Nov. 15, 2023

Private aircraft may not be the top political issue of the day for most folks, but ever-increasing government power creep should be. It’s about freedom of movement. It’s about whether governments can just price freedom out. Federal law requires all publicly owned and operated airports throughout the country to be open to all aircraft, including private aircraft. Harry Reid Airport is handling Formula 1 cargo, including eight wide-body 747 jets carrying race cars, pit equipment, and hundreds of thousands of fans from around the world, many in their own private jets.

I know F1 is a pain in the ass, but that’s the price of living in Las Vegas. I hear all the folks whine about F1. It’s soo terrible that major companies want to bring their billion-dollar businesses to Las Vegas. We have problems other cities across the U.S. and the world dream about.

In response, the Clark County Airport Authority implemented a prior permission-required program.

Clark County “public” airports are requiring prior permission for arrivals, weeks ahead of the event that officially begins with an opening ceremony on November 15, followed by practice sessions and qualifying on November 17 and 18. The F1 weekend culminates with the main event on November 18.

In addition, Signature FBO is charging a one-time fee of $7,700 plus additional charges for overnight parking and handling. Depending on the type of aircraft, those can run up to $994 for overnight parking and $2,290 for handling. The fee at Atlantic is comparatively cheap at $3,500.

These “special event fees” have the largest national aircraft owners’ group up in arms, and they should. The special event fees at Henderson Executive Airport and North Las Vegas Airport, whose FBOs are owned and operated by Clark County, are $3,000 in addition to parking and overnight fees. Hundreds of aircraft that are just dropping off passengers and then parking elsewhere will still be subject to the special event fee at each airport.

Pilots like AOPA member Eric Haase have expressed concern about the fees.

“I personally see this as a big threat to general aviation. What’s to stop any county or FBO from charging exorbitant fees if Vegas starts doing this regularly? Who’s going to decide what’s considered a special event and how high the fees can go?”

FAA rules clearly state that public-use airports that receive federal funding are not permitted to charge unfair and unreasonable fees.

AOPA President Mark Baker issued a statement

“Part 91 operators, regardless of what aircraft they are flying, cannot pass these enormous costs along. These practices are simply limiting access to a public-use facility and that is wrong. The FAA has a responsibility to enforce current rules against these unfair and unreasonable prices,” said AOPA President Mark Baker. “I understand the reservation system, but I can tell you it doesn’t cost $40 one day to park an airplane and then thousands of dollars the next day.”


The Aviation Subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Baker expressed strong support for several GA provisions in the 2023 FAA reauthorization bill and reemphasized the need for fair and reasonable pricing at FBOs and airports. “Not a day goes by that I don’t hear from pilots about this,” he said.

But all of this air traffic shows the need and value the Las Vegas Spaceport will bring by providing overflow private jet parking at a new FBO.


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