Saturday, April 1, 2006
Improvements in store for airports
County imposes action plan
By Marianne Love
The Pasadena (CA) Star-News
A plan to improve operations at five county-owned airports, including Brackett Field in La Verne and El Monte Airport, has been imposed on the private management company contracted to run the airfields. he county Board of Supervisors ordered a series of meetings, beginning this month, to lure and keep aviation-oriented businesses at regional airports, which have been in decline since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the East Coast.
Private pilots, business owners, airport commissioners and representatives from American Airports Corp., which manages all five county-owned airports, are expected to hammer out topics such as: rates and fees, contract management operations, proposed airport development and aviation versus non-aviation uses.
“The action plan corrects deficiencies,” Paul Novak, planning deputy to county Superintendent Michael Antonovich, said recently.
Novak said the plan calls for an independent appraisal to set rental rates and hangar uses for aviation and non-aviation tenants.
American Airports has agreed to a number of the proposals to improve communications and bolster activities at the airports.
Antonovich called for the plan, approved by the board on March 8, when constituents brought problems to his attention.
Tenants at Brackett Field and El Monte Monte Airport have lodged complaints about high hangar rates, a decrease in aviation operations, excessive amounts of non-aviation operators and a lack of security and poor communication with the management company and airport commissioners.
Representatives of Santa Monica-based American Airports Corp. did not return calls seeking comment. In the past AAC has denied the charges.
The FAA on Feb. 21 informed county officials to rein in the management company regarding alleged illegal fuel sales and ordered it to open its accounting books by the end of April.
Tulane Peterson, 53, an Arcadia attorney and pilot, filed charges late last year against the management company with the county and the FAA.
“The action plan indicates the county is responding. It’s a good first step, but falls significantly short of addressing the larger issues created by the management contract, which creates conflicts of interest between the management company and the stakeholders,” Peterson said.