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Camp Pendleton International Airport? The Economics

Camp Pendleton International Airport? The Economics


Glen Brodowsky, marketing professor, Cal State San Marcos

Chris Gillespie
, student, Cal State San Marcos

Rosemary Reed
, student, Cal State San Marcos


What if the Marines were to give some 5,000 to 6,000 of their 125,000 acres at Camp Pendleton for a dual-runway international airport that would serve San Diego, Orange and Riverside counties?

How much of an economic difference would the construction and operation of the airport and the availability of direct flights to Asia and Latin America make to the region?

Quite a big difference, according to a study by a group of California State University San Marcos MBA students.

Marketing professor Glen Brodowsky and his students conducted the two-year analysis, supported by San Diego businessmen and philanthropists Irwin Jacobs and Malin Burnham.

The study examined predicted demand for air travel within the next 15 years and the capacity of current area airports (Lindbergh Field, John Wayne and even LAX) to meet it. (They won't.) The students then looked at feasible locations for a new Southern California airport and determined there was just one: Camp Pendleton.

“That location is dead-center of where the economic growth is happening in Southern California,” Brodowsky told KPBS Midday Edition on Wednesday. “Southwest Riverside has been a booming population.”

Brodowsky said the majority of people in this region don’t live within 50 miles of a major airport, even though the majority of Americans do. He described the region as underserved.

If an airport is located in the southwest corner of the Marine base, parking and other facilities would be in Oceanside.

The economic impact an international airline hub would have on housing, retail and tourism in the region looks to be considerable as is the effect from such airport operational charges as passenger fees and gate leases.

“We found that the economic impact is going to be substantial,” said Rosemary Reed, a student working on the project. She said the economic impact to the region could be anywhere from $2.5 billion to $2.8 billion.

The last international airport built in the United States was Denver International in 1995.

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