Reader Call

April 8, 2000

Reader Call

Palm Springs Regional Airport

By John F. Infanger, Editorial Director

April 2000

PALM SPRINGS, CA — Earlier this year, Palm Springs Regional (PSP) became what folks here term "the ATC poster child," as the military had to come in to operate the airport's radar. It could be said that the airport serves as a poster child for the ownership changes taking place in the FBO industry.

During a recent visit, operators expressed relief that the ownership changes were settled. The situation arose, of course, after Signature Flight Support — which had previously bought the Million Air FBO here — announced it was acquiring AMR Combs. PSP was one of the airports on which both companies operated.

Russ Knowles is GM of what is again a Million Air FBO and, for a while, he was a Signature employee. "Because of the Dept. of Justice involvement," he recalls, "I was out here on my own. Signature wasn't allowed to tell me anything about pricing, wasn't allowed to really even know about my pricing. Same thing with Combs. We were kind of like the lone wolf."

Says current Signature GM Michael Brasier, "There was some confusion with customers not knowing what side of the field the real Signature was on. We worked closely with Million Air to minimize any inconvenience."

Airport director Jeri Riddle says the key in such a situation is educating the users to lessen the chance for runway incursions that can result in a changing, competitive FBO environment.