Small plane landing at normally busy airport during Covid 19 slowdown.
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I heard a radio story recently about small airplanes being welcome at the normally very busy CLT (Charlotte) airport recently due to extreme reduction in scheduled air carrier operations. That gave me an idea.
Yesterday, inflight, I contacted SAN (San Diego Lindbergh) tower requesting a landing and taxi-back for takeoff. I used to be "based" there with my corporate pilot job and my former airline, but hadn't landed there in my Light Sport plane. There was VERY little traffic at SAN at the time and it seemed like a perfect opportunity for a fun landing there.
The FAA control tower politely advised me that due to "local requirements", they would be unable to accomodate a landing and taxi-back. However, if I wanted to land, taxi to the FBO, pay $40 ramp fee to the FBO, then taxi-back for take-off, they could approve that. They specifically told me that if that was within my "budget", they could approve my landing, and departure.
Can they really do that? Can the FAA really require me to stop at the FBO and pay a ramp fee before departure. It's a public airport and there is no "landing fee" at SAN for non-commercial flights.
5 Replies
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i have a similar situation, but an even more interesting answer and a possible request for help and action!.  one weekend on a dusk flight even i was able to get a visual into 10C into KORD (Ohare airport).. often thought of but never actually tried this before the slow down.  took 2 minutes but i was approved for an approach, fly runway heading, right 180 after and get out of the airspace.  tried to do it again July 3rd about 10P and was DENIED the same approach unless i wanted to LAND, TAXI and pay the landing fee!  the denial was AFTER i was given a squawk code and told to fly a route to the landing pattern.  Where does ANY city or  FAA leadership have denying an approach into a quiet airport and denying the entry on what was clearly FINANCIAL matters...?dont i have equal right to the airspace especially when its this quiet?  80% reduction in commercial air traffic!! one would think the controllers could use the practice :-)   where do we go to talk to the FAA about this?  i hope to not make it a legal thing, but at some point, the feds work for us, not the city...they still get paid regardless if they are working traffic or not so what is the harm? 
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This seems to be a bit if a wheeze at airports outside the US too.

In Barbados they are trying to get light airplanes to pay a handler on arrival - seems to consist of marshalling on arrival - a deliberate misreading of one of their regulations. In Barbados there are no landing and parking fees for airplanes under 6,000lbs, this seems to be a away to introduce them through the back door - so not unique to your location.
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1021 Posts
Try the main switchboard number 2400.
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I tried several days ago to contact Dean for additional information. Sadly, there was no answer. I'd like to try to get additional information on how this is legal. AOPA - Can you help?
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1021 Posts
The FAA can't but airport management can.  You should address your concern to:

DEAN ROBBINS, MANAGER, AIRSIDE OPERATIONS 619-400-2710/2761, DROBBINS@SAN.ORG