SBIAA Runway
The Grand Jury´s extensive criticism of the San Bernardino International Airport last year has been followed by a report this year concluding airport officials have now followed all of the Grand Jury´s recommendations. Is this another sign of turn-around for the airport, now that a developer has been removed from it and is instead facing felony charges? Airport officials and Mayor Pat Morris will say yes, and good times are ahead. Other critics will say no, the airport still has insurmountable obstacles. (Sun staff file photo)

By Ryan Hagen, The Sun
Posted: 08/21/13, 8:41 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> The San Bernardino International Airport board voted unanimously Wednesday to negotiate a contract to market the airport.

“We have amazing facilities,” said Ovidiu Popescu, vice president of the airport commission, “and we need to look more at the market and take advantage of that. We need a professional to look at marketing the airport more aggressively.”

The board’s vote authorizes Interim Executive Director A.J. Wilson to negotiate a contract with Long Beach-based Nostrum Inc. for up to $200,000.

Wilson said he expects to have a contract in place by September and the first stage of marketing done by the end of the year.

“We’re very pleased that we were able to align on what we think was a top firm,” Wilson said. “They’ve done work for the Long Beach Airport and Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau and should do well at, first, starting on a first-phase program that will help us define a strategy for marketing the various facilities at the airport.”

The marketing strategy will begin with determining who might use the airport and defining the airport’s “brand,” then evolve into a strategic marketing plan, communication strategy and eventually a website redesign, apps and industry outreach.

The airport commission first voted in April to issue a request for qualifications for firms interested in providing marketing services for the airport. Since May, submissions have been reviewed by airport staff and a committee of three commission members — San Bernardino Mayor Pat Morris, Popescu and county Supervisor James Ramos.

“I am pleased we are moving forward with a marketing study that will explore potential revenue sources for the airport,” Ramos said in an email. “Creating economic stability at the airport requires a thorough analysis of the current successful businesses in operation such as those providing aircraft maintenance services. We look forward to working with Nostrum Inc. to highlight more development opportunities that will help grow our local economy.”

The potential $200,000 contract amount is a $50,000 increase from the amount allotted for professional marketing services in the airport’s 2013-14 budget. The increase was also approved Wednesday, Popescu said.

The commission must vote on the specifics of the contract again after Wilson and Nostrum negotiate them.

In other airport developments, the airport and Inland Valley Development Agency — responsible for development in the area surrounding the airport — have posted an opening for a finance director. That position has long been filled on an interim basis by the assistant finance director, Wilson said.