‘Send in the troops’

Nonprofit moving equipment to prep for military personnel’s repair of airport in January

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Photos courtesy Catalina Island Conservancy

This month, 500 tons of equipment where shipped to Catalina Island to repair the aging main runway at Catalina Airport-AVX, according to officials with the Catalina Island Conservancy. Per the announcement Dec. 21, the equipment was moved that same week as part of the conservancy’s partnership with the U.S. Marine Corps and Navy, both of which will send a team to repair the airfields and other infrastructure in January. The reparations to the air terminal’s runway, dubbed “The Airport in the Sky Runway Repair Project,” intends to keep the site open to the public. Members of the conservancy wrote that more than 100 marines and sailors are expected to repair the runway, an effort that is projected to add 75 to 100 years of use to the 3,000-foot-long airstrip. The conservancy’s press release states that the group has been patching the airport’s main runway for years, costing approximately $250,000 a year. The California Department of Transportation’s Aeronautics Division told the conservancy it needed a long-term repair plan in place by September 2018 to continue to operate the airport as a public airport. In October, the conservancy announced it had reached an agreement for the airport runway to be repaired through the Department of Defense’s Innovative Readiness Training Program. The runway repair project is valued at $5 million, according to officials. The conservancy, a nonprofit organization, is also actively raising funds to pay for the remaining $4 million. Pictured are personnel moving equipment into Catalina Airport and an aerial view of the air terminal.