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AOPA mobilizes members, pilot organizations to fight egregious FBO fees

Super Bowl ‘special event fees’ highlight ongoing problem

AOPA sent a call to action to its 300,000 members on February 7, urging them to support an amendment that would ensure pilots have access to fair, reasonable, and transparent fees at public-use airports.

Photo by Mike Fizer.

The amendment, offered by Sen. Ted Budd (R-N.C.), has garnered the support of 600 active pilot organizations across the country as it seeks to address a growing problem with large chain FBOs that are imposing egregious parking and other fees on private pilots.

AOPA has heard from thousands of pilots who are fed up with absurd fees that range from hundreds to thousands of dollars for services that they often don’t ask for or need. It’s not uncommon to hear about pilots paying hundreds of dollars for an hour of parking or just to pick up or drop off a passenger. One flight instructor who contacted AOPA even described a situation where they were charged an $80 parking fee for a 10-minute restroom break.

Recent high-profile events like the Formula 1 race in November, and the February 11 Super Bowl, both held in Las Vegas, have only highlighted the egregious fee problem at our nation’s airports. In addition to parking fees, private and government-owned airports in the Las Vegas area are charging “special event fees” that range from $3,000 to $15,000 depending on the type of aircraft.

AOPA is pushing back on these imposed fees and is attempting to combat airport and FBO interests in Washington, D.C., which have lobbied heavily against the Budd amendment and spread misinformation about its purpose.

“Today, the FAA is required to ensure airport fees are fair and reasonable and clearly that is not happening at many airports,” said AOPA President Mark Baker. “We support FBOs and airports, but we need some guardrails around these fees or at a minimum to have the FAA enforce current rules and regulations or change current rules and regulations.”

The Budd amendment is being considered as part of the 2024 FAA reauthorization bill, which the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation is expected to take up on February 8.

Pilots who wish to see fair, reasonable, and transparent fees enforced at airports across the country should contact their senators and ask for their support on Budd’s amendment.

Lillian Geil

Communications Specialist
Communications Specialist Lillian Geil is a student pilot and a graduate of Columbia University who joined AOPA in 2021.
Topics: Advocacy, Airport Advocacy, Capitol Hill

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