McClellan-Palomar Airport, or CLD (to the IATA) and CLQ (to the FAA), is a public airport in San Diego County, California. It is focused primarily on general aviation. In addition, Taos Air operates skiing-oriented flights from the airport, as of early 2020, to Taos Regional Airport in New Mexico. In 2017 the airport had 160,877 aircraft operations, 95% general aviation, 4% air taxi, and less than 1% scheduled commercial and military. The airport covers 466 acres and has one runway: 6/24, which is 4,897 by 150 feet (asphalt). There is also an asphalt helipad, 100 by 100 feet.
There was a need to replace the Del Mar airport, so in 1957 San Diego County picked the site at Carlsbad, and in 1958 construction began. The airport opened on March 20th, 1959. In 1960 the terminal building was constructed, and in 1961 the airport runway was extended to 4,700 feet, with the terminal expanded the following year, which included the addition of administrative offices. On March 26th, 1973, the new airport control tower was put into service. In 1977 an Instrument Landing System (ILS) was installed, as well as approach lights. The following year the airport was annexed into the City of Carlsbad. In 1991 American Eagle Express began flying from Carlsbad to Los Angeles (LAX). In 1994 United Express Airlines began flying the same route, operated by SkyWest Airlines (the route ended in 2015, as SkyWest phased out the Embraer EMB-120 Brasilia turboprop aircraft, as they transitioned to an all-regional jet fleet that required a longer runway). In 1996, the FAA issued a certification to operate aircraft with a capacity larger than 30 passengers. On April 4th, 1999, American West Express began service to Phoenix, Arizona. In 1999, within 24 hours, on April 7th and 8th, a new (temporary) 36,000-square-foot terminal was installed. In August of 2006, a new northside ramp opened. In 2007 ground was broken for a state-of-the-art 18,000 square-foot terminal, which airline terminal/security screening with the restaurant, customs facility, and the rest of the airport. On January 29th, 2009, the new terminal opened.
The airport is located three miles southeast of Carlsbad.
- The airport was named after Gerald McClellan, a North County community leader and aviator.
- TV production company Lorimar Television derived part of its name from the airport.
- The airport is the fourth-busiest single runway airport in the US.
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