The largest FBO chain in the world has complied with AOPA's longstanding request to publish fees now visible in the AOPA Airport Directory.
AOPA continues to make pricing transparency a priority after hearing from thousands of pilots who were surprised by egregious fees, including ramp fees, drop-off fees, tiedown fees, and other surcharges—after they had parked their airplanes.
Signature Flight Support owns FBO locations serving more than 200 airports—a network that recently grew with Signature's acquisition of TAC Air facilities, the latest expansion of the worldwide chain since investors purchased Signature for $4.6 billion in 2021. The company worked in recent weeks with AOPA information technology and airport advocacy staff to integrate Signature’s data into the Airport Directory that is a go-to resource for all pilots.
Signature's complete fee information was pushed “live” on July 21, after company executives gave the final signoff. That task, which took just minutes to complete, was the culmination of nearly five years of focused effort directed at persuading all FBOs to follow the lead of the many independent and municipal FBO operators and a few chains, such as Atlantic Aviation, that began publishing fee information in September. Several large chains that still do not make all their ramp fees available online include Million Air, Sheltair Aviation, and Jet Aviation, while Centric Aviation, Meridian Air, Wilson Air Center, and Cutter Aviation have made all fees completely transparent. AOPA’s Know Before You Go campaign has earned the support of more than 330 associations, type clubs, and pilot organizations.
Signature posted some of the fees it charges online in 2018, though only those charged to piston airplane operators were made available. The published information excluded some locations, as well as fees charged for larger aircraft.
While the original goal was to be more prompt, AOPA President Mark Baker nonetheless welcomed Signature’s ultimate decision.
“We’re pleased that Signature has agreed to post its prices in AOPA’s online directory, which allows pilots to make informed decisions in their preflight planning,” said Baker. “This announcement addresses the growing demand among our members for more airport and FBO transparency. I appreciate Signature’s management team for moving this forward. It’s taken some time, but I am hopeful transparency will lead to more pricing competition resulting in lower prices for pilots; we shall see. We are all in this together and all sectors of aviation need to come together to ensure fairness and success so more and more can participate in this amazing experience of general aviation.”
AOPA estimated that about 25 percent of the FBO industry had instituted voluntary fee transparency by the end of 2021. Signature’s data will significantly increase that percentage.