About Us

Division Description

The Airports Division, part of the City's Real Estate Assets Department, is responsible for operating two general aviation airports, Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport and Brown Field, within the City of San Diego. General aviation includes all aviation activities except scheduled airline and military flights, although Brown Field accommodates a sizeable number of military operations. The two airports support a significant portion of the San Diego region's total annual flight operations, and can accommodate a variety of General Aviation aircraft. Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport is the busiest general aviation airport in the San Diego region and Brown Field has the longest available civilian runway in the region. Aviation lessees include: fixed base operators that provide fuel, aircraft maintenance and aircraft storage facilities, flight schools, San Diego Fire-Rescue Department helicopter operations, San Diego Police Department's Air Support Unit, emergency medical transport operations, and several hundred individual aircraft owners.The majority of the Airports' revenues are derived from non-aviation lessees that include: a hotel, business park, restaurants, Fire Station 43, City Field Engineering Division, San Diego Police Department's Eastern Division, office space tenants, and other individual lessees. Airport Division staff has the responsibility of maintaining the airports in conformance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations and Grant Assurances, as well as, administering the various leases.

Airports Division Business Plan

The “Airports Division Business Plan (2015)” is intended to ensure that the City’s airports system is operated safely and efficiently, is in compliance with all appropriate regulations, is financially self-sufficient, encourages airport business growth and opportunities, is customer focused both internally and externally, maximizes the City’s Return on Investment for Airport property, and is managed by professional airport management staff. The goals and objectives were evaluated using the “SMART” and “GROW” models in order to clarify and refine both. “Action Plans,” articulated in the plan, address the attainment of specific goals/objectives and were developed by answering the “Six Ws.” (See attached for “SMART” & “GROW” models, and the “Six W’s”.) This plan is intended to be a “living and working” document that adapts as conditions change.

The Airports Division management team is committed to making the City of San Diego’s airports world renowned general aviation transportation portals serving a world class City.

To develop, operate and maintain Montgomery-Gibbs and Brown Field airports as world class General Aviation Reliever airports, providing access to the National Air Transportation System in a safe, efficient, economically self-sufficient, environmentally sensitive, and professional manner.

World renowned General Aviation airports, to serve a world-class city.


  • Integrity

    • Do the right thing
    • Be ethical, truthful, and fair
    • Take responsibility for our actions
  • Service
    • Exhibit pride in all that we do
    • Treat others as we would like to be treated
    • Anticipate and promptly respond to requests
  • People
    • Value customers and employees as partners
    • Recognize that an engaged City workforce is the key to quality customer service
    • Promote diversity as a strength
  • Excellence
    • Foster a high performance culture
    • Establish clear standards and predictable processes
    • Measure results and seek improvement in everything we do

Goals and Objectives

  1. Ensure City Airports are operated safely and efficiently.

    1. Inspect the airports every day, morning, and evening per FAA standards.​
    2. Pass annual California Department of Transporation (Caltrans) Aeronautics inspections.
    3. Maintain capability for emergency repairs.
  2. Ensure the Airports comply with all applicable federal, state, and local regulations as access portals to the National Air Transportation System.
    1. Ensure that the Airport Master Plans for both Brown Field and Montgomery-Gibbs are current and valid.
    2. Update Airport Layout Plans as required and include narratives for new projects.
    3. Publish an Airports Operations Policy Manual to ensure compliance with all FAA requirements regarding Airport Operations and all FAA Airport Improvement Program Grant Assurances.
    4. Conduct annual hangar and facility inspections.
    5. Correct discrepancies found during inspections in a timely manner in accordance with the Airports Operations Policy Manual.
  3. Ensure the City’s airports are financially self-sufficient, maximize aviation uses, and invest in Airports infrastructure.
    1. Ensure that all available Airports properties are held under appropriate leases or use agreements, with no lease in a “hold-over” status.
    2. Offer long term leases to the “Tiedown” tenants with hangars.
    3. Maximize the City’s Return on Investment by ensuring that all leases comply with City policies, are monitored regularly, and are based on market rate studies.
    4. Ensure that Airports “Rates and Charges” are evaluated annually to be fair and reasonable, and are adjusted appropriately in accordance with City policy.
    5. Annually publish an “Airports Division Business Plan” which will be presented to the Airports Advisory Committee and the Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations Committee.
  4. Create a climate in which airport businesses and local businesses are able to thrive and contribute to a resilient and economically prosperous City.
    1. Update the Airport Master Plans for both Brown Field and Montgomery Field.
    2. By Jan. 1, 2016, publish and keep updated a “Minimum Standards” document that encourages, promotes, and ensures that all commercial operations permitted on the Airports comply with all FAA Airport Improvement Program Grant Assurances.
  5. Be customer focused and responsive to citizen’s concerns, particularly noise and safety concerns.
    1. Continue to seek and embrace public input, keeping a record of that input.
    2. Continue to involve the Airport Advisory Committee users, citizens, and other interested parties in the operation, utilization and development of the Airports.
    3. Ensure that the pilot community is aware of airport noise regulations and that the airport noise regulations are uniformly enforced with appropriate documentation.
    4. Facilitate public “informational meetings” to communicate the impacts of moving the threshold of R 28R no later than Jan. 1, 2016.
    5. Create a “Customer Satisfaction Survey” to be distributed and evaluated by April 1, 2016.  Results of the Customer Survey to be reported annually to the Airports Advisory Committee and the Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations Committee.
    6. Document the response of all noise complaints within two business days.
    7. Beginning in October 2015, Airport Managers will publish a staggered, bi-annual airport specific electronic newsletter.
  6. Be extraordinary stewards of Airports property, especially environmentally unique and sensitive habitat.
    1. Inspect Airports Division properties and real property improvements weekly to ensure that all Airports properties are maintained in the best possible condition and that environmentally sensitive habitat, on the airports, is maintained and protected in accordance with appropriate standards.
    2. Airports staff will conduct annual inspections of all Airports Division property emphasizing Fire and Life Safety issues along with occupancy usage.
    3. Utilize and refine the existing Airports Properties Management plan to annually track and update all Airport Lease Agreements and Airport owned real property assets, to ensure that the inventory of such is accurate and current, reflecting all aeronautical and non-aeronautical uses.
  7. Retain and recruit experienced professionals, well versed in airport management and provide recurrent training to maintain a high level of competency.
    1. Hire new employees, particularly Airport Operations staff, with aviation experience and aviation education.
    2. In conjunction with the Fiscal Year 2016 Mid-Year Review, request to add one fulltime employee to hire another Airport Operations Assistant for Montgomery Field.
    3. Each fiscal year provide employees paid opportunities to attend professional conferences and workshops related to the airport industry.
    4. Pay for membership in the American Association of Airport Executives for employees and encourage Certification and/or Accreditation from the organization by paying expenses associated with the process.
    5. Develop employees and recognize employees who demonstrate exceptional performance and knowledge in the airport management field by promoting them to increased responsibilities and positions.