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Roundtable Visits Pendleton, Carlsbad, Tijuana Airports And Silicon Valley South

Roundtable Visits Pendleton, Carlsbad, Tijuana Airports

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Camp Pendleton International?

The idea of a dual-runway international airport on the grounds of Marine Base Camp Pendleton is fantastic to some and utter fantasy to others.

Several years ago a group of MBA students at Cal State San Marcos were given the task to find the best site for such an airport. After examining all the possibilities in Southern California, they landed on the south west corner of the 125,000-acre Marine base.

The current group of MBA students at CSUSM spent their two years studying the economic impact of such an airport. The report they released this week found, probably to no one's surprise, that it would be considerable.

Whether it’s at all feasible is another story.

Other non-surprises in the report are that the entire three county area — San Diego, Riverside and Orange Counties — is under-served regarding aviation and that conditions, congested and contentious now, will get worse as years pass.

So the business students at Cal State San Marcos essentially said out loud what many have thought: if Southern California is to have a regional, tri-county international airport, it would have to be sited on about 5,000 acres at the southwest end of the Marine base.

Palomar may be taking off

Meanwhile, the situation at an actual North County airport may be changing.

San Diego County Supervisors are scheduled to vote next week on a new master-plan for county-owned McClellan-Palomar Airport in Carlsbad.

Why a new master-plan? McClellan-Palomar used to serve some 50,000 commercial fliers each year. But now the terminal is empty, and the flight boards are blank because Sky West (United) pulled out in 2014, and Biz Air ended its flights to Las Vegas this year. The sole users are the owners of corporate jets.

The Palomar runway is too short now for commercial airlines, and is actually too short for some of the corporate jets that use it anyway.

Under the new 20-year plan the Supervisors’ Airport Advisory Committee recommended an 800-ft runway extension and safety upgrades, most of which could be covered by the FAA.

Some residents of Carlsbad and Vista don’t like the idea of a longer runway.

Flying from Tijuana es muy facil

This Wednesday, the U.S.-Mexico border region became home to one of two airports in the world straddling both sides of an international border.

An investor group built a new, full-service terminal on the San Diego side and an enclosed 390-foot bridge crossing the border fence to Tijuana International Airport. The target? The 2.6 million passengers who use Tijuana International each year.

Flights to Mexico and Latin America from Tijuana are both less expensive and more plentiful than they are from Lindbergh Field. Getting back into San Diego from Tijuana was a huge hassle, however. Passengers often said they spent as much time crossing the border as they did flying from Mexico City.

Using the cross-border bridge and terminal is free now, but will cost $18.00 each way starting December 18.

Silicon Valley South?

A new report suggests that San Diego is poised to become the next Silicon Valley because tech companies are finding San Diego increasingly attractive.

San Diego County's traffic, despite local complaints, is not bad compared to LA and the Bay Area, and rental costs, which are viewed as very high here, are half of what they are in San Francisco.

The report, by the Jones Lang LaSalle commercial real estate brokerage, says San Diego is a bargain, with high opportunity and low costs. Who knew?

Some tech companies are already moving here: Fitbit is homing in on Rancho Bernardo. GoPro has expanded its presence into Carlsbad. And Google bought San Diego-based Lumedyne and is rumored to be looking for larger quarters here.

Maybe it’s the beer. Or the airports.

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