Almost all landing fees are based on the maximum take off weight of the aircraft and there are numerous ways to collect these landing fees.
The scheduled airlines usually pay per month based on their flight schedules and type of aircraft.
General aviation aircraft including corporate jets can be charged on the spot, or billed. Sometimes landing fees are waived if a certain amount of fuel is purchased. General aviation aircraft usually stop at a Fixed Base Operation (FBO) on the airport who have their own fuel and ramp facilities and the landing fee is sometimes collected by the FBO for the airport authority. Also some FBO’s charge a ramp fee if an aircraft just picks up or drops off passengers without purchasing fuel
Each airport has their own way of collecting landing fees, a lot of airports do not have a landing fee for small general aviation airplanes like C-150’s because its not worth the effort to collect the fee which could be only a few dollars. I have stopped at numerous airports for the preverbal $100 dollar hamburger without paying any fees
I have flown my C-150 into Newark Airport (EWR
), and Washington National (DCA
) and paid the landing fees to the FBO. At Teterboro (TEB) I was billed in the mail for the landing fee. Other than these 3 airports and maybe another 2 or 3 airports, I never paid a landing fee for my C-150 unless I stayed overnight and then sometimes I was charged a parking or tie down fee for the night. On some airports you can park on the airport operations ramp overnight for free instead of at an FBO, usually then it’s bring your own tie down ropes.
As far as I know, US Government and military aircraft do not pay landing fees at municipally owned airports, but can be charged ramp fees by the FBO, which are privately operated for using their space and these are usually charged to a government credit card, as is with any fuel purchases.