Officials in California have unanimously approved an environmental plan that could make March Air Reserve Base near Riverside, Calif., much more accommodating to private aircraft operators by 2014. The base, which features a 13,300-foot primary runway, has permitted private aircraft operations with prior approval only since 2008 and has a rudimentary trailer-based FBO to supply the few private aircraft arrivals with jet-A, the only fuel currently available.
A proposed $6 million improvement plan by the March Joint Powers Authority (JPA)–which was tasked with establishing a joint-use aviation facility at the base–calls for the construction of a 150,000-sq-ft GA apron and a 5,000-sq-ft private aircraft terminal that will also house the airport authority offices. Also included in the plan is a pair of 10,000-sq-ft hangars and user parking at the facility, which is currently home to fighter aircraft and C-17 Globemaster cargo haulers.
According to Gary Gosliga, airport director for the March Inland Port Airport Authority, GA operations currently require landing permits secured in advance to ensure that operators are aware of the limited aviation services available, but he expects that requirement to be phased out over the next few months as the airport’s FAA status is changed to military joint-use, open to the public. Air Force officials have stated in the past that they would welcome private aviation at the base to help contribute financially to its upkeep. The airport authority has modest expectations for the amount of business it will attract, anticipating approximately 4,000 operations a year, possibly doubling that number by 2025.