ABOVE: The airport’s website describes it as ‘one of the world’s busiest airports in terms of general aviation activity’  

California’s oldest municipal airport, Long Beach Airport, is to subsidise unleaded avgas for general aviation users; offering unleaded 94-grade fuel (UL94) at the same price as traditional 100LL fuel. It is only one of a handfuls of airports in the US to over such an incentive.

Whereas UL94 can be between $2-$4 more per gallon than its conventional counterpart, the Unleaded Aviation Fuel Subsidy Program will offset the difference, with a $200,000 budget in reimbursements to be covered by airport revenue. Long Beach City Council unanimously voted in the offsetting scheme.

With the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) having set a target for the elimination of leaded fuel for all piston-powered aircraft by 2030, councillor Daryl Supernaw described the initiative as removing “one of the major barriers for [UL94’s] adoption,” before adding: “I’m proud that our City is pressing ahead with local solutions ahead of the federal government’s timeline”.

Airport staff will now begin working with fuel providers to implement the programme, with the cost of unleaded avgas envisioned to decrease over time as demand increases.

Long Beach Airport, which is owned and operated by the City of Long Beach, covers 1,166 acres and has three runways; the longest of which is used by passenger airlines and cargo services. Over 200 business operate on its property. In 2021, Airports Council International certified Long Beach Airport with a level 2 rating in the Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) programme.