San Diego Airport Authority, Military on Collision Course

The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority took one more step Monday toward a major skirmish with the military during a presentation of what a consultant says are workable concepts for airports on Camp Pendleton, Miramar Marine Corps Air Station...

Consultants also offered an "out of the box" idea. It would entail the authority building a single-runway airfield for the Marines on Camp Pendleton in exchange for permission to incorporate one of the existing runways at the Miramar airfield into an international airport at Interstate 15 and Highway 163.

Capt. Mike Allen, Chief of Staff for Navy Region Southwest, said sharing Miramar won't work because of the Marines' 10,000 annual training flights that prepare pilots for landing on aircraft carriers.

Those exercises involve flying for four or five hours at a time in a continuous circle a mile wide. Allen said introducing commercial jets would force the student military pilots to fly over neighborhoods such as Clairemont Mesa.

However, Allen said he could not say if those circular training operations would fit on a Pendleton with a new runway.

Board member Nieto suggested the authority could sweeten the pot by offering to build military housing, too.

"This is an expensive place to live," Nieto said.

Still, it was clear the military is in no mood to give up its Miramar-North Island connection that places aircraft carriers close to the tactical jets that land on them.

"There is nothing like this in the world today, in terms of a training complex," Allen said.


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