NATA Escalates Chattanooga Feud

 - June 28, 2012, 2:45 PM
NATA has expressed continuing concern over Chattanooga's Metropolitan Airport Authority's (CMAA) alleged use of more than $10 million in government grants to establish its own FBO to compete with the airport's existing Tac Air facility to which the CMAA also serves as the landlord. The CMAA said it created the new FBO, which is managed by Wilson Air Center (shown here), to address uncompetitive fuel pricing at the airport.

The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) has upped the ante in the dispute over an airport-sponsored FBO at Chattanooga’s Lovell Field Airport. In a letter sent to Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, NATA president and CEO James Coyne expresses continuing concerns over the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport Authority’s (CMAA) alleged use of more than $10 million in government grants to establish its own FBO to compete with the existing Tac Air facility, to which the CMAA also serves as the landlord.

The CMAA said that it created the new FBO–managed by Wilson Air Center as the fourth location in its chain–to address customer concerns of uncompetitive fuel pricing at the airport. According to Coyne, such airport-owned FBOs accept government grants that give them a competitive advantage over privately operated businesses, creating an unlevel playing field and potentially chilling private investment at airports.

In the letter, Coyne tasks Haslam with reconsidering whether his state should grant the CMAA additional funding to support the airport-run facility, which opened last summer and has since been operating at a deficit.

Comments

Terry D Welander's picture

How do we know the original FBO, being the only one, was not gouging people on fuel pricing. If government wants to subsidize competition in this situation, to keep consumers from being gouged, it is a decision for the voters, not the Governor. The original FBO needs to find other products other than fuel to make a living. Other people have decided an aviation fuel monopoly is unacceptable; more likely unlawful. And most people probably agree with them. Many tacit small monopolies exist in our social structure. Most acknowledge an implicit responsibility, more probably a fiduciary responsibility to keep pricing in line with adjacent, but non competing sources. If any small monopoly does not keep this unwritten responsibility pledge, government can and does step in to alleviate the problem; as appears to be the case here. If fuel gouging has not been going on, the problem then appears to be government intervention where it should not be. Who will bring out the real facts in this situation and make sure the voters are aware of whatever apparent mischief is going on?

B. Lee's picture

Welander's comments are typical of the left. They want to decide how we should run our businesses.
There are competing FBO's on my home field; and, while fuel $ is indeed high, they net very little profit after all the overhead imposed by regulation, etc.
Here's a thought- if the fuel is too expensive for you, stay home.
Or, maybe we should require all you socialists to attend business school, in that you might actually understand how the economy works.

Show comments (2)