A floating airport in the Pacific?

Just learned today of an initiative to expand the San Diego airport by building an international airport in the Southern California Bight.  The proposed semi-submerged moored structure would support two runways (400m long and 300m wide), a terminal, and supporting facilities (including fuel storage in the support pontoons).  A lawyer with experience in maritime legal issues, Adam Englund appears to be the main (and mostly solo?) proponent of the vision.

If Adam and his supporters pull this off, it will be a fascinating experiment in building large structures at sea.  The sustainability implications of the development — its potential impacts and benefits — are fascinating.  Among other things, desalination, mariculture, and wave/current power could be supported on the site.  Adam was even asking about turning kelp into jet fuel.

One might at first be skeptical (I was!), but the testimonials from a naval architects, as well as oceanographic greats like Walter Munk and Fred Speiss are quick to straighten out the initial knee-jerk reactions…  Perhaps the water world is coming sooner than we thought?

Floating landing strips, as proposed here, are not the only offshore structures under consideration. Liquid natural gas, or LNG, terminals are now being designed for locations offshore from Ensenada and the Coronado Islands. Future tankers with 100-foot draft are too deep for existing harbors and will have to be berthed offshore. A rising global sea level will call for reconstructions for many of the world’s harbors. We end this letter with a challenge. In the pioneering spirit of Charles Lindbergh, would it not be wonderful if San Diego would take a leadership role in meeting these global changes?

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