Airports History

1942 Contra Costa County purchased over 400 acres of land to build an airport in Central County for $98,000.00
1943 The airport is being developed by the County when World War II necessitates that the United States Army commandeer the site.  The Army adds an additional 100+ acres of land and spends $2 million on the construction of airport facilities.  A training base is built to train pilots to fly the P-39 Aircobra.
1946 Following the end of World War II, the War Assets Administration (WAA) returns the airport to the County for public use.
1947 The reversion of the airport is formalized on October 9th when an Instrument of Transfer between the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors and the WAA is executed. The airport is renamed Buchanan Field after County Supervisor William J. Buchanan, who served over 40 years as a board member.
1949 Lights are installed on the north-south facing runway (1L/19R).
1951-1953 U.S. Army uses Buchanan Field Airport to transport troops to and from Stoneman Base during the Korean War.
1961 The five-story Air Traffic Control Tower is built.
1968 SFO Helicopter Airlines begins service at Buchanan Field.
1970 Golden Pacific Airlines becomes the first airline to fly fixed-wing aircraft (a Beech 99) at Buchanan Field.
1977 Buchanan Field reaches its peak level of activity with 357,000 annual operations. Buchanan Field is ranked the 16th busiest airport in the nation, ahead of San Francisco International, JFK, LaGuardia and Washington Airports.
1986 Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) begins commercial jet service to Buchanan Field. The airline is later purchased by US Air, and is subsequently replaced by US Air Express. American Eagle also begins service during this time period.
1988 The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors institutes a County Noise Ordinance that restricts certain aircraft from operating at Buchanan Field.
1989 Over 100 general aviation pilots fly over 50,000 pounds of food and emergency supplies from Buchanan Field as part of an emergency airlift to earthquake stricken residents of Santa Cruz County. 
1992 The Airport allows Reynolds & Brown to develop 13 acres of Buchanan Field airport property where Sam's Club, Taco Bell, Sports Authority and Jiffy Lube now sit.
1993 Contra Costa County purchases Byron Air Park and begins to retrofit the site as the County's second airport, located approximately 3 miles south of Byron, CA.
1994 On October 8th, Byron Airport is officially dedicated.  The new airport is situated on 1307 acres of land, of which 814 acres are reserved as Habitat Management Land (HML).  The HML is habitat for special-status species including the San Joaquin kit fox, the California tiger salamander, the California red-legged frog and others.
2003 Completion of the Byron Airport Habitat Management Land operating manual.  The document prescribes the steps necessary to preserve and maintain the land that endangered and special-status species may inhabit.

Buchanan Field Circa 1946

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FAA Tower Circa 1961

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Airport Director Chronology

1946 Darrell Jensen
1947-1956 Noble "Buck" Newsom
1956-1957 Lee Meyers
1957-1977 Marvin Scott
1977-1978 Ralph Bradley
1978-1981 Donald Flynn
1981-1982 Mark Kermit
1982-1996 Harold Wight
1996-1997 R.C. Smith
1997-2003 David Mendez
2003-Present Keith Freitas

San Joaquin kit fox

San Joaquin Kit Fox