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    Welcome to the Ambassablog! We're the front-line employee bloggers of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority and participants in the Airport Authority's Goodwill Ambassador Program.

    Here you'll find our continually updated posts about life at historic San Diego International Airport (Lindbergh Field).

    Take a look around, and Email us if there's something you'd like to see added to the Ambassablog or covered in future posts.
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    For questions or information about this blog and other social media tools used by San Diego International Airport, contact:
    Steven Shultz, M.S.
    Deputy Director, Public & Community Relations /
    San Diego County Regional Airport Authority: sshultz@san.org

More than just SDIA!

 

Brown Field Municipal Airport in southern San Diego County, near the border with Mexico, is one of ten General Aviation airports in the county.

Have you ever wondered why we’re called a county regional airport authority, instead of, say, the San Diego International Airport Authority?  A lot of people mistakenly believe that we’re an arm of San Diego’s county government because of our name, but that’s not the case. So what’s the reason for our name? It’s been a while since the Ambassablog delved into this, so it seems time for a refresher—and an expanded lesson.

While the Airport Authority operates just one airport, SDIA, we were created by the state with two other mandated functions:  to serve as the regional aviation planning coordinator for the county and to serve as the county airport land use commission.

The latter responsibility is what makes up my job – doing land use compatibility planning for other airports in the county through their adopted Airport Land Use Compatibility Plans( ALUCPs).  I also contributed to the Regional Aviation Strategic Plan (RASP) adopted by the Airport Authority last year.  It evaluated several of these airports for ways to optimize the regional aviation system.

Have you ever seen Fallbrook Community Airpark? Here it is.

So what are those other airports?  There is only one other commercial service airport in the county, McClellan-Palomar in Carlsbad.  Both it and SDIA each also has a general aviation component.  The 10 other public-use airports in the county are strictly for GA:

But the question is often asked, “What exactly is general aviation?”

Ever wonder how your GPS gets its mapping data?  Or how our largely rural international border is monitored?  Or even more basic: how do they maintain many of the massive farm fields that produce our food and nursery plants?

All of these functions and more are largely handled through GA airports! Here are just some of the vital roles handled through these facilities:

  • Emergency preparedness and response, medical transport, and search & rescue missions
  • Aerial firefighting
  • Law enforcement, customs, and homeland/border security
  • Emergency flight diversion
  • Remote community and wilderness access (e.g., islands and reservations)
  • Charter passenger services (e.g., tours, sports and music events)
  • Mail/package delivery and air cargo
  • Corporate transportation
  • Flight instruction
  • Agricultural crop-dusting support
  • Aerial surveying
  • Oil and mineral exploration
  • Utility/pipeline monitoring and inspection
  • Aviation manufacturing, distribution, and maintenance industries
  • Aerospace engineering and research
  • Low-orbit space launch and landing
  • Special public events (e.g., air shows, skydiving)

Ramona Airport.

Whew!  That’s quite a list.  Most people rarely think about GA airports, but they really contribute to our wellbeing.  Life without them would be a lot harder for sure.

So the next time you think about flying, consider that it’s more than just commercial airlines ferrying passengers.  GA airports enhance our daily lives in many ways, so we’re proud to be a County Regional Airport Authority, planning to protect these vital assets in the San Diego region.

San Diego County’s 10 GA airports are part of a network of nearly 3,000 general aviation airports across the country, making their numbers far greater than the commercial service airports with which the flying public is better acquainted.

SDIA has done a good job spreading the word about the economic benefits of our airport, summed up in the slogan “Airports Fuel Regional Economies.”   But GA airports are also critically important to the economic vitality of the regions they serve—far beyond just the recreational pilots and passengers who use them.

 

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Talk about teamwork …

Nyle, the Airport Authority's Manager of Concession Development.

There are great team players everywhere.  Here is the story of one of our own….

Nyle, the Airport Authority’s Manager of Concession Development, was recently tasked with heading the selection process for San Diego International Airport’s new Concessions Development Program (CDP). Nyle was charged with engaging all stakeholders, acting as staff liaison to the CDP evaluation panel, and working with the Airport Authority’s Procurement Department to ensure an impartial and transparent selection process.

In preparation for the airport’s old master concessionaire arrangement coming to an end at the end of 2012 due to lease expiration, 16 Request for Proposal (RFP) packages for new food and retail concessions were already on the street, and responses were coming in. Interest from both local and national concessionaires was intense, and the timeline was tight.

Click the image above to see larger images of where all the great new shops and restaurants are going to be located at San Diego International Airport, starting in December 2012.

With a keen understanding of the Airport Authority’s collaborative culture, Nyle starting knocking on doors. He believes, as does the Airport Authority, in an “inclusive” approach to teamwork.

As he identified and engaged stakeholders, Nyle took the time to talk with each of them on the importance of their role in the effort. Where he felt he needed extraordinary support, he worked hard to obtain it. Through an ongoing, two-way dialogue, he was able to establish a trust level among stakeholders that extended all the way to the President/CEO’s office.As a result, everyone knew their role and what they could expect from Nyle.

As the effort gained momentum, Nyle made multiple presentations to the Airport Authority Board (which he identified as one of his key stakeholders).  These presentations were crafted to provide a clear and consistent message across all 16 concession packages.

Nyle kept on point as he disseminated information about the program, both within the Airport Authority and externally to concessionaires and the San Diego community.

Stakeholders came away proud to be part of a very successful effort and with a great appreciation for the collaborative skills of Nyle.The selection process concluded on time and won Board approval of staff’s recommendation for all 16 concession packages. As a result, SDIA will offer more than 80 great new food and retail concessions beginning in December, 2012.

Give us five, Nyle!

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