b'OPERATIONSDAL 51pods that are about 4 feet wide and 5 feet high. Each of DALsI think it is telling that not one of those attendees decided to leave three major taxiways has a camera on each side, and another our airport, Hughes shares.camera pod is fixed on a roof overlooking the Customs area.Hughes reports that the cameras quickly proved their worthCutting Red Tape after going online in May 2016. Not only did DAL collect moreBecause DAL is owned by the city of Dallas, the initial $137,500 landing fees, but employees also saved many hours previouslythe airport spent to purchase Vectors PlanePass equipment had to spent dealing with billing issues. As a result, airport officialsbe approved by the City Council. As a standard rule, all city-owned decided in 2018 to use the camera pods already in place tofacilities need to get bids from at least three separate providers establish a new billing process for all general aviation aircraft.for purchases of such magnitude. For DAL, that caused delays because no other company offered a product or service similar to Not surprisingly, that prompted pushback from airport users.PlanePass. The airport distributed a request for proposal that also Until then, DAL had never charged general aviation pilotswas posted on its website, but no other company responded. After landing fees, Hughes explains. Our three main commerciala few months, the city sanctioned the purchase, and the airport airlinesSouthwest, Delta and Alaskawere paying all thesigned a contract with Vector in August 2015. The final step was operation and maintenance (O&M) costs through their landing fees,getting FAA approval, which took another few months. Once that in which 80% was commercial and 20% was general aviation.was granted, the installation itself only took a few weeks, and the So when we announced that we would start charging generalsystem went online in May 2016. aviation pilots beginning on Jan. 1, 2019, there was considerableWhen DAL expanded its use of the system to all general resistance. We explained that the landing fees only would be toaviation traffic a few years later, it didnt need to purchase any recoup the O&M costs for the runwaysno more, no less. new equipment. Hughes and her team simply modified the original To further explain the rationale behind the new charges, DALcontract with Vector. Under this arrangement, DAL pays the held six separate meetings throughout 2018. Attendees includedcompany a fixed cost of approximately 13% of all landing fees that pilots, representatives from fixed-based operators and jet charterare collected, including international arrivals and general aviation. companies, airport officials and executives from Vector.Variables that affect landing fee billing include the volume of aircraft, Company officials, including Presidentaverage aircraft weight and the complexity of the fee structure. Some Pete Coleton and Vice President Tom Breen,airports have a list of aircraft that are exempt from landing fees, and presented objective data in an attempt tothose must be tracked and excluded from the billing process.assuage the unhappy airport users. At times,Heres how it works at DAL: Vector captures the aircraft it was contentious, Coleton recalls. In aoperations data using several technologies, fuses that data given meeting, there might be Tom [Breen]together, generates the invoices for landing/customs fees, and and/or myself, one of the airport officials andthen delivers them to thousands of DAL aircraft operators. It also about 30 to 35 skeptical airport users. staffs a U.S.-based, live call center to answer questions about PETE COLETON the invoices and help facilitate payment if needed. Airport officials This was a tough sell for the airport, since the pilots and private companies were beingreview the monthly reports, authorize Vector to claim its agreed-hit with a new expense. We were there toupon portion, and then receive the balance of the collected support airport officials in their presentations.landing fees. For example, in February 2022, international flights were charged approximately $111,000 in landing fees, and Breen explains that they shared detailedgeneral aviation operators and commercial charters were charged information about how Vectors landing feeapproximately $554,000. As those invoices were collected, Vector system had worked at other airports. Wewas authorized to retain 13% to cover the cost of PlanePass gave several case examples of how differentTOM BREEN operations, including equipment service and maintenance. The types of aircraft were charged at thoseairport then received the remaining 87% of collections. airports, so this gave the pilots at DAL at least some idea of what types of fees were commonplace at similar airports and theAn entirely different system is used at DAL to collect landing efficiencies offered by the PlanePass system, he says.fees from commercial airlines with scheduled service. Instead of using PlanePass, the airport audits the figures provided in monthly We also emphasized that once they got used to the newreports from the FAA control tower and sends bills directly to each system, they would see that it would eventually save them a lot ofof the airlines. time, in that all of their fees would be accumulated automatically, and they would get one monthly bill from Vector, Breen adds.The reports that PlanePass provides about airline operations do, And we showed what those bills looked like. however, still come into play by helping the airport audit carriers self-reported data. Hughes notes that DAL used to pay about Coleton reports that after many meetings, the majority of$75,000 per year for flight tracking data from another vendor stakeholders from the pilot community seemed to accept thatto use for comparative purposes, but it has since been able the fee was reasonable. Moreover, airport officials told attendeesto eliminate those costs since the PlanePass system provides at each meeting that they could avoid landing fees altogether bycommercial aircraft operations data to DAL as part of its service.using nearby Dallas Executive Airport, which is operated by DAL.AirportImprovement.comJuly | August 2022'