The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) described the recent report to Congress from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on FBO pricing as lackadaisical and said it “misses the mark.” While the GAO report concluded that FBO pricing has not been identified as a widespread area of concern, AOPA’s primary gripe with the findings appears to be that it does not specifically back AOPA’s call for FBO pricing transparency, particularly at AIP grant-funded airports.
AOPA noted while that most FBOs charge fair and reasonable fees for services, others, particularly those in sole-provider situations, do not publish rates and charges, often surprising pilots with higher-than-expected fees.
In its rebuttal, AOPA stated: “It is disappointing that the GAO, the guardian of taxpayer dollars, failed to thoroughly address all aspects of federal grant requirements. The report reflects a complete lack of contextual knowledge of the industry and how it is intended to operate.”
AOPA also disputed the report's interpretation of market economics, which suggested that pilots dissatisfied with an FBO's pricing should simply use a different airport. Instead, AOPA said community airports are meant to be available to all pilots on reasonable terms.
Further, AOPA said the report failed to acknowledge its assertion that charts for all public-use airports should clearly indicate available non-FBO-controlled ramp space for aircraft parking when FBO services are not desired.