The Palm Beach Airport thinks that by enacting user fees they can reduce congestion, but they are dead wrong. Congestion will subside when the airlines reform their own practice. Read these letters-to-the-Editor, in the Palm Beach Post explaining how user fees are a bad idea and how general aviation is a boon the local economy.
Small planes pay fuel taxes but always get short shrift
JEFF RAMSDEN, president
South Florida Business Aviation Association
West Palm Beach
The Nov. 9 letter, “Freeloading general aviation sucks money from airport,” totally missed the boat. First of all, general aviation contributes through a tax on fuel. These fuel taxes are ultimately reinvested in these airports and not only pay for maintenance and improvements for general aviation but for commercial airlines and their passengers as well.
In addition, nationally, at the busiest airports, general aviation comprises less than 4 percent of total traffic. The truth is that general aviation is the one that is consistently pushed out of airports for commercial service. Take Miami International Airport as an example. The big commercial airlines are the ones that refuse to provide many smaller communities with commercial air service altogether. In fact, Essential Air Service and Small Community Air Service from the government are specifically aimed at giving the airlines a financial incentive to serve small communities, such as Melbourne, that they otherwise would ignore.
Last, small businesses that rely on general aviation at PBIA are essential to the citizens and economy of the surrounding community and beyond. With revenue from the goods and employment from the businesses that use PBIA, many new businesses have profited in the area, benefiting both business owners and citizens alike. To suggest that small-plane owners and pilots contribute nothing to the community does these men and women a severe disservice.
PALM BEACH POST
General aviation makes huge contribution to PBIA
West Palm Beach
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
In reference to “Freeloading general aviation sucks money from airport” (Nov. 9 letter), as an employee for multiple Fixed Base Operators (FBOs) or general aviation facilities at Palm Beach International Airport since 1980, I would like to share my views.
General or corporate aviation is probably one of the most misunderstood segments of business by the general public. There are three FBOs at PBIA which make significant contributions not only to the county but the state and federal government. These revenues are generated from fees attached to the 17 million gallons of jet fuel sold annually. For every gallon sold, the airport gets a portion of the proceeds. These fees contribute about $6 million annually to the airport. In addition to fuel fees, the three FBO facilities pay in excess of $6 million a year in rent.
General aviation businesses employ more than 350 people in good-paying jobs with benefits. If we were to approach the county collectively, they would be paying general aviation companies to bring these jobs to this county. Corporate aircraft bring the executives and CEOs of major corporations to Palm Beach. They are not going to bring executives to an airport (North County) and waste an additional 45 minutes driving to their destination. Not when time is money to these people.
The FBOs are a vital economic engine and they receive no credit for it. The general aviation companies at PBIA have invested time (most of them 20 years) and tremendous sums of money to build their businesses into what they are today. Support the businesses that support this county.