The text of yesterday’s news release from Women in Aviation was brief, but to the point. “Upon further review and additional information, Women in Aviation International has withdrawn its support of the AOPA initiative relative to FBO fees for general aviation.”
WAI President Dr. Peggy Chabrian said, “As a pilot myself, I am sympathetic to the financial challenges inherent in flying, but we also recognize that FBOs provide services crucial to our flying as well as extending comforts which enhance general aviation operations.”
Chabrian was reacting to a joint statement published earlier this week by the AOPA, and a dozen other aviation groups, one of which was Women in Aviation, calling on the FAA to take action against “egregious, hidden fees and denial of affordable access to airport ramps.”
The letter represented the latest push from AOPA to airports and FBOs that by default force pilots to pay for ramp services they neither need or want. The AOPA’s letter said, “It’s time for the FAA to ensure pilots have a right to reasonable access to federally funded airports.” At many of the public use airports the association and its supporters reviewed, FBOs demand all aircraft pay handling fees even though they might not use a single service. Most of those FBOs waive any fees if the aircraft owner agrees to purchase a minimum amount of fuel.
Women in Aviation was one of the 12 organizations that originally signed the most recent letter. The others included the American Bonanza Society, Cardinal Flyers Online, FNL Pilots Association, Glasair Aircraft Owners Association, Lancair Owners and Builders Organization, Malibu/Mirage Owners & Pilots Association, Maine Aeronautics Association, The Minnesota Seaplane Pilots Association, North American Trainer Association and the Washington Pilots Association.