Catalina Airport Project Makes Progress; Gains Major Cash Donation

Runway 4-22 at Catalina island’s recently renamed ACE Clearwater Airport will be under construction for about three months. Catalina Island Conservancy

Work to restore the well-worn runway at Catalina Airport (KAVX), located on the island outside the Los Angeles metropolitan area, is well underway. More than 100 U.S. Marines and Navy sailors, who are working with the Catalina Island Conservancy as part of a partnership with the Department of Defense, arrived in January to begin work on the much-needed repairs to the 3,250-foot paved runway, which was full of potholes and loose rocks. The pavement will be replaced with a more durable concrete material.

The troops are working six days a week and have established an encampment of tents at the airport that includes housing, food service, hygiene, medical facilities and more. The project is expected to take about three months.

The $5 million project got a $1.5 million donation from ACE Clearwater Enterprises, an aerospace parts manufacturer based across the southern California coastal water in Torrance. The donation came from ACE Clearwater’s president and CEO Kellie Johnson, who is also the Conservancy board chair, along with her husband Gary and father Tim Dodson. The major donation inspired the Catalina Conservancy to add ACE Clearwater Airfield to the airport's name.

Catalina's Airport in the Sky is currently closed due to the construction project, but is expected to reopen in late March or early April. The DC-3 Gifts & Grill restaurant located on the field, remains open and can be accessed by bus from the local town of Avalon.

Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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