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Sounding Off: How about Camp Pendleton for an airport?

August 30, 2010|By M.H. Millard

Putting caps on flights and flight times at John Wayne Airport are just fingers in the dike.

If nothing more than that is done, JWA is going to eat up parts of Costa Mesa and Newport Beach and make life even more miserable and dangerous for those living under the flight paths.

What is needed is an alternative location for an airport that makes sense.

Consider now that the Secretary of Defense is cutting back on our military and also consider that the Marines will be relying less on sea-borne assaults in the future (they're already fighting in deserts far from oceans), so the need for miles of shoreline for landing exercises is now not as important as it once was.

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So, why not consider using a tiny sliver of Camp Pendleton for a new international airport?

Camp Pendleton makes sense for a number of reasons, including the location of the base and the fact that we would only need about 3% of Camp Pendleton for an airport. The remaining 97% could still continue as a military base.

Consider this:

John Wayne Airport is 501 acres.

Los Angeles International Airport is 3,425 acres.

Camp Pendleton is 125,000 acres and has 17 miles of coastline.

You could fit about 250 John Wayne Airports or 36 Los Angeles International Airports on Camp Pendleton.

Take just a tiny 3% of Camp Pendleton on the Orange County border and build a state-of-the-art, 100-year-airport there.

This 3% would be 3,750 acres.

That's 325 acres larger than LAX and 3,249 acres larger than JWA!

The planes can take off over the ocean — not homes — and the beach down below could still be used for military or recreational activities.

This new airport at Camp Pendleton would also have easy freeway access and we wouldn't need to send people on trains into the middle of the desert to get on planes, which is another idea that is being floated by some.

— M.H. Millard, a Marine veteran, lives in Costa Mesa.

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