the unconstitutional law.
      Abuse of office is what this is.

      • Problem is that so many parts of the Constitution have been either ignored or just blatantly disregarded since COVID started that a little known item such as the maximum allowable fee for interstate travel won’t mean a thing to those politicians who want this aviation fee.

        • Constitutional rights are only as good as your financial ability to protect them. I sued Florida and won when they tried to do this to cars entering their state.
          I got back my money after a few years… but the real winner in these actions is the lawyers that do the class action case.
          I think they have a deal with the crooked politicians to creat kooky laws they know are unconstitutional, just to make money on the back side through their lawyer buddies. America is as corrupt as any other banana republic. Just not many countries around big enough to slap it down when it misbehaves.

  13. Sounds like a scheme to keep the riff raft out of Martha’s Vineyard. After all, some famous people have homes on Marth’s Vineyard including former President Obama. This is what tyranny looks like.

    • Another sheep following the violence mantra from the last four years. Real tough guy, no doubt.
      My hands are raised here, big boy. Give it a go.

      • Me too – hands up. I live in MA, and instead of having a stroke here on AvWeb I’ve written to my state senator.

        And for all the people saying this is why everyone hates MA, here’s some news: you can’t buy a damn home here anymore because the prices are through the roof. *Someone* must like it here…

  14. If you want less of something, tax it, (more). Not surprising at all from the idiots that run Taxachussetts…

  15. Not sure if it is constitutional to charge people coming from outside the state to land within the state. Oddly his bill is exactly opposite of what is permitted. Free public travel between the states can not be hindered by unreasonable fees, it was determined to be $5 from what I remember, but commercial can be ‘taxed’.
    I guess he could ‘tax’ internal non state to state travel. So if you wanted to travel from Boston to Cape Cod they could charge $1000 for the private travel. But from New York to Cape Cod… Nope.

  16. Got co-sponsors? If you look through the legislative proposals in any session in any state you’ll see a lot of crackpot proposals like this one. They go nowhere. They do allow the crackpot though to say at the Green Nantucket meeting “I proposed a $1,000 landing fee on the aircraft of the 1%”. “Next on the agenda is our anti offshore wind campaign.” Of course Spielberg might come up at the coffee break to say “f*** with my ‘G’ and I’ll bury you”. Alas, Steve doesn’t vote in Mass, but I’ll bet he gives money there.

    Every FBO owner in the state would call their rep and inform them that they’ll be laying off all their employees and filing for bankruptcy the day this passes. Every CEO with a corporate jet would call their rep and say “vote for this and you won’t get another dime”. I’d be surprised if it even got a vote in committee.

    • You likely called this one correctly. The bill is so poorly crafted it’s criminal. Funny the things you need training and licensing for while these boobs are running a state without an ounce of competence.

      As crafted, there would be few personal aircraft in the state as all owners would simply claim the planes are not for travel. They could prove this by showing their logs where they mostly land where they take off. I suppose they could fix this definition, but then of course they run into the issue where there are many cases where an aircraft can make a much more efficient trip than a car.

      The bill would simply get run over in court as it’s crafted, and trying to actually do what he’s ostensibly trying to do is impossible.

      • It doesn’t matter as written. If the landing aircraft is personally or corporately owned, and is not a scheduled carrier, it pays.

        But I think this is legislation performance art.

  17. Why is it that the lame brain ideas out of government to “protect the climate” mainly consist of us giving them lots of money?

  18. Thoughts

    1. $1000 is lunch money for the really wealthy. It is actually a significant cost for the 1% (who are not that wealthy).

    2. $1000 is just a starting point for negotiations. Actual landing fee will be settled by an amount that brings in revenue but doesn’t kill the goose.

    3. More significant I believe will be the “canary in the coal mine” effect on GA across the nation. This mindset will have a stifling effect on anyone considering non commercial flight training, purchasing a new/replacement aircraft or investing in a major panel, engine or interior upgrade. Personally I was considering a full panel upgrade and will reach TBO in 200hrs. With this agenda showing itself, and it will not be just Mass.) I will not be spending 5 figures on upgrades.

    4. This is not a revenue yielding tax. It is a punitive measure designed to end most private aviation.

  19. Obviously, this is, yet again, another attempt from the Democratic Party to control all aspects of daily life within the United States.
    It doesn’t take long to realize that those who framed this proposed legislation are completely clueless on how the aviation community operates and functions.

    Let’s say this legislation did pass, the effects would be a massive push to construct private airports all over the state with folks totally vacating the 1,000 dollar landing strips.

    The very idea of this ‘green energy” movement is so ridiculous and just further reinforces my firm belief that there is a large portion of our nation that live in total fantasy.

    Makes me sick to my stomach as just the thought of this proposed legislation.

    Fly Safe and Stand Tall in the face of Oppression!

  20. Isn’t this the same state who unloaded a ship full of tea into the harbor for unfair taxation?

    I don’t suppose government schools teach about the Boston Tea party anymore. Now it’s an act of domestic terrorism I’m sure. I’d also wager it was white Christian men who threw the tea into the harbor so it must have been terrorism.

    My only consolation/surprise is that Washington Oregon or California didn’t think of this first.

    Here’s the other problem.

    As these eco-nuts proliferate and the new green deal gains momentum amongst the drain bamaged (sic) thoughts like this will proliferate and gain traction.

  21. So, should every private boat that motors out to Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard ALSO be charged a $1000 docking fee? Show me how boating is any less detrimental to the environment than airplanes? Let’s not forget their waste goes into the ocean, perhaps even worse than the air. And there are probably 10x or 100x the number of boats. This makes no logical sense — only political sense. Very sad.

  22. Democrat government be like .. Make up a crisis, exploit the crisis, profit. Don’t believe climate crisis. Slow change maybe. Stop it? not a chance. You think China gonna listen to stone face climate czar John Kerry? Flies a private jet everywhere by the way. California burns every year, just like it should. Stop hugging trees and manage your forests. California is the biggest polluter, ain’t that ironic. Why don’t you tax them and see where it gets you. Oh you already do? Well nevermind. Crisis at the border, that might be real. I know, I know, what border? – but who cares, not democrats, it’s how they profit. Follow the money.. find the truth.

    • They don’t hug trees anymore, those are burned as renewable fuel…. I wish I was kidding.
      These people are dumber than a dirt clod.
      Homes can’t be built anymore because Democrats burned trees to keep the lights on. God they are dumb and the people that voted for them are even dumber. We are doomed.

  23. I am amazed at the number of responses which are, basically, political rants. And, actually, appear just to be emotionally based “knee jerk” reactions. Jeez! Calm down and get into tactical and strategic mode, rather than ranting. I hope that this isn’t the way you make aeronautical decisions!

    • Well said. Some people commenting here lately (in the past 4 or so years) seem to turn everything into a political rant. Seriously, I can go to facebook for that, if that’s what I wanted.

      You *know* this is exactly the thing AOPA/EAA/NBAA and others will jump on, and I highly doubt it will go very far. Just a few years ago, a new company bought all of the airport management in the state of RI and attempted to impose (if I recall) a $100 landing fee at Block Island (among other RI state airports). That was fought back so hard, the company had to reverse course before the fee was even implemented.

      Sometimes I think proposed policies like these are introduced just to see how much the affected people will push back, or if they’re even still paying attention.

      • Perhaps that’s because EVERYTHING has become political, in this “woke” world – from immigration to hamburgers.
        Danger, Will Robinson.

        • Only when people MAKE it political. I wasn’t the one to mention “wokeness” or immigration or hamburgers when the topic is… airport fees.

          It doesn’t matter if it was a D or R who proposed this fee, because the important part is what we as a community do to fight these fees. And let’s not forget, it was under the Rs that the FAA lost its funding authorization, so there are plenty on both sides who aren’t doing anything to help GA, or are actively hurting it.

          Danger indeed if we’re too busy arguing about politics to do anything useful about the actual issues.

          • “The topic” is NUTTY airport fees – and the nuts who propose them.
            Arguably, there are three one-party states left on the planet: North Korea, Cuba, and Massachusetts. Sometimes, I can’t immediately tell which one I live in.
            The senator’s proposal is 100% virtue-signaling. That’s politics, these days.

          • The guy is clearly an airplane hating nutcase – the proposal makes no rational sense other than a way to drive GA out of the state. Or he’s humoring a group of airplane hating nutcases in his district. Best way to deal with him is to contribute to whoever runs against him in the next election. Meanwhile, it’s going nowhere – a bunch of people who care are already on it.

            BTW, the “Taxachusetts” label is so 1970s. See https://wallethub.com/edu/states-with-highest-lowest-tax-burden/20494 to find Mass. near the middle of the pack, right in between bastions of conservatism like Arkansas and Kentucky.