McClellan–Palomar Airport

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McClellan–Palomar Airport
CRQ - FAA airport diagram.gif
FAA airport diagram
Airport typePublic
OwnerCounty of San Diego
ServesNorth San Diego County
Hub for
Elevation AMSL331 ft / 101 m
Coordinates33°07′42″N 117°16′48″W / 33.12833°N 117.28000°W / 33.12833; -117.28000 (McClellan–Palomar Airport)Coordinates: 33°07′42″N 117°16′48″W / 33.12833°N 117.28000°W / 33.12833; -117.28000 (McClellan–Palomar Airport)
CLD is located in California
Location of airport in California
Direction Length Surface
ft m
6/24 4,897 1,493 Asphalt
Number Length Surface
ft m
H1 100 30 Asphalt
Statistics (2017)
Aircraft operations160,887
Based aircraft288
Sources: FAA,[1] airport website[2]

McClellan–Palomar Airport (Palomar Airport) (IATA: CLD, ICAO: KCRQ, FAA LID: CRQ) is a public airport three miles (5 km) southeast of Carlsbad in San Diego County, California. It is owned by the County of San Diego.[1] The street address is 2100 Palomar Airport Road, Carlsbad, CA 92011. The airport is used for both general aviation and commercial aviation. In March 2013, the airport was the fourth-busiest single runway airport in the United States. In August 2017, the airport announced a new commercial airline Cal Jet, would start operating flights in September 2017.[3][4]

Most U.S. airports use the same three-letter location identifier for the FAA and IATA, but McClellan–Palomar Airport is CRQ to the FAA and CLD to the IATA. The ICAO identifier is KCRQ.[5][6]

The airport is named for Gerald McClellan, an aviator and civic leader in San Diego's North County area.[7]

The airport also was the basis of part of the name of the TV production company Lorimar Television.


McClellan–Palomar Airport covers 466 acres (189 ha) and has one asphalt runway, 6/24, 4,897 ft × 150 ft (1,493 m × 46 m). The airport also has one asphalt helipad that is 100 by 100 feet (30 x 30 m).[1]

In 2017, the airport had 160,887 aircraft operations, an average of 441 per day: 95% general aviation, 4% air taxi, >1% Schedules Commercial and >1% military. 288 aircraft are based at this airport: 59% single-engine, 21% jet, 12% multi-engine and 5% helicopter.[1]

It opened a $24 million airline terminal on January 29, 2009.[8][9] As of October 26, 2010, Palomar Airport's long term parking rates (30 day max) increased to $5 a day (from $3 per day).

Current service[edit]

Surf Air is a private charter airline company operating at Palomar; the startup offers unlimited flights for a fixed rate to selected California cities and Las Vegas. The company began its first flights in 2013 and expanded to San Diego by late 2014, operating from the Atlantic Aviation FBO.[10] Clay Lacy Aviation also operates at McClellan–Palomar Airport,[11] providing aircraft management services, jet charter from the company's fleet of business jets, and a full-service FAA Part 145 Repair Station with 24/7 mobile response.

Taos Air is scheduled to operate flights between McClellan–Palomar and Taos Regional Airport in New Mexico starting on 9 January and continuing until 29 March 2020.[12]

Past airline service[edit]

The airport was previously served by United Express with flights operated by SkyWest Airlines. In May 2015, United Express ended service to the airport due to the phaseout of their Embraer EMB-120 Brasilia turboprop aircraft as SkyWest then transitioned to all regional jet fleet with these aircraft requiring a runway longer than the airport's runway length.[13][14]

Other airline service into the airport in the past included American Eagle operated by Wings West Airlines and United Express operated by WestAir Airlines with both commuter air carriers flying to Los Angeles (LAX) as well as America West Express (later US Airways Express) operating nonstop to Phoenix–Sky Harbor. In 1977, Scenic Airlines was flying Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner propjets nonstop to Palm Springs with direct one stop service to both Las Vegas and Phoenix.[15] In 1995, American Eagle and United Express were operating a combined total of twelve nonstop services a day to LAX with both airlines flying British Aerospace BAe Jetstream 31 commuter propjets on the route.[16] In 1999, Mesa Airlines was operating the America West Express nonstop service to Phoenix with three flights a day with de Havilland Canada DHC-8 Dash 8 turboprops.[17] Imperial Airlines also served McClellan-Palomar and was based at the airport during the 1980s. Air Resorts operated flights from the airport as well during the 1980s.[18] Golden West Airlines also operated service during the 1970s from the airport with de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter commuter aircraft. All of the airlines that previously served Carlsbad operated either turboprop or prop aircraft on their services into the airport.

BizAir Shuttle, a public charter airline with flights operated by Ultimate Air Shuttle utilizing Dornier 328JET aircraft, briefly operated scheduled service from McClellan–Palomar to LAX and McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas during the summer of 2015.[19]

JetsuiteX announced charter flight services to Burbank and San Jose starting October 17, 2016. However; due to low customer demand, the scheduled services to and from Carlsbad airport were canceled.

On August 16, 2017 the airport announced new commercial jet service from Cal Jet by Elite Airways, which planned to operate daily commercial flights to Las Vegas starting September 28, 2017. County officials said Cal Jet planned on operating a Bombardier CRJ700 with 63 Seats, becoming the first commercial service at the airport since 2015. Cal Jet will operate out of the main commercial terminal, with the hope of adding other cities such as San Jose, Oakland, Sacramento, and Phoenix in the near future. As of August 2017, tickets were on sale, with fares starting at $69 one-way.[20][21][22] Cal Jet abruptly ended service in April of 2018.[23]

The airport was the headquarters for California Pacific Airlines, which planned to begin flights on four routes from the airport. On August 27, 2018 the airline announced service would begin on November 1, 2018 with service to San Jose, California, and Reno, Nevada to be followed by service to Las Vegas, Nevada and Phoenix, Arizona beginning on November 15, 2018.[24] This service was reduced from an initial plan to serve six destinations including Sacramento, California; Oakland, California; and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.[25] California Pacific Airlines ceased operations as of January 16, 2019.[26]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On January 24, 2006, a Cessna Citation V landing on runway 24 on a flight from Friedman Memorial Airport in Hailey, Idaho burst into flames after crashing into a self-storage facility adjacent to the airport. All four aboard (two passengers and two crew) were killed; no one on the ground was hurt.[7]
  • On April 29, 2007, a Cessna 182 Skylane carrying three people crashed about 1 mile (1.6 km) offshore shortly after takeoff at 9:30 a.m.[27]
  • On July 3, 2007, a Beechcraft 90 King Air carrying two people crashed after taking off shortly after 6 a.m. in dense fog. The aircraft hit power lines, which caused power outages for local residents and businesses. The two on board died.[28][29]
  • On April 19, 2008, a Cessna Citation Mustang skidded off the end of runway 24 and collapsed the main landing gear. The aircraft had four on board, who were uninjured. The Mustang had flown from Lincoln Regional Airport, northeast of Sacramento.[30]
  • On September 22, 2008, a Cessna 152 crashed just west of College Boulevard on the extended centerline after departing runway 24. The aircraft had two on board, who were both injured and evacuated by air.[31]
  • On September 28, 2008, a Beechcraft Bonanza crashed southeast of the airport after the pilot aborted a landing attempt in fog. The pilot was alone and was killed.[32]
  • On November 18, 2015, a Eurocopter AS350 Écureuil helicopter crashed at the airport, killing two people.[33]


  1. ^ a b c d FAA Airport Master Record for CRQ (Form 5010 PDF), effective 2007-10-25
  2. ^ McClellan–Palomar Airport at County of San Diego website
  3. ^ "County's McClellan-Palomar Airport Gets Commercial Air Service". 2017-08-16.
  4. ^ St John, Alison (March 15, 2013). "North County Regional Vision Takes Flight At Palomar Airport". KPBS. Retrieved March 15, 2013.
  5. ^ "CLD - Carlsbad [Mc Clellan-Palomar Airport], CA, US - Airport - Great Circle Mapper".
  6. ^ "CRQ - Caravelas, BA, BR - Airport - Great Circle Mapper".
  7. ^ a b Baker, Debbi Farr; Gross, Greg; Kucher, Karen; Martinez, Angelica (January 24, 2006). "Four die in jet crash at Palomar Airport". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 2006-12-14.
  8. ^ Palomar Airport Grand Opening Set For January 29th[dead link]
  9. ^ "Eco-Friendly Terminal Opens at Palomar Airport". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-11-25.
  10. ^ "Surf Air adds Carlsbad service". 2014-10-06. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-11-25.
  11. ^ “Clay Lacy,” “Ranch & Coast,” December 1, 2016
  12. ^ "Taos Air launching round-trip flights to LA and Carlsbad, Calif". Albuquerque Journal. Albuquerque, New Mexico. 20 November 2019. Retrieved 21 November 2019.
  13. ^ "United to cut LAX service from Palomar". San Diego Union-Tribune. 2014-11-19. Retrieved 2015-11-25.
  14. ^ "Runway length remains biggest challenge for McClellan-Palomar Airport". Seaside Courier. Encinitas, California. May 7, 2015. Retrieved 2015-06-23.[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ "Index". Archived from the original on 2016-10-20. Retrieved 2016-06-06., Dec. 1, 1977 Scenic Airlines system timetable route map
  16. ^ "Index". Archived from the original on 2016-10-20. Retrieved 2016-06-06., April 1, 1995 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Los Angeles-Carlsbad schedules
  17. ^ "Index". Archived from the original on 2016-10-20. Retrieved 2016-06-06., June 1, 1999 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Phoenix-Carlsbad schedules
  18. ^ "Air Resorts Airlines".
  19. ^ Weisberg, Lori (September 3, 2015). "Carlsbad-Vegas air service grounded". The San Diego Union–Tribune. Archived from the original on May 4, 2016. Retrieved 2015-09-05.
  20. ^ "County's McClellan-Palomar Airport Gets Commercial Air Service". 2017-08-16.
  21. ^ "McClellan-Palomar Airport".
  22. ^
  23. ^ "Cal Jet abruptly ends Carlsbad flights to Vegas but promises to return". San Diego Union-Tribune. April 20, 2019. Retrieved 2019-09-26.
  24. ^ DiVita, Ryan (August 27, 2018). "California Pacific Airlines Announces Its Inaugural Schedule And Fares". Retrieved 2018-10-23.
  25. ^ Carlsbad Palomar Airport to be the home of California Pacific Airlines. Seattle Post-Intelligencer. April 6, 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-15.
  26. ^ California Pacific Airlines shuts down after 2 months. San Diego Union-Tribune. February 1, 2019. Retrieved 2019-09-26.
  27. ^ "NTSB Docket LAX07LA140". Archived from the original on October 15, 2008. Retrieved July 27, 2010.
  28. ^ Chabner, Shayna (July 3, 2007). "2 killed in San Diego County plane crash". North County Times. Retrieved 2007-07-03.
  29. ^ Davis, Kristina; Martinez, Angelica (July 3, 2007). "Two killed when private plane crashes on takeoff". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 2007-07-03.
  30. ^ "NTSB Aviation Accident Data Summary LAX08FA117". Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  31. ^ "NTSB Docket LAX08LA299". Archived from the original on July 6, 2010. Retrieved July 27, 2010.
  32. ^ "Pilot dies in crash of plane near airport". The San Diego Union-Tribune.
  33. ^ "Pilot, Friend die in Helicopter Crash at Palomar Airport". Archived from the original on 2016-05-06. Retrieved 2015-11-19.

External links[edit]