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In January, Catalina Island Conservancy welcomed more than 100 U.S. Marines and Navy Sailors (Seabees) to Catalina Island, as the troops arrived via helicopters at the Airport in the Sky to begin work on repairing the aging main runway at Catalina’s only airport.

The troops are working six days a week on the 3,000-foot-long runway at the airport owned and operated by the Conservancy. The nonprofit organization has entered into an innovative partnership with the US Marines and Navy to repair the runway to ensure the airport remains open while also providing the troops with valuable training in a remote location with difficult logistics. The partnership is part of the Department of Defense’s Innovative Readiness Training Program (IRT), which matches community needs with military training opportunities.

The Marines and Sailors have already established an encampment of tents at the airport that include housing, food service, hygiene, medical facilities and more. They plan to spend the next three months replacing the airstrip’s asphalt with concrete, creating a much more durable and reliable surface for landing.
The new runway will be called ACE Clearwater Airfield following a $1.5 Million naming gift from the Torrance-based company.  The gift toward the $5 Million project was facilitated by Kellie Johnson, ACE Clearwater President and CEO, and Conservancy Board Chair.  Her father Tim Dodson, and her husband Gary were also instrumental in making the donation possible, creating a great family legacy.

The Marines and Sailors expect to finish the repairs by late March 2019, and the airport is slated to re-open to the public soon thereafter, depending on weather and other factors. The troops will work six days a week, and they will rotate on and off the Island over the course of the project, ensuring more Marines and Sailors benefit from the training opportunity.

This innovative partnership has attracted local and national media coverage.  Please see the print and broadcast stories below, and check back here for the latest news and updates on the progress at the Airport in the Sky.



Catalina Island Conservancy Announces a $1.5 Million Naming Gift from ACE Clearwater for the Airport in the Sky Runway Repairs (January 28, 2019)
The Daily Breeze (January 28, 2019)

2 birds, 1 stone’: Military partnership gets Catalina Island a new airport runway 
Long Beach Post (January 27, 2019)

Catalina Island Conservancy Welcomes Marines and Navy to the Airport in the Sky for Runway Repair Project 
USNI News (January 2, 2019)
 (January 10, 2019)
The Catalina Islander (January 14, 2019)
OC Register (January 25, 2019)
Coeurd'AlenePress (January 25, 2019)
ABC7 ( January 27, 2019) 

Marines ‘invade’ Catalina Island to fix crumbling airstrip at Airport in the Sky
LATimes (January 7, 2019)
Military (January 8, 2019
AOPA (January 10, 2019)

Marines and Navy to Bring Equipment to Catalina Island for Airport in Sky Runway Repair Project ENews (December 10, 2018) ENews (December 11, 2018)
OC Register ENews (December 11, 2018)
The Catalina Islander (December 13, 2018)
The Daily Breeze (December 27, 2018)

Catalina Island Conservancy to Bring U.S. Marines to Catalina to Repair Airport Runway and Provide Strategic Training Opportunity ENews (October 30, 2018) ENews (October 30, 2018) ENews (October 30, 2018) ENews (October 30, 2018) ENews (October 30, 2018) ENews (October 30, 2018) ENews (October 30, 2018)  ENews (October 30, 2018) ENews (October 30, 2018) ENews (October 30, 2018) ENews (October 30, 2018) ENews (November 1, 2018) ENews (November 1, 2018) ENews (November 1, 2018)
The Catalina Islander ENews (November2, 2018)
LonelyPlanet ENews (November 9, 2018)


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