Why is the airport proposing Business Activity Permit (BAP) fees of $2,000 per year while the Harbor/Waterfront Department does just fine with BAP fees of $20 year? The permit fees cover many of the same business activities: maintenance, instruction, detailing, electronics, etc. Permit fees are not supposed to be revenue generators. They are supposed to cover only the administrative costs of issuing the permit. So why does it cost the airport 100 times as much as the harbor to issue a permit?

One of the business activities covered by this “permit” fee is independent flight instruction. Independent flight instructors are FAA-certified instructors who instruct pilots in the pilot’s own plane. Independent flight instructors are generally the most senior, most experienced, most qualified instructors on the field. Many of them are current or former airline and military pilots with thousands of hours. Others have been instructing for decades. But with currently only one exception, none of them instruct more than 20 hours per year.  A “permit” fee of $2,000 to be allowed to earn $2,000 is not an option! Enacting this fee will drive out the best instructors on the field and leave all flight instruction to the one and only flight school on the field. Monopolies are bad for everyone (except the monopolist). The airport should not be taking action to create such a monopoly.

The same issue applies to maintenance and all the other airport BAPs. We need more maintenance on the field, not less. With the current maintenance available on the field, most pilots are forced to fly to other airports to get their maintenance. This is bad for many reasons.

Finally, the nonprofit Santa Barbara Flying Club was established in 1947 and has been in operation ever since. Now, for the first time ever, the airport wants to charge them a $2,000 per year fee! Why?

Please turn down this abominable fee structure and just implement the $20 per year fee that has made the waterfront the dynamic operation that it is.


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