By Joe Nelson, The Sun
and Ryan Hagen, San Bernardino Sun
Posted: 02/17/14, 9:06 PM PST |

SAN BERNARDINO >> After two years of organizational restructuring following a federal criminal investigation, San Bernardino International Airport will see a spate of new development in the next year, including dozens of new hangars and construction of the Sheriff’s Department’s new aviation division.

It’s development airport officials see as promising at a time when not far to the west Ontario is struggling to gain control of its airport.

County supervisors are preparing to enter into a 25-year, $11.6-million lease agreement with SBIA to relocate the sheriff’s aviation division from Rialto Airport, which is closing June 30, to San Bernardino.

“The movement of the sheriff’s aviation division to SBIA will have a major positive effect and be the basis for creating a new general aviation area that will not only house the sheriff but also include additional tenants in general aviation hangars,” said A.J. Wilson, executive director at San Bernardino International Airport.

If all goes according to schedule, the sheriff’s aviation division, which has been housed at Rialto Airport since 1971, hopes to be moved in at San Bernardino and operational in January or February 2015. The new facility will consolidate the division’s emergency operations and aviation and volunteer forces units, sheriff’s spokeswoman Jodi Miller said.

A sizeable chunk of funding for the project will come from Rialto, which will pay SBIA $4.1 million up front to cover the cost of relocation. Rialto will also pay SBIA a portion of the profits from the sale of its airport land to developers, estimated to be anywhere from $15 million to $30 million, Wilson said, adding that the new aviation facilities will also increase demand for fuel services at SBIA, which is $1.74 cheaper per gallon than at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, according to a marketing study commissioned by the SBIA board of directors last year.

The developments at SBIA comes at a time when LA/Ontario International Airport continues to battle it out with Los Angeles World Airports over local control. Earlier this month, Ontario announced it was moving forward with a lawsuit against LAWA after failing to reach an agreement with them over Los Angeles’ sale of the airport to Ontario.

Roy Goldberg, an attorney representing the city of Ontario in the lawsuit, said local control allows government to provide special incentives to attract business and development to airports such as tax breaks, reduced airport fees and air fares, and revenue sharing, among other things.

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