Merced Regional Airport
|Merced Regional Airport
|2006 USGS orthophoto|
|IATA: MCE – ICAO: KMCE – FAA LID: MCE|
|Owner||City of Merced|
|Elevation AMSL||155 ft / 47 m|
|Source: Federal Aviation Administration|
Merced Regional Airport (MacReady Field) (IATA: MCE, ICAO: KMCE, FAA LID: MCE) is a city owned public airport two miles southwest of Merced, in Merced County, California. It is used for general aviation and sees one airline subsidized by the Essential Air Service program.
Federal Aviation Administration records say the airport had 1,052 passenger boardings (enplanements) in calendar year 2009, 2,051 enplanements in 2010, and 3,181 in 2011. It is included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2013–2017, which categorized it as a general aviation airport (the commercial service category requires at least 2,500 enplanements per year).
On March 15, 1932 the Merced City Council accepted the title to the site of an airport as a gift from the Twenty-Thirty Club and the Crocker-Huffman Company. The airport, an airstrip and 66 acres (0.267 km2) of land 3 miles (4.8 km) northwest of the city near the intersection of U.S. Route 99 and California State Route 59, was dedicated on April 3, 1932. The airport site was leased to George Voight for a term of five years, and a subsidiary airline of the Stinson Aircraft Company started Merced's first scheduled airline service. In May 1936 the City of Merced assumed responsibility for the airport; constructing buildings, hangars, and other improvements; expanding the site to 123 acres (0.498 km2).
In 1940 as the U.S. Army was trying to establish a 30,000 per year basic pilot training facility in the Merced area, Merced Municipal Airport was deemed unsuitable for a major training facility due to lack of room. The United States Department of War would ultimately select an area 2 miles (3.2 km) northeast of Atwater, now the site of Castle Airport, for its Air Corps Basic Flying School. That year land the Merced Regional Airport now occupies in southwest Merced near Childs Avenue; was acquired from delinquent tax rolls. The city council approved the first phase of construction of a new airport shortly after the acquisition. This new city owned airport would be known as "New Merced Municipal Airport".
In 1941 construction delays at the Air Corps Basic Flying School site forced the Army to lease the original Merced Municipal Airport, resulting in the first aircraft assigned to the Air Corps Basic Flying School being stored at Merced Municipal Airport and giving the Basic Flying School its first usable axillary field. After the United States entered World War II, the Civil Aeronautics Authority assumed responsibility for the final phase of construction of the New Merced Municipal Airport. By 1942 the new airport and its two runways; 6/24 and 12/30 each 4000' by 150', was completed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers working under the CAA.
In 1943 New Merced Municipal Airport was leased to the U.S. Army Air Force, becoming the sixth axillary field for Merced Army Airfield (present day Castle Airport). Under the lease, the airport's name was changed to "New Merced Municipal Airport Auxiliary Field". The lease was terminated immediately after the war, and the airport was returned to civil control. In the fall of 1945, the City of Merced sold the original Merced Municipal Airport site near Santa Fe Drive to the Chamber of Commerce for $7,500, leaving New Merced Municipal Airport (near Childs Ave) as the city's primary airport.
In 1946 United Airlines built offices and a terminal building and began one Douglas DC-3 flight each way a day. That year damage incurred during the Army Air Force's use of the site was repaired, and more improvements were made using federal funds. In 1948 Merced Municipal Airport was annexed to the City of Merced.
During the 1950s the airport was used to service United States Armed Forces aircraft, and a land acquisition in February 1955 allowed runway 12/30 to be extended. In 1967 runway 6/24 and its parallel taxiway were closed, and in 1975 a control tower was built.
United's DC-3s were replaced by Convair 340s and Douglas DC-6s, and by Boeing 737-200 jets in 1968-69; United left Merced for good in 1979.
On March 6, 2009 the city council voted to change the name from Merced Municipal Airport to Merced Regional Airport.
Facilities and aircraft
In the year ending April 30, 2012 the airport had 53,250 aircraft operations, an average of 146 per day: 94% general aviation, 5% scheduled commercial, 1% military, and <1% air taxi. At that time there were 65 aircraft based at this airport: 92% single-engine, 6% multi-engine, and 2% helicopter.
Merced Regional Airport is a base for Medi-Flight Northern California, an air ambulance service provided by Mercy Air, a subsidiary of Air Methods. Medi-Flight shuttles critical patients from Mercy Medical Center Merced to hospitals in the Modesto and Fresno areas, as well as responding directly to accidents.
Since June 1957 Merced Regional Airport has hosted the annual Merced West Coast Antique Fly-In. Each year the fly-in draws hundreds of pilots from across the Western United States to Merced to display their rare and antique aircraft. The fly-in also features an air show and an antique car show. In 2007, the 50th annual fly-in drew nearly 400 planes as well as several stunt pilots.
Since 2008 the Merced West Coast Antique Fly-In has been canceled due to lack of sponsors and volunteers. Pilots wanting to participate in the fly-in are still welcomed to congregate at the airport. However, this gathering is unofficial and given limited publicity.
Airline and destinations
Scheduled passenger service:
|Great Lakes Airlines||Los Angeles, Visalia|
On May 15, 2011 Great Lakes Airlines commenced service to Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California, with a stop in Visalia, California. The airline also offers one daily non-stop, round trip flight between Merced and Las Vegas.
Previously, Great Lakes Airlines flew to LA/Ontario International Airport in Ontario, California. Due to the success of flights to Las Vegas offered under prior carriers, service between Merced and Ontario was discontinued in favor of the more popular Las Vegas route.
The airport was formerly served by Air Pacific, American Eagle, Golden Gate Airlines, United Airlines, United Express and US Airways Express. United Airlines had Boeing 737-200 jet flights direct to Los Angeles and San Francisco. This was the airport's only scheduled passenger jet service.
|Passengers||Change from previous year|
|Source: Federal Aviation Administration |
- FAA Airport Master Record for MCE ( PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. Effective March 7, 2013.
- "Enplanements for CY 2009" (PDF, 891 KB). CY 2009 Passenger Boarding and All-Cargo Data. Federal Aviation Administration. Novermber 23, 2010.
- "Enplanements for CY 2010" (PDF, 189 KB). CY 2010 Passenger Boarding and All-Cargo Data. Federal Aviation Administration. October 26, 2011.
- "Enplanements for CY 2011" (PDF, 1.7 MB). CY 2011 Passenger Boarding and All-Cargo Data. Federal Aviation Administration. September 9, 2012.
- "2013–2017 NPIAS Report, Appendix B (Part 1)" (PDF, 2.7 MB). National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems. Federal Aviation Administration. September 27, 2012.
- Merced Regional Airport - History
- California State Military Museum - New Merced Municipal Airport Auxiliary Field
- Merced Regional Airport Quarterly Newsletter, March 2009
- Air Methods - Press Release
- Merced Sun-Star - Lack of sponsors grounds fly-in[dead link]
- Merced Regional Airport - Travel
- Merced Regional Airport - News
- "FAA Passenger Boarding Data for Primary, Non-primary Commercial Service, and General Aviation Airports". Federal Aviation Administration. Retrieved January 14, 2013.
- Essential Air Service documents (Docket OST-1998-3521) from the U.S. Department of Transportation:
- Order 2004-3-6: re-selecting Eagle Canyon Airlines, Inc., d/b/a Scenic Airlines, to provide essential air service at Merced, California, at an annual subsidy rate of $645,751, for the two-year April 1, 2004, through March 31, 2006.
- Order 2006-3-28: selecting Scenic Airlines to provide essential air service (EAS) with 19-passenger Beechcraft 1900 aircraft at Merced, California, for two years beginning April 1, 2006. The annual subsidy rate will be set at $696,788.
- Order 2006-8-29: selecting Mesa Air Group Inc. d/b/a Air Midwest to provide subsidized essential air service (EAS) at Merced and Visalia, California, and Ely, Nevada, for two years, beginning when the carrier inaugurates service. Merced and Visalia will receive 23 weekly round trips to Las Vegas, operated on a Las Vegas - Merced - Visalia - Las Vegas or Las Vegas - Visalia - Merced - Las Vegas routing at an annual subsidy rate of $1,599,207. Ely will receive 6 nonstop round trips each week to Salt Lake City at an annual subsidy rate of $647,709. Air Midwest will operate as America West Express/US Airways Express and serve each community with 19-passenger Beech 1900-D aircraft.
- Order 2008-6-26: selecting Great Lakes Aviation, Ltd. to provide subsidized essential air service (EAS) at Merced and Visalia, California, and Ely, Nevada, for the two-year period beginning when the carrier inaugurates full EAS pursuant to this Order, at an annual subsidy of $4,900,401 with 19-seat Beech 1900D turboprop aircraft.
- Order 2010-9-13: re-selecting Great Lakes Aviation, Ltd., to provide subsidized essential air service (EAS) with 19-passenger Beechcraft-B-1900D aircraft at Merced and Visalia, California, and Ely, Nevada, for the two-year period from October 1, 2010, through September 31, 2012. The annual subsidy rates will be set at $1,961,174, $1,746,507, and $1,752,067 for Merced, Visalia and Ely, respectively, for a combined total of $5,459,748.
- Merced Regional Airport at City of Merced web site
- Great Lakes Aviation
- History of Merced Municipal Airport
- Merced West Coast Antique Fly-In Home
- FAA Terminal Procedures for MCE, effective November 14, 2013
- Resources for this airport: