2017-01-27 / Front Page

Camarillo Airport to get $30M makeover

Federal funding to cover majority of construction costs
By Hector Gonzalez

Federal grants and other funding sources are expected to provide nearly $30 million over the next six years to repave the aging runway at Camarillo Airport and make other renovations at the 650-acre facility.

At its regular meeting Tuesday, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the capital improvement projects for the local airport.

About 90 percent of the costs will be paid for by the Federal Aviation Administration. The remainder will be funded by the county’s airport enterprise fund and by state matching grants, said Todd McNamee, director of airports.

Along with an $18-million repaving of the airport’s main runway, the improvements will upgrade taxiways, and hangar and apron areas, where aircraft are parked for refueling and loading and unloading of passengers and cargo, according to the planning documents.

Originally constructed by the state Highway Department in 1942 with a 5,000-foot runway, the airport was the Oxnard Air Force Base during the Cold War, from 1951 through 1969, when it served as the home base for the F-101B aircraft armed with nuclear missiles. During that time, the runway was expanded to 8,000 feet.

In 1970, the Air Force turned over the property to the county as a general aviation facility, and officials capped the runway length at 6,000 feet.

Today, the airfield handles about 190,000 landings and takeoffs a year.

The runway hasn’t been refurbished in nearly 25 years, McNamee said.

“We’re pushing 25 years on the runways at both Camarillo and Oxnard (airports),” he said. “They’re getting real close to the end of their useful life.”

First to be upgraded will be the Camarillo Airport’s northeast apron area, at a cost of about $9 million. That project is due to be completed this fiscal year. Other projects will follow in subsequent years, with the main runway due to be repaved in 2021.

Supervisors also approved a six-year capital improvement project for the Oxnard Airport, at a cost of about $17 million.

Before going before the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday as a single item on the panel’s consent calendar, the improvement projects for the two airports were reviewed and approved by the county’s Aviation Advisory Commission and the Airport Authority for Camarillo and Oxnard airports, McNamee said.

“There’s nothing controversial about it,” he said. “This gets a lot of review before it even gets to the board for their approval.”

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