San Bernadino international Airport (SBD) and it’s fixed-base operator (FBO), Luxivair SBD, hit headlines recently for showcasing the depth of its commitment to environmentally friendly practices.
The airport invested in a range of low and zero emission ground support equipment (GSE), partnered up with car rental company StratoShare to offer its customers hydrogen-powered sedans, and converted to energy efficient LED lighting throughout its operation.
“Luxivair SBD’s core values include environmentally sustainable equipment and practices that our customers and community can rely on,” said Mark Gibbs, director of aviation for the San Bernardino International Airport.
The moves appear forward-thinking, but also prudent during a year marked by global climate change protests, with Collins Dictionary even picking “climate strike” as its word of the year for 2019.
And indeed, the green push is not the only project SBD has on the horizon – with a series of short, medium and long-term plans aimed at maximising its development on several fronts.
“We’re presently investing in additional bonded warehouse space and a new regional air cargo hub project,” said Gibbs. “Additional pavement, ramp, runway extensions, hangar development, and terminal upgrades are on the mid-term and long-term horizons. We are also expanding our marketing programs for Luxivair SBD.”
In a difficult year for aviation all round, has marketing been one of the bigger challenges for the Southern California reliever airport?
“As a newer entrant into the corporate and business aviation marketplace, we have put a great deal of effort into generating brand awareness both domestically and internationally – particularly getting the industry to take notice of our US Customs capability and incredible service,” said Gibbs. “We’ve come a long way, but there is still much more we can do.”
Even assuming the industry does take notice though, it has been suffering itself from airline collpapses, air traffic control (ATC) strikes, and other strike action throughout the ear. Has this had any impact on SBD at all?
“Thankfully, we are a fairly diverse airport with a significant maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) presence which has allowed us to weather several downturns in the industry – our newest update to our wildlife management plan has also helped in ensuring we and our customers stay safe,” said Gibbs.
Speaking of diversity, MRO capabilities are not the only thing SBD is hoping to rely on in the future, with new and emerging market trends helping to drive growth at the airport.
“Air cargo has been our emerging segment which has significantly increased operations and fuel sales,” said Gibbs. “In just over 2 short years in the business, we are on track to be in the top 100 air cargo airports in the U.S. this year. Corporate jet traffic which are clearing customs at our FBO Luxivair SBD continues to grow every year.”
Growth may be continuing, but there are a lot of airports around Los Angeles – is this airport competition a healthy thing, or are there simply too many?
“In our case, the overall Southern California market has been experiencing unprecedented growth, so we are fortunately all benefitting,” said Gibbs. “Luxivair SBD has been very fortunate to have seen double digit growth every year over the past five years.”
With great growth comes great responsibility, and SBD is also home to one of the busiest USFS Aerial Tanker Bases in the United States. How does the airport approach the threats faced by modern airfields, specifically drones?
“SBD was one of the first Southern California Airports to reach out to the drone community – we specifically updated our web interface and website to provide information and guidance to drone pilots and companies in the area,” said Gibbs.
“We worked with our tower operators to include additional training and customer service support to those looking to obtain permissions and get additional information. With FAA’s recent changes – we continue to update our processes.”