Catalina Island News

Catalina Island's Airport-in-the-Sky Temporarily Closed for Runway Maintenance

2006-05-12
Catalina Island Conservancy

Catalina's Airport-in-the-Sky will remain closed to general aviation for approximately 45 days pending maintenance and repairs on "Runway 22," the airport's main runway. Only daily cargo operations by Catalina Flying Boats and private aircraft with prior approval and a liability waiver will be allowed to land as runway maintenance progresses.

 "Plans had already been in place to perform maintenance on the runway," said Mel Dinkel, Chief Operating Officer for the Catalina Island Conservancy, owners and operators of the airport. "Recent weather-related damage made it necessary to start work at this time," he said. "We hope to have the airport up and running well in advance of the busy summer season."

The type of repairs and maintenance currently underway are expected to make the runway viable for the immediate future, and will cost the Conservancy in excess of $100,000.

"The Conservancy is continuing to work closely with the Federal Aviation Administration to research options for funding a major rebuilding of the airport runway sometime in the near future," Dinkel said. "In the meantime, aviators who make Catalina their destination will be pleased with the runway repairs once we reopen."

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, with no other typical ancillary airport income. Airport operations are made possible through supplemental funding from the Catalina Island Conservancy.

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.

The airport also provides for landing of commercial aircraft that brings food, mail, and freight to the City of Avalon.

All visitor services at the Airport-in-the-Sky, including the Buffalo Springs Station restaurant, will remain open during runway maintenance.

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.

NOTE: Catalina Flying Boats Arrivals and Departures to Continue.