European "User Fees", or more friendly flying

Profile picture for user Flying_Pencil

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9 years 1 month

Posts: 722

I heard in Europe about some silly expense of some ludicrous amount each time someone lands an aircraft, "Landing Fees" to the tune of £14 each time (correct?). I also read about fees for getting the time of day. In the USA, there was an attempt to impose "User Fees", charging flyers each time they used air traffic control and other services contacted by radio. Tracing fliers down who use this would cost millions to hire people to hunt down those pilots and slap them with the bill. Currently most funding comes from fuel tax, and I have no problem paying that. So is there plans to do away with the more onerous fees and simplify the system? Or are they trying to kill small aviation? Same goes for Australia, from what I hear. Expensive flying fees in a country that is mostly devoid of people.
Original post

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13 years 7 months

Posts: 96

In Europe, airfields are not publicly or municipally funded, but operated as businesses. The only source of income is from fees for landing, nav service (for IFR), parking, hangarage, fuel sales etc. I think the main reason for the relative high cost is not inefficiency or gross profiteering, but the relative low level of activity compared to the US. En-route charges in Europe currently apply only to aircraft above a certain size (2.3T IIRC), who file IFR flight plans. The system of billing is fairly well automated and seems to me a reasonable way of passing the cost to those that benefit from the service. I enjoy flying in the US with the freedom and relatively low cost, but it does seem to be partly at the expense of ordinary taxpayers who benefit relatively little. As the overall system works well enough, I won't rock the boat.
Profile picture for user Kenneth

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19 years 9 months

Posts: 944

In Germany you pay landing fees, as well as additional ATC fees at controlled airports. IFR-pilots also pay an en-route fee in Europe it their MTOW > 2,000 kg. I pay approx. €8,- per landing for a C172 at a privately operated and owned 400m paved strip near Munich. In general, however, these fees constitute (at least for the VFR pilot) only a very small portion of the total costs of flying in Germany. It's not the user fees which are killling GA in Germany, but rather German pilots total lack of interest/skills in organising sufficient political lobbying power, coupled with red/green politicians and the N.I.M.B.Y. brigade.
Profile picture for user Flying_Pencil

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9 years 1 month

Posts: 722

In Europe, airfields are not publicly or municipally funded, but operated as businesses. The only source of income is from fees for landing, nav service (for IFR), parking, hangarage, fuel sales etc. I think the main reason for the relative high cost is not inefficiency or gross profiteering, but the relative low level of activity compared to the US. ... I enjoy flying in the US with the freedom and relatively low cost, but it does seem to be partly at the expense of ordinary taxpayers who benefit relatively little. As the overall system works well enough, I won't rock the boat.
A landing fee, which is per landing, even for practice, is dangerous because it penalizes training. Some nav services should also be be of no cost, to pilots know where they are, and weather report should also be free, otherwise it jeopardizes safety. Fuel tax/fee, ramp fee, hanger fee, towing fee, and many other fees are perfectly fine and are used in the USA. Some small airports have successful restaurant that attract non-flying public who can see the action, to the joy of children, even if they do not fly. In the USA, almost, if not all, the entire funding for small airports come from the Fuel tax (yes, airlines pay same fuel tax, which they pass to passengers). Anyone can drive up to nearly any airport and hire a plane and pilot for a trip, much like a taxi. What few realize is those small airports are critical in disasters. It is by far the fastest way to get supplies in and victims out (Haiti it was the ONLY way, the port was completely useless). Meigs Field in Chicago is a case in point. After the mayor illegally closed it, the police, air ambulance, and news helicopters suddenly could not do the job because they where to far from fuel. Chicago had to spend millions to open a heliport. It was a major boondoggle, and it hurt the mayors office.
In Germany you pay landing fees, as well as additional ATC fees at controlled airports. IFR-pilots also pay an en-route fee in Europe it their MTOW > 2,000 kg. I pay approx. €8,- per landing for a C172 at a privately operated and owned 400m paved strip near Munich. It's not the user fees which are killling GA in Germany, but rather German pilots total lack of interest/skills in organising sufficient political lobbying power, coupled with red/green politicians and the N.I.M.B.Y. brigade.
More like lack of leadership. I know AOPA has a Euro branch, I would think it needs to get the word out, and to engage the non-flying public. Everyone has some level interest in flying, but when I talk to people about flying even in the US they: 1. Do not know how accessible it is. 2. Do not know you can rent plane/pilot for a trip. 3. Think it's very expensive (I tell them $130 for an hour, they do not believe me) If the local airfields have semi-annual open house with simple festivities and let people see and touch the airplane up close, it will (not might, but will) get people to support the airport at least by vote. And get some new pilots. One airport and the CAF branch has yearly open houses that bring a lot of attention and excitement, and money, to the airports.
Profile picture for user Moggy C

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19 years 9 months

Posts: 16,831

... charging flyers each time they used air traffic control and other services contacted by radio. Tracing fliers down who use this would cost millions to hire people to hunt down those pilots and slap them with the bill.
You obviously don't understand the motivation behind the proposed universal requirement for Mode S transponders in Europe. Make no mistake, within a short while a credit card number would have been inextricably linked to each one. We've ducked that one for a short while, but give it time. Moggy
Profile picture for user Flying_Pencil

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9 years 1 month

Posts: 722

It may happen in the USA with ABS-D (sp?), but not without a fight. Cars, trucks, and boats do not have this need and they far out number aircraft. Why should aircraft? I am all for active position information broadcast (for collision avoidance) and at least a simple system to direct the pilot away from traffic ways much like road signs, but there is no need go further.
Profile picture for user Moggy C

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19 years 9 months

Posts: 16,831

ADS-B Automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast Our skies are a bit more crowded than yours, but yes, we don't need it, however, those who want to charge us for Eurocontrol are salivating at the prospect. Moggy