From the

San Diego County’s supervisors are considering whether to consider lengthening the runway at the McClellan-Palomar Airport in Carlsbad.

The board voted Tuesday to direct the county’s chief administrative officer to report back in 90 days on the scope, cost and time needed to conduct a study on whether the extension would be feasible.

Palomar Airport, which is county-owned, covers 487 acres and has one 4,897-foot runway. Stakeholders in the airport say the runway is not long enough to satisfy their needs to keep up with airport expansions. The county added a new terminal, parking area and restaurant to the airport using Airport Enterprise Funds and Federal Aviation Administration grants, and has attracted $100 million in private investments from airport tenants and lessees.

Supervisor Bill Horn said these lessees and airport stakeholders, along with “key members” from Carlsbad, asked the county to consider the runway expansion.

The airport is “an economic driver for North County and a crucial part of the regional aviation system,” Horn said in his agenda item for the board.

An economic vitality study on the airport in 2008 had “staggering” results, he said, showing about $116.6 million in business revenue came from airport industries in the Palomar Airport area and $61.8 million in business sales came from visiting passengers.

The airport also employs 360 people, making it one of the top 20 employers in Carlsbad, Horn said.

However, there are multiple potential environmental and engineering challenges involved in extending the runway, including the fact that its expansion would cover an old landfill, which has rarely been done before, according to Horn.

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Jim the Realtor
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