Lease heralds brighter future for California airport

August 19, 2009

oceanside In January 2007, the FAA told the city that it must keep the airport open in perpetuity because part of the airport property was acquired with federal funds specifically for airport development. (Photo Credit: Jot Powers)

The city of Oceanside has approved a re-negotiated development lease with a private contractor to manage, operate, and develop Oceanside Municipal Airport.

The 50-year lease, issued earlier this year, allows Los Angeles-based Airport Property Ventures (APV) to take over airport operations in September. The FAA had been concerned that the lease could have allowed the use of airport revenue for nonaviation purposes, and so the city and APV modified it to eliminate the possibility of diversion of airport revenue.

“Local pilots and AOPA have worked for years to fight efforts to close the airport,” said AOPA Vice President of Local Airport Advocacy Bill Dunn. “The lease is a sign that the city is committed to developing its aviation resources and fulfilling its grant obligations.”

APV, a company that includes former executives of the agency that runs Los Angeles International Airport, has promised to spend $21 million on airport improvements over the next 25 years.

AOPA has been actively involved in working with Oceanside users and the Oceanside Airport Association to fight attempts to sell airport property and place restrictions on airport use.

In 2006, airport supporters scored a major victory when AOPA–backed education efforts led to the election of pro–airport council members. Then in January 2007, the FAA told the city that it must keep the airport open in perpetuity because part of the airport property was acquired with federal funds specifically for airport development. Last year, the FAA denied a request to sell nearly 15 acres of land adjacent to the airport, saying the property is needed for aviation purposes.