General aviation pilots at Greater Rochester International Airport are facing steep cost increases following the closure of one of the airport's two fixed-base operators. "We've been operating a certain way for the last 10 years and now the rules have changed," says the business manager of a local flight school. But USAirports, the remaining FBO operator, says increased rents are an economic necessity. Local authorities set lease rates for airport facilities, and FBOs must pass their costs along to tenants. Though big, national FBOs may price their services under market in order to gain customers, the model is not sustainable in the long term, says USAirports CEO Anthony Costello. Local officials have formed a committee to review FBO pricing, fearing that many owners may be forced to move their aircraft to smaller fields in nearby communities.
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