FBO Fees at Public Airports - Opinions

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FBO Fees at Public Airports - Opinions

Postby GAHorn » Mon Feb 26, 2018 4:18 pm

[Warning: Do not allow your post to become political in the sense of attacks or praise of any particular party or politician, even by reference, or your post will be deleted. This subject is capable of morphing into a political theme and that is NOT the intent of this thread and NOT within the rules of the forum.]

AvWeb author Larry Anglisano has posted an article on the weekly online newsletter "AvWeb" in which he admits to helping himself to healthy portions of "freebies" from an FBO in the form of snacks, mouthwash, and filling his pockets with candy, etc.,... and therefore he writes that he is not perturbed over the (sometimes exorbitant) ramp-fees that some FBOs charge, even if no fuel or other services are requested.

It is my personal opinion that public airports (as opposed to privately-owned) are no different than public streets and that since taxpayers have already paid for them ... that concessionaires such as FBOs should support the ongoing operations and maintenance by their "lease" or other license to operate a business there. I am not opining that they are unworthy of earning a profit by their services rendered in the form of fuel, mx, servicing, hangaring, etc. etc.
However, either the FBO ...or the gov't entity having jurisdiciton over the airport... should provide temporary parking for aviation visitors to the airport in the same fashion as they provide for the automobiling public.

The airport terminals which are served by airlines charge those airlines various fees in order for them to operate from dedicated gates. Those fees are used to recoup the many costs of operations, and airlines pass those fees on to their customers when tickets are purchased.

However, private automobiles operate on federal, state, and local highways and streets without charges additional to their ordinary re-licensing/inspection fees. (Not including non-federal toll-roads which are a seperate matter.) They may park at the main airport terminal for a small parking fee...or in many cases, without charge for short periods in special lots. The airport generates it's fees paid to the local gov't via services bought/paid for by users., i.e., food, newspapers, etc.... but no fee is charged simply for walking thru the lobby or using a public restroom.

I am unhappy when the public is allowed to drive their private automobiles up to the main/airline terminal and drop-off/pick-up passengers... but I am not allowed the same simply because I've arrived in a private airplane. Prior to approx. 1990 a private aircraft could taxi up to the IAH B-terminal, gate 29 ... or the DFW A-terminal gate 1, ... or the HOU terminals designated GA gate... and offload or enplane directly into/out-of the passenger-terminal (but outside of the sterile-zone) with free parking for up to 1-hour (typical). It was not necessary to taxi to Signature Flight Support, submit to a $25 ramp-fee or purchase 25 gals of $6-Fuel.... in order to pick up/drop off passengers. If those pax desired to connect to an airline, additional services were required...either a taxi or a "courtesy car" which invariably/unofficially requires a "tip" of some more money. (No argument from me on tipping courtesy-car drivers...but the issue is: Why was I not accomodated with my aircraft AT the terminal which my tax dollars paid for? Why am I treated differently than the rest of the travelling public? ESPECIALLY since my method of arriving actually is the INTENT and PURPOSE of having an airport in the FIRST PLACE?)

It's my suggestion that any PUBLIC airport should either provide ramp-space for self-parking near public-transportation kiosks... or at the main terminal for private aircraft ... with the same policies toward those aircraft, as are directed toward the automobile-travelling public.
'53 B-model N146YS SN:25713
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Re: FBO Fees at Public Airports - Opinions

Postby GAHorn » Mon Feb 26, 2018 7:48 pm

Addendum:
OK, after communicating directly with Larry, he responds that my interpretation of his remarks was not his intent. He agrees that the fees are unwarranted for those who do not utilise services and he also responds to my remarks about direct-access to the terminal thusly:

Years ago at my home base of Hartford, a TBM700 owner had an ongoing battle with the Atlantic Aviation (since sold off, thank goodness) because every week he would fly in and pick up (and drop off) his kid who went to college in the area. He would taxi in, not even shut down and the kid would jump into out then they would taxi off. The FBO tried wacked him $75 every time he pulled up. Finally, he would land, taxi to the edge of the runup area—which was a state ramp—and the kid would meet him there instead. The FBO pursued the issue with the state and as you would guess, got nowhere.

Only in Aviation.

Thanks for the notes and for reading.

Bests, Larry A


Of course, that scenario might work at an uncontrolled airport or one that is not served by airlines with a TSA/security program.
But it does not address the discriminatory treatment of private aircraft and access to facilities they pay for, in addition to the ordinary taxes and fees imposed on automobile users,... but also GA makes addt'l payment thru aviation excise taxes, yet receive sub-standard/onerous treatment.
'53 B-model N146YS SN:25713
50th Anniversary of Flight Model. Winner-Best Original 170B, 100th Anniversary of Flight.
An originality nut (mostly) for the right reasons. ;)
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