Castle Airport

Tuesday, November 9, 2004
FAA help for Castle projects sought

Castle Airport Aviation and Development Center officials want to ask the Federal Aviation Association for money to design future projects and a new airport master plan. Merced County Business Economic Opportunities Director John Fowler said Friday he plans to ask the FAA for close to $700,000 to pay for design plans and related environmental studies.

First, he’ll ask county supervisors to approve his request at today’s board meeting.

Paying a consultant to design a new airport master plan would cost $400,000, Fowler said. The plan would outline airport projects for the next 15 years.

Castle Airport is certified for non-scheduled activity, which excludes commercial cargo and passenger flights.

The airport could be certified by next summer to accept commercial cargo flights, Fowler said.

But he said it’s too early to tell whether a new master plan would steer the airport toward being a commercial airport, either for cargo or passengers.

The airport’s current master plan, adopted in 1996, mentions the possibility of Castle becoming a commercial passenger airport, Fowler said.

Merced County Administrative Officer Dee Tatum said the Board of Supervisors will determine how to develop the airport, but only after a consultant draws up possible alternatives for its future.

“I think we have to cultivate as many different avenues and perspectives as we can,” Tatum said.

The Board of Supervisors meeting starts at 10 a.m. at the Merced County Administration Building, 2222 M St., Merced.