McClellan-Palomar Airport (opened in 1958) is a public airport situated about 5km to the south-east of the central business district (CBD) of Carlsbad and 30 miles north of San Diego in San Diego County, California, US.

The airport is named after Gerald McClellan, an aviator and civic leader in the San Diego North County area.

McClellan-Palomar is wholly owned and operated by the County of San Diego and serves the northern part of the county for its domestic aviation requirements.

The facility has mostly been used up to the current time for general aviation, but there are also two commercial airlines, United Express operated by SkyWest (Los Angeles – seven flights a day) and Vision Airlines (North Las Vegas – runs two to three days a week – Phoenix and Las Vegas).

The airport covers an area of 466 acres (189ha) and has a single asphalt paved runway (6/24) which has dimensions of 4,897ft × 150ft (1,493m × 46m). The airport saw 192,960 aircraft operations in 2008.

Secret airport

One big advantage at the airport for travellers is free car parking for up to two weeks. Many passengers using the airport appreciate its quietness and the fact that it is never crowded. It is regarded as the best kept secret in San Diego County.

McClellan-Palomar Airport is a gateway to and from the San Diego North County. The airport is popular because of its proximity to business and recreation. Major corporations and world-class resorts are only minutes away along with some of the finest beaches in San Diego County.

New McClellan-Palomar terminal

The new terminal building (in planning for 20 years) was opened at McClellan-Palomar in January 2009 . The 18,000ft² terminal (six times larger than the old one) has required an investment of $24m, which has been paid for using Federal Aviation Administration grants of $13.2m and the remainder in funds from San Diego County.

Previously the commercial terminal was an old 3,600ft² multi-trailer / prefabricated building near the control tower installed over a 24-hour period in 1999. Construction work on the new terminal began in late 2007 on a 255-acre site along Palomar Airport Road just west of El Camino Real near the airport's main entryway. During this expansion project the airport also gained three new long-term parking lots (700-car capacity) along the southern edge, which are connected to the terminal building via elevators and a passenger bridge.

Airport design

The modern terminal has seashore-themed decoration that propels the airport into the 21st century. There is a special baggage distribution area and a full-service 2,481ft² restaurant.

“One big advantage at McClellan airport for travellers is free car parking for up to two weeks.”

There are brand new check-in / ticketing and security areas spacious lobby and boarding lounge, and when passengers clear security they gather in a pre-boarding room where there is wireless internet service and plenty of points to plug in electronic equipment, Brackett said.

There is also outdoor seating in a specially glassed-in area. The terminal has apron parking for five aircraft.

Other improvements that took place during this phase of improvements included upgrading an existing taxiway, constructing a new jet blast fence for runway 24, and drainage and safety improvements to the runway infield.

The design and construction work was carried out by Wadell Engineering and Edge Development Inc.