The general aviation procedures at the Horry County Department of Airports seem to raise more questions than answers provided.
The county is currently involved in litigation with Skydive Myrtle Beach over the apparently discriminatory way in which the airport department attempted to treat the skydiving company.
While researching information regarding the ongoing litigation between Skydive Myrtle Beach and Horry County, I came across an interesting piece of information that brings into question leases between the airport department and several individual businesses operating at county airports.
Horry County proposed Skydive Myrtle Beach occupy a hangar at Grand Strand Airport under a space use agreement in which the county would charge Skydive Myrtle Beach $1,200 per month or 24% of the gross receipts of the business, whichever is greater.
The Department of Airport leases with Executive Helicopter at Myrtle Beach International Airport include an annual lease amount or 5% of the gross receipts, whichever is greater.
Skydive Myrtle Beach offered tandem skydiving operations to interested customers. Executive Helicopters provides helicopter sightseeing rides as well as maintenance services.
However, under the terms of what is commonly called the United States Anti Head Tax Act, it appears those charges on gross receipts may be illegal.
The US Department of Transportation, under which the FAA is included, is charged with administering the AHTA.
The AHTA prohibits a state or political subdivision (such as a county) from levying or collecting a: “tax, fee, head charge, or other charge [directly or indirectly] on — an individual traveling in air commerce; … or the gross receipts derived from that air commerce or transportation. 49 U.S.C. § 40116(b)(1), (4).”