Alexandria, VA, September 29, 2014 – In a letter to the City of Houston’s Mayor and City Council, the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) expressed its opposition to the approval of a lease granting a new entrant fixed base operator status at William P. Hobby Airport (HOU). The association urged the Council to amend the lease to create a level playing field among all FBOs at HOU. The proposed lease is scheduled for consideration by the City Council on September 30th (Agenda Item 24).
NATA is a national association representing the broad array of aviation service businesses essential for a vibrant general aviation sector including fixed base operators (FBOs) such as those at Houston Hobby.
In writing to the Council, NATA President and CEO Thomas L. Hendricks proposed amending the lease to accelerate the amount and tempo of investment made by the proposed new entrant and clarify that at least one new hanger be designated for the exclusive use of third party customers. Hendricks observed that absent such language, the City of Houston “will be creating an unequal level of competition among FBOs at the airport, a clear violation of FAA grant assurances.”
In July, Hendricks wrote the City recommending that before adding a new FBO at Hobby it should develop airport minimum standards. NATA observed that such standards, as recommended by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), “ensure safety, as well as high quality services to the public and fair competition.” The currently proposed lease terms risk the City losing tens of millions of dollars in future Airport Improvement Funds and places both long-term jobs and revenue to the City in jeopardy.
Hendricks closed his appeal to the City by noting, “NATA supports competition throughout our industry and believes that when the playing field is truly level, competition, regardless of who is providing the services, will benefit everyone.”