Commissioners Urged to Oppose Pro-FBO Bill

The National Air Transport Association (NATA), which represents the private Fixed Base Operators (FBOs) who provide services to general aviation customers at airports across the country, is behind the introduction of legislation that would require any entity that receives federal funds to contract out all work except those required for the national defense or homeland security or if there is no private source capable of providing a particular good or service. NATA says the legislation is meant to “end government monopolies and benefit taxpayers by subjecting commercial activities to market competition.”

The legislation is, instead, a part of NATA’s effort to prevent airports from serving as FBOs.  The bill, however, would actually require every city, county and state to contract out to the private sector all activities for which they receive federal funding.

NATA apparently believes that Washington knows best when it comes to the goods and services states, counties, and cities provide to their citizens.

NATA is telling Congress that only private FBOs are capable of providing the services needed at every single airport in every state in the country.  And we know that not only is this untrue, it is also not in the best interests of the taxpayer nor in the best interests of the local community, the airport or the airports customers.

An airport FBO must justify its actions to its operating Board, made up of members of the community, and therefore, to the community it serves.  A private FBO has not such responsibility.  Airports are integral parts of their communities, and it is their job to ensure their community is well served.  A private FBO may be the answer, but isn’t that up to the community to decide, not the federal government?  And airports know, based on experience, that sometimes an airport FBO is the only way to provide the best service at the best price for its customers.  And sometimes an airport FBO and a private FBO co-exist; thereby ensuring competition for services which ensures customers will get the best price.

Washington does not always know best, especially when it comes to fulfilling an airport’s responsibility to its community.  ACI-NA needs every one of our members to contact their Congressman and Senators and urge them to oppose this legislation.   NATA is hosting a fly-in on May 4-5 to push for action on this legislation so your Congressman and Senators need to know the facts before NATA members get to DC.

Your members of Congress are home now so please try and get a meeting to discuss this issue and share your own experience.  If you can’t get a meeting, send a letter (a draft is attached) or an email and call the local district office and explain your concerns.  Tell your Board/Commissioners about this attack on their decision making and ask them to weigh in with Congress as well.

Be sure to contact your city, county and state officials to let them know that Washington is trying to make yet another decision for your community.  ACI-NA is working with state and local organizations, such as the National League of Cities and the National Association of Counties, so we can weigh in together, in opposition to this legislation.   We will keep you updated on our progress, and ask that you keep us informed as well.