Board Receives McClellan-Palomar Airport Improvement Study

County supervisors officially received a feasibility study Wednesday stating that extending and improving McClellan-Palomar Airport’s runway would make the airport safer, decrease noise and increase business opportunities around the airport.

By receiving the study, the Board did not commit the County to taking any action on the study’s findings to extend the runway. Instead, the study will be included in the new master plan currently being prepared for the airport, which will come to the Board for consideration in the future.

McClellan-Palomar, which is located in the city of Carlsbad, is one of the eight airports run by the County of San Diego. The Board of Supervisors directed County staff to conduct the feasibility study in 2011 and it was put together by an independent consultant, Kimley-Horn and Associates.

Supervisor Bill Horn, whose supervisorial district includes McClellan-Palomar, said Wednesday that the County had already made several improvements to the airport in recent years, including a new terminal and more parking.

Horn said that while the study was just that — a study to see if improvements were feasible — and there was no way to tell when those improvements might be possible to implement, they were still exciting.

The study said making safety improvements to the west end of McClellan-Palomar’s runway would cost roughly $25 million; and that spending roughly $70 million to extend the east end by 900 feet could increase service by allowing the same aircraft that now fly in and out of the airport to carry more fuel and travel to and from longer distances.

The study said the improvements would add jobs and another $163 million in revenues for North County over the next 20 years.

Horn said he and other North County political leaders, including Carlsbad Mayor Matt Hall — who came to Wednesday’s Board meeting to urge supervisors to receive the report — would continue to “knock on doors,” look for donors and lobby the Federal Aviation Administration and Congress to help fund the potential improvements.

“I think it would be a boon here,” Horn said. “This is the future.

“I think the fact that the report came back with the benefit to North County of $163 million over 20 years is a big impact,” he said.



Gig Conaughton is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact