The San Bernardino International Airport Authority has authorized a request for qualifications from companies interested in providing marketing services to the airport.
In its efforts to achieve maximum utilization and exposure for the airport, the Airport Authority is commissioning a broad marketing study to examine all the services and facilities available at the airport that can help it generate revenue.
For years, the Airport Authority has been making every effort to convert the former Norton Air Force Base into a bustling commercial passenger airport, but has so far been unsuccessful in drawing a major airline despite a multi-million-dollar renovated passenger terminal and reinforced runway.
In March, the airport commissioned Wisconsin-based Mead & Hunt to evaluate data relating to commercial airline operating costs and passenger demand.
On Wednesday, the airport board approved the request for qualifications from other companies for an analysis of the non-commercial airline business element at the airport.
"Mead and Hunt is specifically focused on evaluating data that relates to the possibilities of getting commercial passenger service. The marketing study that we approved yesterday is an effort to create a marketing program for all aspects of the airport," said A.J. Wilson, the airport's interim executive director.
County Supervisor James Ramos, the newest member to the airport board, suggested in February that another company come aboard to focus solely on the services and facilities available at the airport that can generate an influx of additional revenue.
"It's a vital component that is being overlooked that could bring some kind of revitalization there at the airport," Ramos said Thursday. "But we have to make sure there are amenities and components that fit with the vision that some have that commercial airlines will come forth at some time in the near future. "
He said that despite the recession and the debacle involving former airport developer Scot Spencer, who now faces criminal charges for allegedly defrauding taxpayers out of more than $1 million, service companies that have been operating at the airport, such as ADI Aviation & Defense, Inc., among others, have been creating jobs and expanding their services.
"The business component, they're there now, so we have to be able to include them in an overall market study of the airport," Ramos said.
The deadline for companies submitting their request for qualifications to the Airport Authority is May 27, and a company should be selected in June, Wilson said.