Runway 25 rebuilt at Oxnard Airport

Runway 25 has fresh paint, a new surface and is ready to go. (Photo by Chris Frost)

Runway 25 has fresh paint, a new surface and is ready to go. (Photo by Chris Frost)

Oxnard– Runway 25 is open and ready to go at Oxnard Airport, as it received a new surface and new runway markings.

The community celebrated with a ribbon-cutting Friday, February 12.

The reconstructed runway will serve a vital interest in Ventura County’s future as it progresses and grows in the 21st Century.

Director of Airports Keith Freitas said Oxnard has been in service for 87 years, and he noted that what makes a great airport is the community surrounding the airport.

“It’s the pilots and the businesses around the airport,” he said. “The backbone of all that is the runway. That’s what brings it all together. The qualities and the features of the runway are what make it all happen.”

Frietas said he had nothing to do with all the greatness surrounding the day.

“I’ve been here all of five days by the time we did the ribbon-cutting,” he said. “There is all the great work with airport staff that did this, Aaron Powers from our team, from securing the grant funding, it was the largest dollar amount, $14.4 million, that the county received for the unity airports as long as anybody can remember. We spent the last two years pulling it all together. Having that runway pavement reconstruction means it will be there for the next 40 years.”

He noted that it draws all the businesses and airplanes to Oxnard.

Frietas said FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) Grants for the airport are 90 percent, and the rest comes from CalTrans and the local share.

“Because of the pandemic, this was 100 percent funding,” he said. “Because of the unique times we are in, we got 100 percent funding from the FAA.”

The event makes Frietas feel good.

“It was great to see the support and excitement to have the community come out for the airport,” he said. “It’s been there a long time.”

Oxnard Airport is a busy place.

“We have about 110,000 operations a year,” he said. “That’s either a landing or a takeoff. Oxnard, for the most part, is personal aircraft operation and flight training.”

According to the Economic Benefits analysis, “Oxnard Airport created 2,018 economic benefits of $51.3 million of output, 310 total jobs supported, and payrolls for workers of $19.8 million. The total benefits include both direct and secondary benefits.”

Freitas said the opportunity propelled him to take on Ventura County.

“I had been there for 24 years, and I was looking for a new challenge,” he said. “That was a big part of it. Frankly, the location, I was born and raised in California, and I have no desire to leave California. It’s close to the coast. What a gorgeous place to work and live.”

For Freitas, he said it all came down to Oxnard and Camarillo Airport and the opportunities that he sees.

“The two airports have very strong bones,” he said. “It’s similar to where I was, but these airports have more potential.”

As the new director, his first priority is getting acclimated.

“They are economic engines, and it’s finding that fit with the community,” he said. “Each airport is a little different. It’s not just the pilots and the businesses at the airport; it’s the communities that surround the airport. We’re building that vision together. The excitement for me is the process of pulling all those folks together and figuring out what that is.”

Oxnard City Councilman Bert Perello sits on the Airport Authority Board, and he was proud to be with Oxnard Airport Authority President Walsh Calhoun, the only pilot on the board, and his alternate Eugene Fussell.

“I’m privileged to represent Oxnard on the Oxnard Airport Authority with Chairman Walter Calhoun, Councilwoman Vianey Lopez, and Supervisors Kelly Long and Carmen Ramirez,” Perello said. “The Oxnard Airport has been an asset to Ventura County and the City of Oxnard presently and going forward.”

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