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Sat, Apr 16, 2005

NATA Weighs In On Leasing Issues In San Diego

The actions by the City of San Diego to refuse the renewal of Gibbs Flying Service’s airport lease at Montgomery Field has prompted the National Transportation Association (NATA) to write to the San Diego City Council.

An NATA member company, Gibbs has been at the Montgomery Field airport for 68 years, actually running the airport for the first 11. Their last 35-year lease expires at the end of May and is not being renewed, despite Gibbs running a business in good standing at their location for almost 70 years, providing hangar space, a flight school, fuel and other services to hundreds of small-aircraft owners. Further, Gibbs is not being given the option of submitting an RFP for renewing of their lease and rather the airport is taking over the property to provide aviation services at the airport.

Gibbs would be receptive to the option, offered by the Real Estate Division, of providing fueling and positioning services until an RFP is issued, in order to maintain a rightful presence, but not if an RFP will never be issued. 

“Gibbs Flying Service represents a significant rental income to the city, and it appears that the city wants that income without providing for the amenities and services needed by the tenants of Montgomery Field,” stated Eric R. Byer, NATA vice president of government and industry affairs. “We are extremely disappointed in how the City of San Diego is handling the issue and have concerns regarding their leasing practices.”

NATA has asked the City Council to stay the Gibbs Flying Service lease termination so an RFP can be issued and the Airport Division can compete equally with other responders to improve, provide the services of, and manage the facility. 

The association strongly encourages the use of an RFP for available land at an airport, as it gives the airport operator a fair and open process of selecting the best business to operate that available property. NATA believes that even if the airport intends to run the services from the property in question, aviation service businesses, including Gibbs Flying Service, should be given the fair opportunity to apply to offer those services. 

While the property rightly belongs to the airport operator and an airport has the right to offer the aeronautical services itself if it so desires, in a competitive aviation market it is best that professionals offering these services have the opportunity to make a proposal to begin or continue operating at the airport. Airports should be discouraged from offering these services to the tenants themselves, as it is best left to the aeronautical service professionals.  



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