AOPA FILES OFFICIAL COMPLAINTS OVER FBO FEES

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AOPA FILES OFFICIAL COMPLAINTS OVER FBO FEES

Posted by Daria Knupp on Aug 29, 2017 10:59 am

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With the filing of official complaints to the FAA, AOPA rolled out the next phase of its ongoing effort to tackle egregious fees charged by certain fixed-base operations around the country. The move comes after months of effort identifying the worst offenders and attempting to work with local airport sponsors receptive to ensuring their communities offer pilots reasonable access to their airfields, often described as the local on and off ramps to the National Airspace System. Read more here.

Have you experienced any egregious FBO pricing practices? 
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Re: AOPA FILES OFFICIAL COMPLAINTS OVER FBO FEES

Posted by Richard Abramowitz on Aug 30, 2017 1:00 pm

Hi Daria. I recently landed at KBDL Bradley Windsor Locks. I refueled at TAC Air. They were very nice and the service was grea but the fuel cost was $7.40 /gallon. Was really egregiously high. Their competitor on the field was just as high. 
     Great service but fuel gouging. 

Regard

Rich Abramowitz. N58488

Re: AOPA FILES OFFICIAL COMPLAINTS OVER FBO FEES

Posted by Daria Knupp on Aug 30, 2017 1:38 pm

Hi Rich, I am glad the service was very nice but sad to hear about the fuel cost. I appreciate you being transparent in regards to the pricing. When we hear these type of experiences, it just reiterates to us the importance of fighting the egregious pricing. Thank you again Rich.


 

Re: AOPA FILES OFFICIAL COMPLAINTS OVER FBO FEES

Posted by Michael Altman on Sep 1, 2017 1:15 pm

I'd like to see a followup article on exactly where public spending and private spending are done on public airports.    In otherwords.  what are tax dollars paying for and what is the responsibility of the private sector?   Seem that the system is a bit flawed where if you want or need to land, you are forced to pay at any airport.  If there is a FBO it's up to them to decide what the fee is whether services are used.   I would liken this to there is a free highway across the country, you just have to pay to enter and exit.   

Re: AOPA FILES OFFICIAL COMPLAINTS OVER FBO FEES

Posted by Richard Abramowitz on Sep 1, 2017 6:57 pm

Charging a reasonable price to make a reasonable profit is the key to good business. Charging "what the market will bear" is a form of usury and is just plan price gouging. Witness the increase in fuel prices with hurricane Harvey. Try explaining that to the public.  Just wrong!!!!

Re: AOPA FILES OFFICIAL COMPLAINTS OVER FBO FEES

Posted by Christopher Smith MD on Sep 3, 2017 9:30 pm

KOPF - highest fuel prices I have seen in the Southeast. Fontainebleau even charges for a ramp fee on top of the 2X gouge. 

Re: AOPA FILES OFFICIAL COMPLAINTS OVER FBO FEES

Posted by Michael Hounslow on Sep 4, 2017 10:20 am

Since we are a group...how about instead of complaints...we propose a solution.  The FAA's side job is to allow citizens access to their airplanes and the airspace system.  Why can't we petition for a "walk around" of any FBO?  Most ramps are not owned by the FBO, they are owned by the airport.  Let's use BWI Signature (the old Butler Aviation for old folks) as an example.  Before 911, there was a pass code gate to get to the ramp.  Didn't have to go through Signature, didn't have to pay $365.  Just walk through gate with pass code, invariably a BWI security cop was by in minutes to check you were wearing your SIDA badge and you preflighted and left.  Tower noted your departure.  If you landed, the owner of the plane got a $5.00 invoice from MAA - Maryland Aviation Admin.  After 911, the pass gate was gone and the arguments ensued.  Signature insisted that since you "walked through their lobby", you were using their facility and you needed to pay for such nice digs because obviously the G-V aircraft weren't paying enough to support Signature (joke).  I mourned the loss of the "pass" gate.  So, the FAA can make this very simple at the majority of airports, if you want FAA funds, you must create a non-FBO method of entering and leaving the airport open to pilots.  Allow cities to charge something for setup, but not outrageous....go back to BWI....have a gate or office that is run by the MAA or the Airport police.  I go to that office, show my credentials, tell them my N-number and get escorted to the plane....no FBO involved.  I pay a $5, $10, maybe $20 security fee for entrance since it does cost money and effort to have someone escort me to the ramp.  I guarantee OVERNIGHT, Signature would drop their handling fee to $20 because far better for me to possibly buy fuel and drinks from them than bypass them!  It is simply the need for competition that could be spurred by the FAA.

Re: AOPA FILES OFFICIAL COMPLAINTS OVER FBO FEES

Posted by Randall Langford on Sep 7, 2017 4:56 pm

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association is taking the position that someone, other than the user of the service, can determine what prices and fees should be.  AOPA is very wrong.
 
Poor Signature.  I wish AOPA would go into the FBO business and compete with these robber barons to lower our fuel prices.  Since Signature has lost at John Wayne, does AOPA expect the next FBO to not charge the same prices and fees?  Will the next FBO hire the unemployed Signature employees at the same pay and benifits that Signature was paying them? 
 
AOPA describes the prices in egregious hyperbole.  Then, AOPA uses emotional terms like “fair” and “reasonable” to describe AOPA’s remedy.  AOPA sets up a mechanism for easily registering the complaints to AOPA.  AOPA is ginning up a problem that they claim only government can solve.  Look out for even higher prices and less service at these airports in the future.  Maybe some crooked politicians were exposed in Los Angeles, but someone please call me when prices go down at John Wayne or Jackson Hole.
 
I must pass along my copy of AOPA Pilot Magazine to my close friend because he can’t afford to belong to AOPA.  Is AOPA denying him access to the magazine?  Or, is he wisely watching his budget?
 
Old Pilot and Line Boy,
 
Randy Langford
AOPA #00556406 Since 1976
 

Re: AOPA FILES OFFICIAL COMPLAINTS OVER FBO FEES

Posted by Randall Langford on Sep 9, 2017 12:28 pm

AOPA’s claim that FBO’s are intentionally denying pilots access via prices is not logical.  Do Cadillac dealers deny Cadillac’s to people who can’t afford Cadillac’s? 
 
Again, I must pass along my copy of AOPA Pilot Magazine to my close friend because he can’t afford to belong to AOPA.  Is AOPA denying him access to the magazine?  Or, is my friend wise in sticking to his budget?
 
An Old Pilot and Line Boy,
 
Randy Langford
AOPA #00556406 Since 1976
 

Re: AOPA FILES OFFICIAL COMPLAINTS OVER FBO FEES

Posted by Terrell Lockett on Oct 13, 2017 11:34 am

Hello group, I agree with Michael Altman's comment about needing the followup articLe on where federal funds go at most airports. I always feel hoodwinked and strong-armed at the FBOs. The problem is also with citits signing over ramp rights to FBOS for a kickback. Someone more politically polished than me need to generate a word template expressing our disgust to metro areas greater than 100k people about: 1. Landing/ramp fees for none overnight 2. Need for public use ramp allocations (recommend they only sell only a max percentage of 50% to fbo) 3. Public Gate access / restroom access (minimum of a his and her Porta pot) I would also like to have a consolidated complaint rating map on AOPA based on aopa members complaints within a year time frame of fuel prices and fees with a three color system (red = over 50 within year and/or 25 within 6mos, yellow = over 25 within a year and/or 12 within 6 mos.). If you agree, like this post or add your 2 cents with a reply. Let us keep this topic going. -Terrell (proud comanche owner until prices get more out of hand)

Re: AOPA FILES OFFICIAL COMPLAINTS OVER FBO FEES

Posted by Christopher Kuyoth on Oct 25, 2017 1:06 pm

Randall Langford:
AOPA’s claim that FBO’s are intentionally denying pilots access via prices is not logical.  Do Cadillac dealers deny Cadillac’s to people who can’t afford Cadillac’s? 


I think Randy is missing the point. To stick with his analogy, a person that can't afford a Cadillac, has the choice to purchase a less expensive vehicle. He can go down the street and buy a Chevy.  The same goes for his friend, he has the choice to not pay the AOPA fee. In the case of greedy FBO's, there is often no other choice.

Take the two airports of Stuart and West Palm Beach, Florida for example.  While the FBO's at those two airports provide top notch "red carpet" service, it comes at a high price, (over $250/wk and that assumes you purchase the high priced fuel).  They are certainly focused on the needs of their private jet clientel.  I don't want that service nor the price that comes with it.  If I land at either airport, I have no choice but to accept those services and pay thier rates.

The next closest airport to my destination which lies between those two airports, was recently taken over by Signature.  Landing there comes with an even higher price and less services.  As pilots choose to land further away from the metroplitan areas in an effort to avoid the high prices, the gouging FBO's are moving in to those airport to take advantage. I now have to drive an extra hour to my final destination if I want to avoid the higher prices.  It is as if there is colusion among the FBO's to raise prices in the entire region and eliminate the option to avoid them.

At my base airport in Michigan, there is a considerable amount of corporate jet/turboprop traffic.  They have thier choice of FBO's that provide the red carpet services that they are seeking.  There are also a dozen or so tie downs on the "municiple ramp" in front of the tower that are free.  There you will find the 172's, Mooneys and Pipers that simply want to park for the weekend, bring thier own ropes and carry thier own bag.

Chris