AOPA is urging the City of San Diego to continue to offer high-quality services to pilots at Montgomery Field if it continues with plans to take over the operation of the leasehold when Gibbs Flying Service, a fixed-base operator (FBO) at the airport, leaves in May.
"Our principal concern is to ensure that our members receive the same quality services they have enjoyed over the years that Mr. Gibbs has always provided," wrote Bill Dunn, AOPA vice president of airports, in a letter to San Diego Mayor Dick Murphy.
The city is facing budget constraints and pressure on the Airport Enterprise Account because of recent litigation. But the city's desire to bolster the account's finances cannot be solved simply by taking over operation of an FBO. They must continue to provide services that meet pilots' needs.
"Operating an airport as the management organization and operating an FBO are two totally different worlds with little commonality outside of the fact that aircraft are involved," Dunn explained.
AOPA has informed the city that it is imperative to immediately establish a flight training facility in place of Gibbs Flying Service and to continue to provide skilled flight instruction and other services to the general aviation community.
"To ignore or sidestep these necessary services will surely have a detrimental impact on the airport's bottom line," Dunn said.
March 11, 2005