Tue, Jan 20, 2004
Tenants Call Extra Charge "Outrageous"
Aircraft owners and pilots
who lease space at Crystal River Airport have a serious gripe
against the facility's manger. They say a new minimum $60 surcharge
for aircraft parking is unfair. Tom Davis, the airport manager,
says its the fee is vital to airport's survival.
Davis is president of Crystal Aero Group Inc., the company
Citrus County contracts to run the Crystal River Airport.
Davis claims he has been catching some unpleasant feedback from
aircraft owners since the beginning of the year, when he started
making plane owners pay an additional surcharge to rent space -
either tie down or hangar - at the public airport. Angry plane
owners called the new facility fee "outrageous" when compared with
prices to lease space at similar-sized airports.
Davis insists he continually faces rising overhead costs that
require him to get more out of aircraft owners. He warns that not
having the extra revenue would not allow him to offer the standard
of services the public expects. Tenants warn they will go
elsewhere. Marion County Airport in nearby Dunnellon, which houses
five more planes than Crystal River's 50, charges$25 a month for a
tie down spot and sells Avgas for $2.10 a gallon. At Crystal River,
fuel costs $2.80 and, coming soon, will jump to $2.86 per gallon.
It's tie-downs run $42 a month and owners must pay the new fee
of at least $60 a month, which can be applied toward the purchase
of services Davis' company sells, such as fuel, flight instruction,
engine work and charts. Owners who rent hangars pay more.
Will everyone abandon Crystal River for cheaper services? Only
time will tell, but for now, those flying into the airport should
expect to pay up.
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