Van Nuys Airport to curtail runway closure during repairs

The operators of busy Van Nuys Airport have agreed to dramatically reduce the number of days the main runway will be closed for major improvements.

Plans call for the 8,000-foot runway to be closed for 10 days and 26 nights instead of 17 weeks — a lengthy closure that airport tenants said would hurt their operations, which have already been hit hard by the recession.

Van Nuys is one of the busiest general-aviation airports in the nation, with more than 300,000 takeoffs and landings a year. Its 730 acres are home to more than 100 businesses, such as charter operations, fixed base operators, maintenance facilities and flight schools that contribute about $1.3 billion annually to the local economy.

This “marks a major victory in our efforts to save businesses and employees at Van Nuys Airport from the devastating effects of an extended runway closure,” said Curt Castagna, president of the Van Nuys Airport Assn., a nonprofit organization.


The association announced the agreement Tuesday.

Castagna said tenants and aviation groups have worked over the last three months with Los Angeles World Airports, the operator of Van Nuys, and the airport’s contractor to develop a suitable repair schedule.

The project includes an asphalt overlay and partial reconstructions of the most worn sections of the runway, a job that should take about three months. Officials say the work should cost less than the original estimate of $20 million and will not affect the airport’s 4,000-foot runway, which is used mainly by piston aircraft.

According to the plan, the closures will be from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. The length of the main runway will also be limited for 65 days to no less than 5,000 feet for landings and 5,209 feet for departures, enough to accommodate corporate and private jets.

Details of the agreement still need to be finalized before the plan is submitted to the Federal Aviation Administration for approval. The deadline for submitting the plan is Sept. 30, and no date has been set for the start of the work.