McClellan-Palomar Airport – Under Redevelopment

Friday, May 11, 2007
Carlsbad airport to undergo redevelopment
By Jesse Scaccia
The Encinitas (CA) Coast News

CARLSBAD – Carlsbad’s McClellan-Palomar Airport won’t be bigger after its $24-million terminal redevelopment project, but it should be better. The project, which will include a new, more modern terminal, is limited to constructing no more than the existing square feet of building area to replace multiple existing deficient facilities, said Peter Drinkwater, director of San Diego County Airports, which owns the airport. “The mishmash of buildings that presently form Palomar Airport commercial terminal facilities, rental car, airport maintenance storage buildings and automobile parking lots will be torn down and replaced with a new 18,000-square-foot commuter terminal,” Drinkwater said.

The new building will include improved passenger waiting and baggage claim areas, a restaurant, an outdoor garden, a security operations center and improved parking. One of the goals is to better the experience for commuters who regularly fly to LAX on United Express or to Phoenix on US Air.

“The facilities are old. The terminal was built in 1960. It wasn’t set up for commuters,” said Willie Vasquez, manager of McClellan-Palomar Airport.

Currently, the airline terminal is a series of trailers bolted together.

Funding for the project will come from the Federal Aviation Administration and from the Airport Enterprise Fund, which is money the county collects for renting airport land to private interests.

Service should not be affected during construction of the 24,000-square-foot building, officials said.

The goal is to have the entire project completed by the end of 2008, said Bill Polick, spokesman for San Diego County Airports.

“It will take us two or three months just to advertise for bids and determine the low bid,” Polick said. “We won’t know ground breaking dates until we determine the contractor.”

McClellan-Palomar Airport, which is located on Palomar Airport Road, handled 201,070 flights in 2006. Traffic at the airport is expected to pick up this summer. Vision Airlines has announced that they are planning to start service to Las Vegas in June.

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