Data was recently obtained by activists impacted under the flight training ‘closed pattern’ at Centennial Airport [KAPA]. The data shows ten years of monthly fuel flowage figures, both in gallons and revenue dollars; it is all compiled into the spreadsheet below:KAPA.20230327.. Fuel sales & revenues by month for CY2021 (1p)
At most General Aviation (GA) airports, the two largest revenue sources are leases (for hangars, land, or parking spaces), and the ‘fuel flowage fee’. This is an amount, commonly between a nickel and a dime per gallon, supposed to be assessed on all fuels dispensed at the airport. As such, the fuel flowage fee revenue data provides a valuable metric for evaluating airport activity. Sadly, airports often make it difficult or impossible to get this data. Fortunately, this time, the data was produced.
Something Unusual: the Airport Authority reduced fees and took a large revenue loss
Starting in 2018, the airport authority chose to reduce fuel flowage fees by roughly a third. This was an odd ‘business’ move, a huge gift to pilots that reduced airport revenues. In the first year, fuel flowage fee revenues dropped 30%, while volume sold went up 5%. For the four years 2018 onward, versus the six years prior to lowering the fuel flowage fees, there was a 25% decline in revenues and ~12% increase in fuel sales.
Questions Raised by the Data
- for the AvGas portion, the data indicates that, in an average year, as much as 2,900 pounds of lead are dispensed for use by KAPA aircraft. Can the airport authority clarify, precisely how many gallons of unleaded fuel were sold during each month of the past ten years? (i.e., what percentage of the avgas sales data were for 100LL, versus other types of avgas)
- what was the intent (as articulated by airport management and/or the Board) and the reason for the reduction in fuel flowage fees in 2018?
Suggestion for Improving Airport Transparency
Fuel flowage fee revenues and other metrics should be shared by each airport authority, with their impacted communities. FAA would do well to mandate this type of transparency, especially regarding data that quantifies aviation impacts.