Corona Airport Management Study

Corona Airport

Project Name: Corona Airport Management Study

Client: City of Corona, California

Purpose: The City of Corona requested that Johnson Aviation provide an independent review and a factual assessment of the existing Corona Municipal Airport management and options for improving its management structure. Despite 350 to 400 based aircraft the airport was struggling to maintain financial viability. The purpose of this study was to assist the City in its decision-making process as to the best airport management approach for the long-term health and viability of the Airport. The study was conducted as a fact-finding mission. It began with the review and analysis of Airport management records, financial files, and related documentation. Particular attention was given to Airport leases, contracts, budgets, income statements, rules and regulations, planning documents, and historical information. As the need for analysis of specific financial issues were identified during the study, additional review of available financial records expanded to include monthly management reports and audit information over fiscal years 2011 and 2012. Eventually, historical financial records were reviewed for fiscal years 2008 to 2012.

Tasks: Interviews were held with people connected to the Airport administration, management and operations. These interviews included various levels of City staff associated with the Airport management, operations and budgeting. Extensive reviews of the existing and historical Master Leases were completed along with the City’s recreational lease for the airport property from the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOEs). Johnson Aviation lead negotiations with the master lease holders (MLHs) regarding the structure of their leases and the financial performance of the airport. These interviews and negotiations were based on trust developed among the parties as to the intent and purpose of the Management Study to improve the airport’s financial sustainability for all businesses and users of the airport. During the course of the study, two meetings with the ACOEs regarding Airport matters also helped to inform the process. The first meeting included the commanding officer for the Los Angeles District of the ACOE that oversees the Prado Flood Control Basin as well as other key ACOE staff who are working on engineering, environmental, real estate, and related topics that affect the Airport. While this meeting focused on issues related to the ALCOA Dike project immediately east of the Airport, the meeting allowed for discussions about the planning and improvement of the Airport. A second meeting with the ACOEs was held on July 27, 2012 to specifically address planning and development issues at the Airport. Johnson Aviation developed 10 key findings for the study upon which four management options were assessed. From these findings and management options the Johnson Aviation team provided five recommendations for consideration and implementation by the City.

Outcome: Johnson Aviation provided a series of five recommendations to the City to recover the financial viability of the Corona Municipal Airport in concert with their three Master Lease Holders. This included the establishment and negotiation of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that would direct long term airport facilities development and economically sustainable rates and charges. The MOU established a time frame for hangar development by the MLHs with an option for the City to undertake hangar development if the MLHs did not move forward under the MOU. This market pressure was necessary to ensure that the airport reached an economically sustainable operating budget.

Reference: Curtis Showalter – Assistant Public Works Director;; (951) 279-3677

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