County of San Diego
Chairman Bill Horn
Fifth District Supervisor
September 27, 2006
County to Explore Ownership of Oceanside Airport
Supervisors Approve Move to Preserve Airport
SAN DIEGO – The County Board of Supervisors today unanimously approved Chairman and Fifth District Supervisor Bill Horn’s request for a study on the feasibility of acquiring and operating the Oceanside Airport. “Oceanside’s airport is an endangered regional asset that needs to be saved,” said Horn. “I think it’s important to keep the airfield open for future travel and cargo demands and improve the facility while making it profitable.”
The Board directed the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) to draft a letter for the Chairman’s signature to the City of Oceanside asking the City to provide information necessary to evaluate the feasibility, costs, and benefits of the County of San Diego owning and operating the airport.
“Private pilots who have planes at the Oceanside Airport are afraid that it’s going to be closed,” Horn said. “They asked me to help. I’m not talking about a huge expansion at the airport; rather I think the region deserves a modern facility in Oceanside that’s available during times of disaster and that can bring more business into North County while operating at a profit.”
Chairman Horn said small airports at places like Ramona, Fallbrook and Oceanside are important because they allow small planes to stay out of the way of larger aircraft at Lindberg Field.
Support for the County of San Diego investigating owning and operating the airport included Ben Meyers, President of the Oceanside Airport Association who said, “I believe the airport can be made into a shining star.”
Other speakers cited comments from the Federal Aviation Administration that the Oceanside Airport is not being operated properly.
The airport had its beginning in the 1930’s as an emergency field for the Navy. Located on the north side of Highway 76 in the City of Oceanside, the airport has a 2,700-foot runway on about 50 acres, and is home to 70 mostly single and twin engine general aviation aircraft.
“The County of San Diego has a proven track record of running our eight airports efficiently and profitably,” said Horn. “We like being in the airport business and if the feasibility study is positive, I know we could turn Oceanside’s airport into a first class facility citizens would be proud of.”
In recent years, the majority of Oceanside’s elected officials have expressed frustrations with the burden of operating the airport at a loss.
“I don’t think the full revenue potential of the airport has been realized,” said Horn. “Fifteen acres of developable land exist within the airport boundaries that currently produce no income for the Airport Enterprise Fund.”
If the City of Oceanside responds favorably to the request for information by the County, the cost of the study of about $10,000 would be paid for from general reserves. The CAO was asked to have the draft letter ready and report back to the Board with findings within 90 days.