According to the National Air Transportation Association (NATA), the city of San Diego was out of line when it tried to take over the FBO concession at Montgomery Field by not considering renewing the existing FBO’s lease. But in late May, the city conceded to allowing Gibbs Flying Service to sign a minimum one-year lease “hold over” so the city candevelop a request for proposal (RFP) in conjunction with the Airport Advisory Committee and airport users.
Gibbs Flying Service actually owned the airport for the first 11 of its 68 years at Montgomery Field. A 35-year lease with the city expired at the end of May and was not being renewed, despite Gibbs’ having operated as a family business in the same location for almost 70 years, providing hangar space, maintenance, avionics, fuel and other services. The city did not give Gibbs the option of submitting a bid to renew its lease and told the company the airport would take over the property to provide aviationservices at the airport.
NATA asked the San Diego city council to stay Gibbs Flying Service’s lease termination so an RFP could be issued requiring the city to compete equally with other responders. NATA president James Coyne has been vocal in his belief that aviation service businesses such as Gibbs Flying Service should be given a fairopportunity to offer those services when faced with airport authorities that seek to take over the concession. Buzz Gibbs of Gibbs Flying Service said, “NATA’s support was helpful in getting the city council to overturn the actions of the city’s airport and real-estate staff.”