NATA is working to provide a well-rounded perspective on the FBO industry in light of the ongoing debate on access and fees at publicly funded airports. NATA’s goals are to promote the Real Facts About FBOs and highlight the extraordinary services provided by our FBO members through the FBOs: Above and Beyond initiative. NATA invites you to share the Real Facts About FBOs by placing the images and information below on your website as well as on your social media channels and other communications. Help NATA continue to meet rhetoric with facts in support of free enterprise. 



FAA Update
On June 7, 2018, the FAA’s Airports Division, Southern Region issued a  Part 13 complaint review letter , concluding the allegations filed by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) against the Asheville Regional Airport (KAVL) “are not supported and that no further review is warranted.” In August 2017, the FAA received the Part 13 complaint , asserting that the airport sponsor is operating “in a manner that is inconsistent with its federal obligations” and alleging “egregious FBO pricing” practices. NATA immediately submitted a letter in response  to the complaint, stating that the “assertions made in this complaint reflect a misunderstanding of a number of key points.” As noted in the complaint review letter, the FAA determined that “the GARAA [Greater Asheville Regional Airport Authority] is currently in compliance with Grant Assurance 22, Economic Nondiscrimination and Grant Assurance 23, Exclusive Rights.”

FBO Facts

FBOs provide vital airport and community access and a continuous, safe supply of aviation fuel. Without this vital infrastructure, general aviation would have fewer flying options, and more obstacles to our important and shared mission of increasing the GA pilot population.

FBOs are not just facilities to service local pilots, but serve as gateways toward encouraging economic investment and links to community businesses beyond the airport boundary.

FBOs compete vigorously with each other on price, service, and quality of facilities.

Competition between FBOs is not limited to other on-field providers. Increased aircraft efficiency means an FBO competes for fuel sales with aircraft departure points and destinations. Additionally, pilots and passengers often have a choice of airports near their ultimate destination. 

FBOs and the airports and communities they serve are closely tied. The viability of local airports, and in turn local communities, must be protected from attempts at economic regulation.

NATA and its members strongly support the FAA’s policy recommending that airports implement minimum standards – providing benefits, including creating a safer operating environment, guaranteeing higher quality services to the public, and protecting the airport by ensuring service providers maintain a minimum level of training, equipment, staffing, and insurance coverage.

Feel free to share these images on your website and on social media to provide the public with a well-rounded perspective on the FBO industry.


Resources


NATA State of the Aviation Business Sector Overview
FBO Fact Sheet




Articles Providing the Real Facts About FBOs



In FBO Pricing Dispute, Critics Say AOPA's Numbers Don't Add Up

NATA President Marty Hiller provides the FBO and airport perspective in Stephen Pope’s Flying Magazine article, " In FBO Pricing Dispute, Critics Say AOPA's Numbers Don't Add Up ," discussing the "blurring line between fact and fiction in the public feud with airports and FBOs." 


Is Your Airport Healthy?

Airports and their tenants provide essential services to keep general aviation healthy, sustainable and successful, as well as support the economic viability of local communities. In a  recent  Airport Business/AviationPros.com article, NATA Board Member Curt Castagna discussed pathways to maintain the sustainability of airports and to encourage stakeholders, including users, to collaborate on achieving a robust airport that supports both economic development and public access to aviation.


The following articles discuss the changing reality of general aviation and call into question the necessity of the debate on access and fees at publicly funded airports:

"The Myths of FBO Consolidation"
Jeff Kohlman of Aviation Management Consulting Group, NATA's  Aviation Business Journal Q2 2018

"A Federal Grant Assurance Primer: What Is Really Required of Airports and FBOs"

Shelley Ewalt of McBreen & Kopko, NATA's  Aviation Business Journal Q2 2018


"NATA Launches FBOs Above and Beyond and Real FBO Facts"

Ellen Miller of NTA, NATA's  Aviation Business Journal Q2 2018

"Viewpoint: Gaining Altitude on Value

Dr. Benjamin Goodheart of Versant, NATA's Aviation Business Journal Q2 2018


Margin Call: No Margin? No Fueling!

Business Aviation Advisor Staff, August 25, 2017


"The People’s Republic of AOPA

Douglas Wilson, June 27, 2017, Airport Business/AviationPros.com


The FBO Problem

J. Mac McClellan, Page 22 of the May 2017 issue of EAA’s Sport Aviation




Background

Early in 2017, the FAA  requested NATA’s comments on documents provided to the agency by AOPA, asserting  that FBOs and airports are maximizing their respective revenue streams in a manner that is unfair to pilots. 

With the assistance of FBO and air charter members, NATA presented a state of the aviation business sector overview to the FAA - outlining the costs of operating airport businesses and the many variables that go into determining its pricing structure.

AOPA subsequently  announced it will request the FAA either require FBOs to provide access to ramps and facilities or airports to provide pilots with free public ramp space.

AOPA's  documents liken FBOs to public utilities and requests the agency examine oversight mechanisms in other industries as possible models — a straightforward move toward economic regulation.

Late last summer, AOPA announced the filing of three Part 13 complaints alleging “egregious FBO pricing practices” at  Florida’s Key West International Airport (EYW) Illinois’s Waukegan National Airport (UGN) , and  North Carolina’s Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) .

NATA sent letters to the  Orlando Airports District Office Illinois Department of Transportation , and the  Memphis Airports District Office in response.

The assertions made in these complaints reflect a misunderstanding of a number of key points related to the economics of aviation businesses: the pricing of aeronautical services, unique operating environment, governance, industry consolidation and the airport sponsor-tenant relationship.

In April 2018, AOPA announced its “Airport Access Watch List,” naming 10 locations “the organization believes fixed-base operators with monopoly positions may be preventing reasonable airport access with their pricing practices.” NATA responded with a member alert stating , "we are surprised to see that ten airports were added to what AOPA is calling an “Airport Access Watch List.” We maintain that all ten of our member FBOs at the named airports are compliant with FAA grant assurances. Each participated in a competitive RFP process and engage in market-driven pricing practices. AOPA notes that it will begin a dialogue with each airport sponsor. We are confident that this will soon clear any misconceptions and lead to the termination of the list."