LA/Palmdale Regional Airport
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|LA/Palmdale Regional Airport|
|IATA: PMD – ICAO: KPMD|
|Operator||Los Angeles World Airports &|
U.S. Air Force
|Elevation AMSL||2,543 ft / 775.1 m|
Located on 5,800 acres (23 km²), Palmdale Airport is generally considered one of the largest civilian airports in the world. However, the site exists predominantly as a manufacturing plant for aircraft used by the United States military forces. Palmdale Airport itself is a small commercial air terminal leased from the Air Force by Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), a department of the city of Los Angeles. The airport is located at the southwest corner of Plant 42 and began civilian operations in 1971.
Built in 1940, Palmdale Airport was operated by the United States Government, primarily as an emergency landing strip. In 1946 its operation was turned over to Los Angeles County for private use. In 1950, the airport was again taken over by the Federal Government for use in building and testing military aircraft, thus establishing operation of United States Air Force Plant 42.
From 1970 to 1983, the Los Angeles Department of Airports, now called Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), acquired approximately 17,750 acres (72 km2) of land east and south of Plant 42 in unincorporated Los Angeles County to be developed into the future "Palmdale Intercontinental Airport," with the goal of providing a regional alternative to LAX. To date, LAWA has not developed its Palmdale airport beyond that of a small commuter airport serving only the Antelope Valley. In late 2008, the city of Palmdale expressed interest in assuming operations at Palmdale Airport, including management of the terminal, taxiways, and parking, from LAWA. In response, LAWA indicated that it was receptive to transferring the lease to Palmdale. Los Angeles still desires to retain the the land it owns adjacent to Palmdale for eventual use as an airport. However, the city is currently exploring potential non-aviation uses for the land, including activities related to energy production.
After several airlines were unable to sustain flight operations at Palmdale, the terminal was remodeled and reopened in May 2007 to attract commercial carriers to the airport. But convincing airlines of the marketability of the airport without subsidies has been difficult. Although Palmdale Airport offers airline passengers a quicker ground transportation travel time from Sherman Oaks than the standard LAX airport car trip down the 405 freeway, it has not consistently provided the range of destinations that would convince passengers to consider it as an alternative to relieve the overcrowding at LAX and Bob Hope Airport in Burbank. While the communities surrounding LAX and Burbank do not want the added traffic volume and noise of additional flights, most Antelope Valley residents support expanding service at Palmdale Regional, due to the positive economic benefits that regular commercial service would provide.
In January 2007, subsidies valued at $4.6 million, with $2 million slated to underwrite losses incurred from providing airline service, were raised to restore commercial service to the airport. The incentive package included a $900,000 grant from the federal government given to the city of Palmdale to develop regional airport service.
In February 2007, the city of Palmdale and LAWA selected United Airlines to provide service between Palmdale and San Francisco International Airport. (The only other proposal was from Delta Air Lines to Salt Lake City). The SkyWest Airlines-operated United Express offered twice-daily, regional jet service beginning on June 7, 2007.
Between June 7 and December 31, 2007, the airport had served a total of 12,022 passengers. Based on this total and the current level of service, the annual average passenger volume of Palmdale Regional Airport should be about 21,198 passengers annually (approximately 58 passengers per day).
On September 3, 2008, the San Francisco service was increased from two 50-seat regional jets to four 30-seat turboprop flights per day.  However, on its September 18 schedule update, United canceled all flights beginning December 7, 2008, the day after the expiration of the federal grant and exactly 18 months after the beginning of the PMD services.
LAWA is currently developing a Master Plan for Palmdale that will guide airport land use and development decisions through 2030.
On February 1, 1991, USAir Flight 1493, a Boeing 737 landing on Runway 24L at LAX, collided upon touchdown with a SkyWest Airlines Fairchild Metroliner, Flight 5569 departing to Palmdale Regional Airport, that had been holding in position on the same runway. The collision killed all 12 occupants of the SkyWest plane and 22 persons aboard the USAir 737.
Location and layout
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The two main runways at this airport are each over 2 miles (3 km) in length each.
Military usage and manufacturing
- ^ http://www.dailynews.com/antelopevalley/ci_5144422 United Airlines selected for Palmdale-Frisco service, LA Daily News, 02/02/2007
- ^ http://www.presstelegram.com/ci_8113873?source=rss L.A. Area Airport Totals for 2007, Long Beach Press Telegram, 01/30/2008
- ^ LA/PALMDALE REGIONAL AIRPORT TO DOUBLE AIR SERVICE IN SEPTEMBER, LAWA News Release, 2008-06-18
- Palmdale Regional Airport - Los Angeles World Airports
- Palmdale Aviation & Aerospace Commission
- (PDF), effective 14 Jan 2010
- Resources for this airport: