The FAA spelled out how it intends to start charging for digital navigation charts at a December 13 meeting held by FAA Aeronautical Navigation Products (AeroNav). Planning manager Deborah Sullivan presented the new tiered pricing structure based on chart agent subscriber counts, with discounts per subscriber for quantity and a hard dollar cap, according to a blog post from iPad app-maker ForeFlight, one of the companies present at the meeting.
According to ForeFlight, “Abigail Smith, AeroNav’s director of business development, presented a proposed digital chart agent agreement covering the major terms. Key provisions include no alteration or approved alteration of products, encryption, application of copyright, audit and reporting requirements and a minimum purchasing requirement.”
The proposed pricing, ForeFlight argued, “is unrealistic–both on price and implementation timeline–and falls short of meeting a wide range of pilot needs and use cases. It will greatly reduce the public benefit the digital distribution program has provided for years. It side-steps government no-copyright laws and forces digital chart agents to erect a copyright shield around AeroNav products.”
“We are confident AeroNav will substantially modify the proposal presented at the meeting. It is disconnected from market reality and based on invalid market assumptions. ForeFlight is committed to helping AeroNav find a more reasonable solution that the market will accept,” ForeFlight concluded.
In any case, ForeFlight promised, “Regardless of what happens with future prices, we are committed to fulfilling subscription obligations for existing customers subscriptions.”