A couple of years ago construction was completed on a new 3,408 by 61 meters runway capable of handling 680,388 kilograms. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The runway was constructed to Group 6 category, capable of accommodating the Airbus A380,Ã¢â‚¬Â reports Bill Ingraham, SBD aviation director. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Plans also accommodate extending the runway to 3,444 meters, when necessary.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Other improvements include over 81 hectares of paved ramp areas, new Category I Instrument Landing System (ILS), Automated Weather Observation System III, fair weather climate and 24 hours per day, seven days per week service capability.
In short, SBD is a fully certified FAA Part 139 airport able to accommodate a variety of operations, including heavy aircraft maintenance, air cargo, as well as passenger and general aviation flights.
Although cargo facilities have not yet been constructed, officials at SBD have identified locations at the airport where such facilities can be built.
Air cargo buildings are planned for around 46,451 square meters and the site approximately 12 hectares, Ingraham says. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We have identified greenfield areas adjacent to the taxiway and anticipate 117,057 square meters at the ramp for air cargo parking and truck staging.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Currently, cargo handling occurs on the ramp and at least for now, only charters utilise the airport.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We are trying to make sure we have the capability to handle increased volumes when trade picks up,Ã¢â‚¬Â he says. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We are positioning ourselves for Asia and have been in regular communication with Asian carriers.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ingraham maintains, however, SBD officials are not in a hurry to construct facilities. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We know we will be successful,Ã¢â‚¬Â he says. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We would rather do what is right for a carrier. We want to meet their specific needs.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Giving SBD an advantage is its optimal location for air cargo and logistics management for companies conducting businesses in Los Angeles, Southern California, Mexico and the US intermountain regions of Denver, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas and Phoenix. SBD can easily access these markets because it is surrounded by major interstate freeways, according to Ingraham.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Within any direction we are two or three miles from the interstate system, which gives easy access for logistics,Ã¢â‚¬Â he comments. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We are a crossroad for cargo going to Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.Ã¢â‚¬Â
SBD also has excellent local surface transportation access, is in a congestionfree air corridor and is located within two miles of a major intermodal BNSF Railway facility. Ã¢â‚¬Å“More so, the region has developed a tremendous warehouse capability,Ã¢â‚¬Â Ingraham adds. Ã¢â‚¬Å“SBD is well positioned as a consolidation/distribution center for both air cargo and ground shipments.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Key investment focus
Economically diversified itself, SBD is investing in four market areas: Aircraft maintenance facilities, general aviation, commercial passenger business, and air cargo. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Maintenance is the most successful to date,Ã¢â‚¬Â Ingraham says.
Because SBD is located on the former Norton Air Force Base, its site offers a number of large hangers that can be renovated, two of which can accommodate Airbus and Boeing aircraft.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“This is significant in the long run because it provides assurance that customer issues can be dealt with,Ã¢â‚¬Â he says.
At present, facilities are being completed to accommodate both general aviation and passenger needs. By the end of the year, a terminal for a scheduled domestic passenger service will be completed and ready for use. No doubt, SBD is ready for the future. Ã¢â‚¬Å“And we are well capitalised,Ã¢â‚¬Â he adds. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We are doing things right rather than trying to make aquick buck.