Amazon Global Air Officially Identified As Sole Tenant At San Bernardino Airport’s Eastgate

Confirming what was widely and long expected or implied, San Bernardino International Airport last Friday announced that Amazon Air is to be the sole tenant at the Eastgate Air Cargo Logistics Center. The Eastgate facility was given clearance to proceed by the Federal Aviation Administration and the local airport authority in December.
The San Bernardino International Airport Authority, a joint powers agency consisting of the County of San Bernardino and the cities of San Bernardino, Highland, Loma Linda and Colton which oversees the conversion of the former Norton Air Force Base to civilian use, approved Hillwood Development’s proposal to construct a 660,000-square-foot sorting and two 25,000-square-foot support buildings on the airport grounds on December 27.
Hillwood Enterprises, headed by Ross Perot, Jr., is the contract developer at the airport. The project is entirely privately financed. Officials previously touted the Eastgate facility as one that would generate roughly $2.6 million in lease revenues annually.
That Amazon is the to be the tenant at that facility virtually guarantees that revenue stream for the airport, which had lain in large measure dormant for years until a renewed effort had been made to transform the aerodrome following the forced departure of Scot Spencer as the airport’s contract developer in 2013.
While it was widely rumored that Amazon was to be the tenant at Eastgate, there was no actual confirmation of that previously. Sarah Rhoads, the vice president of Amazon Global Air, last week gave indication that the project was intended for Amazon all along when she said, “The regional air hub is being built from the ground up to fit Amazon Air’s operational needs.”
San Bernardino International Airport Authority Executive Director Michael Burrows, who previously said the facility was being designed by Hillwood to be compatible with any of a number of large-scale cargo-moving operations, said of Amazon, “A project of this size takes a lot to entitle, design and permit. It took them a while to make their decision. They did, and we’re happy to have them.”
Amazon setting up its air hub in San Bernardino was not a fait accompli, Burrows insisted, even with the Federal Aviation Administration and the airport authority’s action at the close of 2019.
“It could have been any of several others,” Burrow said. “Obviously, Hillwood is responsible as our developer to find suitable tenants and I knew they were talking to a number of companies throughout the process. Amazon was one of them, and they fit the project. We have Federal Express and UPS at the airport, as well.”
While Rhoads said Amazon’s corporate timeline is that the facility be operational by Spring 2021, Burrows said, “Amazon will be going into operation quite rapidly,” and possibly early enough for flights ferrying merchandise intended for customers during the Christmas 2020 shopping season to arrive at the airport.
The facility will be an air-to-ground hub, with cargo arriving in large quantity by plane and then being distributed by truck to Amazon’s network of fulfillment centers throughout this portion of Southern California.
When the Eastgate project was being considered there was a considerable degree of protest with regard to the impact the project would have in terms of vehicular, in particular semi-truck, traffic and accompanying diesel exhaust, which those opposed to the project said would harm the environment and diminish the local quality of life. According to Rhoads, the facility is to utilize solar power and electric ground support equipment.
Burrows said, “At full operational capacity, Amazon will have 26 flights into the airport per day. Alongside our other partners, this new cargo facility is to be a benefit to local residents in terms of job creation and the Inland Empire region’s economic recovery.”

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