Increase in Aspen airport landing fees wins initial approval |

Increase in Aspen airport landing fees wins initial approval

ASPEN – A 5 percent increase in landing fees at the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport won initial approval Wednesday from county commissioners.

The fees are levied on commercial carriers and private aircraft that aren’t based locally. Final action by commissioners is scheduled for Nov. 28.

Many airports don’t charge a landing fee for general aviation, or private planes, but the local airport does, said Jim Elwood, aviation director at the airport. Commercial landing fees are commonly charged at airports that have commercial operations, he said.

The proposed local fee increase, charged per 1,000 pounds of landed weight, would equate to about $320 per landing for the jet SkyWest operates on behalf of United Express (up from about $304).

Fees charged by an airport typically make up about 3 percent of commercial airfares, according to Elwood. Airlines set fares based on market considerations, he told commissioners.

A comparison of Aspen’s proposed landing fees for commercial aircraft in 2013 to commercial fees at some other Western Slope airports indicates that the local airport’s charges are on the high end. Federal Aviation Administration regulations limit the fees to an amount that covers costs associated with the runway and taxiway areas, including maintenance and upgrades.

A proposed 2.5 percent increase in terminal rental fees also won initial commissioner approval this week.

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