Things Never Change!

Oct. 3, 2018

Way back in early 1997, my regular column for Airport Business magazine was about Signature Aviation in Huntsville, AL. Signature had just hired my son, Brett, as a lineman.

One thing not mentioned in that column was that Brett told me a lot of folks seemed to think Signature overcharged people. He wanted to know what I thought.

I told him that the Huntsville airport offered long runways, An ILS approach, round-the-clock service by Signature, and many other benefits not available in the area.

The Huntsville area had several choices that cost less. We had an airport just north of Huntsville with shorter runways, no ILS approach, and limited FBO services. Decatur, AL, had an airport with similar limitations which was farther from Huntsville and offered fewer benefits. There was even an unpaved airport called Moontown just northeast of the city of Huntsville.

Many people used those simpler airports. Others wanted—even needed—all of the benefits of the Huntsville airport and Signature.

In other words, you made your choices and you paid the price.

Just this week, AOPA reported that Signature has just posted their service fees around the country. AOPA, which has been lamenting higher prices at bigger airports, congratulated Signature for a step in the right direction.

I agree.

FBOs must pay higher rent to operate at bigger airports 24/7. They can’t sell for the same prices charged at less expensive airports.

Letting people know this in advance, is, indeed, a good step.

What is that old Latin expression I learned at Clemson back in the 1960s?

Caveat emptor—let the buyer beware!