Riverside Municipal Airport

Monday, August 9, 2004
Riverside, Calif., airport’s new director lands $1.6 million FAA grant
The San Bernardino (CA) Business Press

After only a month on the job as Riverside Municipal Airport Director, Mark Kranenburg secured a $1.6 million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration. The money will be combined with three other grants — a $1.2 million federal grant, $150,000 from the state and $60,000 from the city — to expand two taxiways, Bravo and Juliet, at the west side of the airport. The expansion will extend the two taxiways to runways three and four.

The owner, the city of Riverside, will build a road from Arlington Avenue north to the expansion area and install sewers and utilities.

Kranenburg hopes construction will begin this year.

The expansion is “significant because it opens up the opportunity for development for the west side of the airport,” Kranenburg said. “We have a private developer who wants to develop a 20-acre parcel of land on the west side of the airport. In order for the developer to start, we have to have the infrastructure built up to support him.”

The project will cost $2 million. No final date has been given for its completion.

Riverside Municipal Airport is a general aviation reliever airport for John Wayne and Ontario International Airport.

Riverside airport is too small for commercial airliners, like Boeing 727s.

The airport’s potential is in the development of its land, which is zoned for businesses that complement airport activity. “We want to bring in airplane upholsterers, painters, engineers and other types of airplane maintenance businesses,” Kranenburg said. “An airport is an economic engine because it creates activity and breeds revenue.”

“The airport has potential,” said Jim Koenig, first vice president of CB Richard Ellis in Ontario. “If the airport increases its capacity, it would be positive. Such new amenities might bring attention to the area.”

Riverside Airport caters mainly to business, personal and recreational flying. The airport will never be a center for commercial flights, but Kranenburg hopes to build it into a busy corporate hub by augmenting its aircraft maintenance facilities and adding charter flights.

“Our desire is to grow the airport so that there is more of a corporate aircraft presence,” Kranenburg said.

More than 270 general aviation aircraft are based at the airport, including World War II aircraft and corporate jets. The airport handled 110,000 flights in the past three years.

The airport generates $1 million a year in revenue from fees collected from fuel sales and rent, which it applies toward operations. It receives $73,000 from the city’s general fund.

Kranenburg in June replaced John Sabatello, who resigned in February in conflict with City Manager George Caravalho. Despite the accusations made by Sabatello, Kranenburg said he enjoys his job and looks forward to managing and developing the 451-acre airport.

“The job isn’t your typical eight-to-five. I have to work weekends and I’m always on call, but I do what I have to do and I enjoy my work,” Kranenburg said. “The biggest challenge for me right now is to develop the airport to it’s potential.”

Since starting his job at the airport, Kranenburg added Western Express Air, a charter airline to Laughlin, Nev.


Originally from Ponca, Okla., Kranenburg, 48, began his aviation career with the U.S. Air Force in 1974.

He earned a degree in aviation management from Phillips University in Enid, Okla., while he served as an air traffic controller for the Air Force.

In 1992 he left the military to pursue a civilian career in aviation.

Kranenburg was hired as airport operations officer at Will Rogers World Airport in 1993. After a year at the commercial airport, he became general aviation manager for Wylie Post Airport and Clarence E. Page Airport in Bethany and Yukon, Okla., respectively aviation manager for Wylie Post Airport in Bethany, Okla. and Clarence E. Page Airport in Yukon, Okla .

For eight years, Kranenburg managed operations, construction and emergencies at the two airports.

Kranenburg wanted to advance in airport management and manage operations at another commercial airport.

When San Bernardino County advertised for an assistant airport director in April 2002 he applied.

For a year, Kranenburg served as assistant director at six general aviation airports in San Bernardino County, of which Chino was the largest.

Kranenburg’s wife, Charlotte, is the Redlands Municipal Airport manager.

“When we see each other at the end of the day, we don’t ask how our day went, we ask if we got our grants,” Kranenburg laughed.

Aviation is too expensive as a hobby, but he likes to bass fish and entertain at children’s hospitals as a clown when he has the time.

“I haven’t had much of an opportunity” since moving to California, he said.


According to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, a trade group in Washington, D.C.:

  • General Aviation contributed $41 billion to the U.S. economy last year
  • There are more than 211,000 general aviation aircraft flying in the U.S.
  • In the U.S. general aviation aircraft fly over 29 million hours, nearly two times commercial airline flight hours and carry 166 million passengers a year
  • Nearly 70 percent of all hours flown by general aviation aircraft are for business purposes
  • More than 5,000 communities rely exclusively on general aviation for their air transportation.