Board Member Not Giving Up on North County Airport

Bob Maxwell of Oceanside, who serves on a regional board that is studying airport options, vowed in a forum Wednesday to do everything in his power to keep the idea alive.

Maxwell said he believes such an airport could be built for less, although he did not suggest what might be a more realistic price.

Perhaps most important, said Angela Shafer-Payne, authority vice president of strategic planning and the other program speaker, airlines likely would be reluctant to move to a second airport if Lindbergh stayed open because their costs would be greater at the new airport. She noted that in Denver, the most recent major city to build an airport, officials gave airlines no choice but to move to Denver International Airport when they closed Stapleton International Airport.

The airport authority also received feedback from the audience about its distant candidate sites to the east. Patrick Ryan of Oceanside suggested it was unrealistic to expect a North County resident to travel that far to hop on a plane.

"You'd have to leave at 2 o'clock in the morning just to catch a 6:30 flight," Ryan said.

Shafer-Payne said about one in 10 North County residents already flies out of airports to the north, such as Los Angeles, John Wayne (Orange County) and Ontario, rather than use Lindbergh. She said the agency is studying how many more would opt for other airports if they had to travel to Campo or Imperial County.

The authority is bound by state law to come up with a plan for handling San Diego County's air travel needs long into the future, and place it on the county ballot in November for an advisory vote.


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