NATA Seeks Feedback On Ramp Space Issue

Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport
GA aircraft parked at Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport in San Diego.
Credit: Bill Carey

The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) said it is reviewing a proposal made to Congress that public-use airports be required to provide ramp space for transient GA aircraft.  

The association representing FBOs, Part 135 carriers and other aviation businesses informed its membership that it is seeking industry perspectives on the transient ramp space issue, but advised that it sees no need for a federal mandate.

“NATA does not believe this issue is universal to all publicly funded airports nor does it merit an unfunded federal mandate,” the association stated in a Member Update. “Airports already have the authority to implement public ramps and may use Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funds for this purpose. This, however, is a local decision.”

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) is leading an effort to ensure GA ramp access in the next FAA reauthorization bill. During a March 9 hearing of the House Aviation Subcommittee, AOPA President and CEO Mark Baker presented a letter with the names of 305 flying clubs, associations and other organizations, requesting that GA pilots be provided ramp space to park their aircraft for “a fair and reasonable fee” without having to pay various fees FBOs charge. 

While most FBOs provide excellent support, GA pilots are being charged for services they do not need or request at airports where some FBOs are becoming dominant, Baker told lawmakers. “This is exactly what is happening at hundreds of public-use airports, especially those that have entered into lease agreements with large chain FBOs in a monopoly position,” he said. “Not a day goes by that I don’t hear from pilots about this.”

NATA warned that mandating ramp space for transient GA aircraft could lead to unintended consequences and costs for FBOs and diminish their financial viability at airports.

“Mandating such policies at federally funded airports could also result in discussions relative to security protocols and the prioritization of AIP funding, which may defer critical airport infrastructure improvements for all users of a particular airport,” the association said. “Another potential, historical concern with a publicly funded ramp is the expectation that FBOs manage and/or police associated activities, access, security, safety and revenue collection.”

The association asked its members to contact NATA Vice President of Government Affairs Karen Huggard at [email protected] to share their perspectives on the transient ramp space proposal.


Bill Carey

Based in Washington, D.C., Bill covers business aviation and advanced air mobility for Aviation Week Network. A former newspaper reporter, he has also covered the airline industry, military aviation, commercial space and unmanned aircraft systems. He is the author of 'Enter The Drones, The FAA and UAVs in America,' published in 2016.