The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association's two-year-long opposition to a privatization plan for San Diego's Brown Field Municipal Airport (SDM) succeeded when the city council voted unanimously to maintain local control of the airport.
"This vote helps secure the future of general aviation at Brown Field," said Bill Dunn, AOPA vice president of regional affairs.
Brown Field was one of five airports nationwide that are scheduled to be privatized—that is, sold or leased to a private developer—under a congressionally ordered demonstration program.
But the plan being considered for Brown Field would have harmed general aviation. Brown Field Aviation Partners (BFAP) planned to turn the airport into a large cargo-handling facility. General aviation would have been relegated to a small patch on the airport, with no plans for improvement.
"BFAP failed to take into consideration our members' core needs and those of the existing businesses on the airport," said Bill Dunn, AOPA vice president of regional affairs. "Instead, the airport would have been converted into a regional cargo hub and high-end business-jet facility at the expense of existing tenants and businesses."
The project was to have broken ground one year ago, but in the face of mounting opposition, a decision was deferred to a new council and mayor. More than 1,000 opponents attended the public meeting where the plan was defeated by an 8-0 vote.