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Proposal To Rename Montgomery Field Moves Forward

Aircraft at Montgomery Field are pictured in this undated photo.
City of San Diego
Aircraft at Montgomery Field are pictured in this undated photo.

A proposal to rename Montgomery Field, the city of San Diego-run general aviation airport in Kearny Mesa, was cleared for takeoff Thursday by the City Council's Economic Development Committee.

The city's Airport Division suggested changing the airfield's name to Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport, which would honor the legacy of aviation pioneers John J. Montgomery and Bill Gibbs.

The name change requires approval of the full City Council at a future meeting.

Montgomery was a physicist and inventor who experimented with gliders in the 1880s in Otay Mesa and made important discoveries about the effects of lift on wings.

Gibbs, now 105 years old, established the airport in 1937. He told the committee members he paid $250 for 25 acres and later sold the land for $300 an acre.

"An airport in those days didn't amount to very much, just a place to land your (airplane) and have some way of storing your gasoline," Gibbs said. "That's about all it took."

While the facility was taken over by the city of San Diego 11 years later, Gibbs' family continues to run a flight service business there.

Airport Division officials said in their report that the term "executive" will evoke high-quality services available at the airport.

According to staff, an article about Gibbs that appeared in the San Diego Union-Tribune in July prompted public comments in favor of a name change. Councilman Chris Cate said his office received numerous public comments, as well.

Airport officials said they plan to spend $45,000 on a "monument sign" at the airport, a plan that was in the works before the name change was proposed. They said Caltrans has agreed to replace 11 freeway signs at no expense to the city.

The 456-acre Montgomery Field offers three asphalt runways that generally run east-west and are used by light aircraft and smaller corporate jets. The airport also includes three helipads.

Besides Gibbs Air Service, the field's tenants include flying schools, a Sheraton hotel, a Mexican food restaurant, and it is home to San Diego fire and police aerial operations.