Sunday, May 01, 2022

Keith Freitas: Airports director gives an overview of Camarillo Airport (KCMA), California

Keith Freitas, the county’s director of airports, gave a 10-minute presentation about the Camarillo Airport at the West Ventura County Business Alliance’s business and economic outlook luncheon April 14 at Spanish Hills Country Club.

The keynote speech, which was followed by questions from those in attendance, provided a brief overview of the airport, which Freitas said remains relatively unknown to the general public.

“There are so many different entities at the airport that do great things that we don’t broadcast,” Freitas said during his keynote speech. “We need to do a better job of connecting with the community.”

From an economic standpoint, the Camarillo Airport creates 1,750 jobs, and generates $115 million in payroll and $230 million in revenue for the county per year, said Freitas, who is six months into his role as airports director.

More than 60 businesses operate on the airport’s 650 acres, Freitas said.

The number includes aviation related companies, such as flight schools and hangars, as well as non-aviation businesses like the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ventura County and Waypoint Cafe. The airport is also home to the county fire department’s headquarters and the agricultural commissioner’s office.

Freitas dispelled rumors that Amazon plans to use the airport for cargo jet traffic.

“There was a lot of turmoil, and anybody that has been in this community has heard (the rumors),” he said. “There has been, in the six months I’ve been here, no discussion within the county or the airport staff about Amazon coming into the Camarillo Airport.”

He also said there are no plans for any other commercial service to use the airport.

Private aircraft take off and land at the airport daily, and Freitas said the number continues to grow.

He said the airport’s main development project is CloudNine, a group of private aircraft hangars and office suites.

The $34-million project, proposed by Westlake Village-based developer RKR Inc., consists of four 25,000-square-foot hangars. Each will be leased to a corporation or airplane owner and will have an additional 5,000 square feet of office space.

Construction began last May, and the hangars—expected to generate about 360 to 600 flights— will likely be ready for tenants this summer, according to previous Acorn coverage.

Freitas said CloudNine cleared the city’s process last month and recently received the final permit from the county.

Drones and electric aircraft, Freitas said, are also on the horizon and could potentially take off from and land at the Camarillo Airport.

Drones can be used to deliver packages, monitor wildfires and determine the health of crops, while electric planes that can take off and land vertically are not only less harmful to the environment, but also quieter than fuel-powered planes.

“The great thing from an airport standpoint is that it’s community friendly,” he said.

Freitas said he is still in no rush to update Camarillo’s airport master plan. Cities, he said, typically revise the plans every 10 to 20 years, and Camarillo’s was completed nearly 11 years ago.

“We have one in place that is just fine, and that’s what we’re working off right now,” Freitas told the audience.

Last year, an airport master plan update process was started and stopped amid widespread opposition to the possibility of commercial flights.

Freitas said he would rather conduct a noise compatibility study and revisit the master plan update in two or three years.

1 comment:

  1. airnav data for KCMA.
    Aircraft operations: avg 297/day *
    63% transient general aviation
    31% local general aviation
    3% military
    2% air taxi
    * for 12-month period ending 31 December 2020

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