The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) has asked the Department of Transportation (DOT) to expand a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on transparency in aviation to include FBOs’ fees and pricing. While its “Know Before You Go” program has yielded “considerable progress” and industry acceptance, AOPA said, it continues to receive complaints from pilots about lack of clarity on fees and pricing at some airports.
Citing the NPRM as a welcome government effort to increase accountability among airlines for pricing and policies, AOPA commented, “We applaud the efforts of the Biden Administration to enhance transparency in the aviation industry and we strongly request that the proposed rule be expanded to include transparency of all general aviation parking fees and location of parking aprons at airports. Pilots of the 211,000 general aviation aircraft in the United States have a right to know the true price of the parking fees they will be charged at chain FBOs when they arrive. They also have a right to know what aircraft parking options exist at these airports.”
AOPA praised the two largest FBO chains, Atlantic Aviation and Signature Aviation, for being “fully compliant with making their fees and prices for all aircraft types accessible and online for pilots.” AOPA President Mark Baker said, ”We are appreciative of those in the FBO industry that have voluntarily complied with making their fees and prices transparent for pilots, but unfortunately, several chain FBOs continue not to do so. Hopefully, this proposed rulemaking can help address this important issue.”
From where do these “rights” originate?
I think he’s talking about a moral right, not a legal one. But it should be both.
It’s crazy that there are airports where you can’t learn what the fees are unless you fly there and land, at which point you only learn the fees because you are forced to pay them – whatever they might be. More transparency is the right thing.
Where the FAA has funded the airport with our tax dollars – I think we have a right to know how much we are going to be charged on top of our taxes to use something we already paid for…..
Exactly. The scams are almost uniformly a collusion with local government. Either it’s a crony situation, or the locals wanted federal funding, but not the public traffic that comes with it.
I beg to differ with Signature……they do list their FBO fees but you have read the fine print further down that states “plus other airport fees”. I paid $87.78 last week landing at DTW. I expected to pay $57 but didn’t catch the fine print.
Infrastructure Fee- $7.49
Landing Fee- $30.00
Thought it was ridiculous for a single engine 4-seater and I only stopped for 20 min.
I called Airport Operations and asked if there was a separate General Aviation ramp for reduced cost since I did not require any services. I was told Signature was the only option.
Your experience is a perfect illustration on why the status quo should be changed and all FBO’s should be forced to be fully transparent regarding their fees.
Your tax dollars (and mine) paid for some of the airport infrastructure on which the FBO is piggybacking their business – pilots should not be victimized in this way any more than a motorist traveling on the Interstate highway system would be denied the right to know in advance the cost of a product or service offered by a commercial business at, say, a travel plaza or rest area. Good on AOPA for moving the needle in the right direction.
Signature’s mode of operation is to come to airport boards willing to take on all of the “headaches” of running the airport. Boards typically consist of appointed civilians with no skin in the game and a limited understanding of aviation. Board says “okay” to relieve themselves of the work and potential liability, giving Signature monopoly control. Guess what happens to prices for us, particularly little plane operators?
Jeffry S., Your analysis sounds about right. However if all of us little plane operators make enough of a rukus (using AOPA and other representative groups along with our elected officials) and hold both the FBO’s and the FAA’s feet to the fire, we just might get a fairer shake. There is some progress is getting made.