YOU ARE HERE: IVPress HomeCollections

Calexico will circulate international airport master plan

February 26, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — By a unanimous vote, the Planning Commission here allowed Planning Director Ricardo Hinojosa to circulate a master plan for $22 million in improvements to the Calexico International Airport.

That means agencies such as the county, the Federal Aviation Administration and the California Department of Transportation can comment on the 2-inch thick book of usage projections, maps and plans prepared by P&D Aviation of Orange.

After all affected agencies have submitted comments, the Planning Commission will decide whether to amend the plan, reject it or recommend its approval to the City Council.

At Monday's commission meeting, Doug Sachman of P&D explained his firm's work.

He said P&D planned for "high growth" at the Calexico airport in the next 20 years.

That means a new and improved Calexico airport would be able to hangar 56 planes at the airport and handle more than 27,000 take-offs and landings a year.


Currently the airport houses 25 planes and handles some 11,000 to 12,000 take-offs and landings.

To put the projections in context, the airport housed about 21 planes and handled around the same amount of traffic in 1981 as it does now.

Commissioner Arturo Selwick asked Airport Manager Luis Estrada why growth has been stagnant for the past 20 years.

Estrada said some pilots moved their planes to the Imperial or Brawley airports a decade ago because of security concerns.

Selwick wanted to know how the aftermath of Sept. 11 has affected air traffic.

Estrada said business was affected for two months after the attacks but in the long run it could help if more people decide to fly their own planes instead of booking commercial flights.

Afterward, Sachman detailed some of the improvements his firm recommends.

First and foremost, Sachman said, the airport needs a new terminal.

His firm planned for a new terminal to be built on land south of the airport, west of where Rosa's Plane Food is located.

The airport purchased 32 acres south of the airport in 1984 with money from the FAA.

To accommodate the new terminal, P&D recommends rerouting Anza Road so it curves south around it and an expanded tarmac.

Commissioner Richard Romero asked Estrada how the $22 million in improvements would be funded.

Estrada said funding would come from a combination of public financing, private investment and grant money.

"Don't expect the city to help you out," Romero said.

Sachman said the total cost to the city could be less than $2 million for road construction and infrastructure.

That money could come from a Measure D account instead of the city's general fund.

After the vote, Chairman John Moreno prepared to adjourn the meeting.

Before he did, however, former City Councilman Alex Campillo weighed in on the $22 million package of improvements.

"We don't need it," he said.

Instead of a new and improved airport, Campillo said the city should consider building a mobile home/RV park and a golf course in the New River basin.

Hinojosa told Campillo to bring his ideas to San Diego consultant Brian Mooney, who is working on the city's new master plan.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or

Imperial Valley Press Online Articles