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Landmark Aviation today announced that it won a 37-year lease from the San Diego Airport Authority to operate the full service FBO at Lindbergh Field formerly known as JimsAir. Ordinarily, winning a new lease for your local FBO hardly is newsworthy.But in the case of Landmark Aviation at Lindbergh, the lease contract could be characterized as a "landmark decision." The Bracamonte family started JimsAir, named for patriarch Jim Bracamonte, at Lindbergh in 1952. For a decade, starting in 1998, the Bracamontes tried unsuccessfully to nail down a long term lease with the San Diego Port District, previous operator of Lindbergh Field. The family offered to invest more than $17-million in improvements, including a new aviation themed restaurant to replace the long defunct Boom Trenchard's Flare Path sited atop the old JimsAir building on the northside of Runway 27. No dice.Management responsibility for the airport was spun off to the Regional Airport Authority in 2003. The Bracamonte's legal counsel Lee Burdick also was stymied at every turn in her efforts to get a long term commitment from the Airport Authority. In didn't help that San Diegans were in the midst of a intense debate regarding whether to shut down Lindbergh Field and relocate San Diego international airport to another location that would have accommodated multiple runways and greater air traffic capacity. But, every alternative site proved unacceptable, mainly because of the Not In My Back Yard attitudes of new airport neighbors.The NIMBYs eventually won out and Lindbergh Field now remains the main air carrier airport in San Diego County. That was the time when a new long term lease should have been made available to the Bracamontes. But, still no dice.After severely costly and time consuming legal battles with the SD Port Commission and SD Regional Airport Authority, the Bracamontes gave up in 2008 and sold the JimsAir franchise to Landmark Aviation in 2008.Four years later, Landmark Aviation won a 37-year lease that virtually guarantees the availability of a general aviation FBO at San Diego Lindbergh Field during that time period. Hoorah for Landmark. I just regret that SD politicos forced out the Bracamonte's JimsAir after it had served the GA community so diligently for 56 years.
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