McClellan-Palomar Airport Renovations

Friday, May 23, 2008
McClellan-Palomar Airport renovations continue
By Jeannie Sprague-Bentley
The Encinitas (CA) Coast News

CARLSBAD – Work on a new terminal at McClellan-Palomar Airport is under way. Renovations at the airport, located in the city of Carlsbad but run by the county of San Diego, began late last year and are scheduled to wrap up later this year. The new $26 million, 18,000-square-foot terminal will be six times larger than the existing one, which was built when the airport opened in 1958. The old terminal, made of metal trailers, was always considered temporary. When completed, the new facility will feature advanced ticketing and baggage claim areas, a larger lobby and a lounge.

Three long-term parking lots are being renovated, and when completed will accommodate 700 cars and provide access to the terminal via a new elevator.

The old restaurant, a longtime fixture at the airport, closed and a 2,481-square-foot restaurant will be located in the new terminal.

A series of workshops called “Airports 101” was held as a way to inform residents how the airport operates and about safety and runways, said Airport Manager Willie Vasquez.

In addition, a study called an “air service situation review” was commissioned by the Department of Public Works, which operates the county airport. The study considered increased traffic from commercial commuter aircraft and the effect it has had on the surrounding community.

Rumors of McClellan-Palomar becoming a larger commercial airport have been swirling for years.

Traffic at the airport has increased, but the runway cannot accommodate larger commercial jets, officials have said.

“Back in the early ’90s more commercial aircraft came to the airport,” Vasquez said. But of the daily flights, about 60 percent are still small, single-engine private aircraft, he said. Thirty-five percent are corporate or charter flights, and only 5 percent are commercial.

Currently two commuter airlines, United Express and a new addition this week, Vision Airlines, offer flights to and from Palomar Airport.

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