SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to rename Montgomery Field, the city-run general aviation airport in Kearny Mesa, as Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport.
The new name, if given final approval by the Federal Aviation Administration, would honor the legacy of aviation pioneers John J. Montgomery and Bill Gibbs.
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 paid $250 for 25 acres and later sold the land for $300 an acre.
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.
"His legacy in San Diego is one of an accomplished businessman, a selfless philanthropist and his contributions to help students pursue careers in aviation and the sciences," Councilman Chris Cate said.
City 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 last July prompted public comments in favor of a name change.
Airport officials said they intend 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.
In addition to Gibbs Air Service, the field's tenants include flying schools, a Sheraton hotel and a Mexican restaurant, and it is home to San Diego fire and police aerial operations.