Santa Clara Airports News
As the new year unfolds, this is a good time to provide an update on what is happening with your County Airports.
In addition to day to day management of the airports, we are working on the following items which you may find interesting.
- Leases for RHV and E16 FBO's
- Federal Grant Application for E16
- Possible Land-Use Plan Scenarios at RHV
- San Martin Skydiving Permits
- New Airfield Access Procedures
- New Webpage for Improved Communication
1. FBO Leases
San Martin Airport
The current lease for Magnum Aviation at San Martin Airport expires on December 11, 2020. In October the Board of Supervisors directed staff to advertise for a new FBO lease at San Martin Airport. To assist in that endeavor, staff is in the midst of selecting an aviation consultant with experience writing modern FBO lease agreements and Request For Proposals to ensure that the new agreement meets the current needs of the airport users and the County.
One of the big changes that will occur on December 11th revolves around the current disposition of the individual hangars on the FBO leasehold. Most of those hangars are covered under an agreement for occupancy that expires concurrently with the FBO lease. Almost all of the current hangar tenants are paying ground rent at this time. Beginning December 12th, those agreements will no longer be in effect and the successful FBO leaseholder will be developing new rental agreements for those hanger occupants wishing to extend occupancy under the new terms. It is certain that the cost of renting a hangar from the new FBO will be at current market rates.
Historically, the cost of operating San Martin Airport has been subsidized by the income generated at Reid-Hillview, a majority of which comes from the RHV hangar rental. This change in situation at San Martin will allow the County to generate additional rental income from the FBO leasehold thereby reducing the subsidy.
Airport staff will hold a meeting at E16 in February to discuss the RFP and get your input as to what is important for a new San Martin FBO. Expect an email shortly with details of the meeting.
At Reid-Hillview, there are currently nine long-term leases, most more than fifty years old, that expire simultaneously on December 31, 2021. Once the RFP for San Martin is completed, staff will be working with the selected consultant to update many of those existing leases to bring them up to current standard while recognizing that there is some uncertainty regarding the future of the Reid-Hillview airport.
This also provides an opportunity to improve the revenue stream to the Airport Enterprise Fund (AEF). As mentioned, the majority of the AEF revenue is derived from RHV hangar tenants. About 10 % of the AEF revenue comes from FBO rent. The new leases for the FBO's at RHV will be reflective of the current market.
2. Federal Grant for San Martin Airport
The Board also directed county staff to apply for Airport Capital Improvement Program (ACIP) grant funding for San Martin Airport. We are currently working on the grant application and expect it to be submitted to the FAA in March. The grant request will be to reimburse the General Fund for the cost of paving and marking the San Martin runways and taxiways which was completed in 2018.
3. Land Planning for RHV
Last fall, the Board authorized the use of a consultant group to put together ideas to re-imagine land uses at Reid-Hillview Airport. Gensler was selected as the consultant and they have been working on a plan to invite the public for input. There will be two public meetings scheduled in the near future to take input from county residents. As airport users, your voice is important, and you will receive an invitation to the meetings. Check our website for updated information on the meeting dates and locations.
4. Skydiving Permits
We have had continued interest from two skydiving operators that would like to utilize San Martin Airport. Both have current skydiving operations in the area at other airports and are working with County staff to meet the insurance requirements prior to being issued a permit.
5. Reid-Hillview Airfield Access Procedures
Reid-Hillview continues to have challenges with unauthorized access to the airport. To continue our effort to address these issues, staff will be instituting a new Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) at Reid-Hillview for access to the ramp, beginning February 1, 2020. One of the biggest changes will be the use by staff of remote operation of the gate. Staff will no longer remotely operate the vehicle gate until you have provided yourself and your ID to staff in the operations office. Your information will be validated with our records. Since the Airport Operations Staff is frequently out of the building, this means if you forget your card, or it has expired, it is going to take extra time to obtain vehicle gate access. Additionally, tenant guests and transients will no longer be allowed unescorted access to the airport An authorized individual with a current card key must meet the guest at the gate and escort them at all times.
Another change we will ask your help with is to use the vehicle gate only for vehicle traffic. Please do not use the vehicle gate if you are walking or riding a bike, scooter, skateboard, etc. At RHV there is a pedestrian gate at the wash rack, about 25 yards to the west, for pedestrian traffic. At E16 the pedestrian gate is about 50 yards to the east of the vehicle gate. One of the most serious incidents last year occurred when a pedestrian opened the gate for himself and another vehicle drove through. That vehicle ended up on the runway as an aircraft was on taking off. Fortunately, the airplane was airborne by the time it reached the vehicle, but it could have been much worse.