Catalina Island News

Catalina Island's Airport-in-the-Sky Is Back in Business After Runway Resurfacing

2006-06-19
Catalina Island Conservancy

Runway 22, the popular landing strip at Catalina Island's world-famous Airport-in-the-Sky, will re-open on Thursday, June 22 after being closed since early May for resurfacing and other maintenance.

 In celebration, landing fees will be waived all day, Saturday, June 24. Hot dogs and soft drinks will also be provided to all pilots and their passengers that day from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

"Aviators who make Catalina their destination will notice the difference when they land here, said Mel Dinkel, Chief Operating Officer for the Catalina Island Conservancy, owners of the airport. "We thank the aviation community for their patience and continued patronage now that the airport has re-opened," he said. "All pilots are invited to fly in their families and friends so we can show off our renewed runway."

Cost of the runway repairs could exceed $200,000, Dinkel said. The Airport-in-the-Sky is a private, non-profit airfield funded in part by landing fees for maintenance as well as day-to-day operations. Airport operations are made possible through supplemental funding from the Catalina Island Conservancy.

Dinkel added that the Conservancy and the Federal Aviation Administration are working together to research options for funding a major rebuilding of the airport runway.

The Airport-in-the-Sky is a popular destination for private pilots as well as Island visitors with more than 7,500 landings logged in 2005. The airport receives over 100,000 visitors a year, either though landings at the airport, Discovery Tours, Adventure Tours, and the Conservancy's Airport Shuttle.

In addition to landings and take offs by private aircraft and the Catalina Flying Boats that deliver mail, freight and supplies to the City of Avalon, the airport is also home to one of the two Conservancy's Nature Centers providing visitors with a look at the natural history of the Island, a native plant garden, scenic vistas, hiking trails and bicycle rentals. Visitor services at the airport also includes the Buffalo Springs Station restaurant where visitors can have breakfast, lunch or dinner with special barbecue dinners with live entertainment scheduled throughout the summer.

Summertime airport hours of operation are from 8:00 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week.

Runway 22 dates back to 1940 when Philip K. Wrigley first fashioned the fabled airport at an elevation of 1,600 feet. Work on the runway was halted temporarily in December 1941 with the outbreak of World War II. The airstrip was completed and operational in 1946.

Additional information about the Airport-in-the-Sky or its many visitor services may be obtained by calling (310) 510-0143.