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BrighamYen
Aug 26, 2007, 10:32 AM
Palmdale? Ontario? Are you crazy?

Unless these airports have high-speed rail options to connect them to LA, it is absolutely the worst idea you can think of. The amount of traffic! I don't even want to imagine what it would be like to have to go to PALMDALE to fly out of LA!

Build the high-speed rail link FIRST, then build an airport that can handle LA.

urbanflyer
Aug 26, 2007, 1:12 PM
I do not think all the blame can rest on NIMBY residents if an accident occurs. It is up to the flight controllers and operators to safely regulate the airport given the conditions that currently exist. Expansion in the name of increased safety makes sense but LAX officials cannot operate sloppily because the runways are overcrowded now.

All you need to know about the runway reconfiguration plan:

http://www.pbase.com/cityflyer/image/84492220/original.jpg

As you can see, there are no alterations to existing residential lots.

More on point, controllers and operators DO routinely achieve safe conditions given the challenging 2700 movements/day environment they're faced with. But the most critical safety risk in aviation comes from human factors, and with that being reality, continued use of facilities that are both overburdened and based on obsolete 35 year-old safety standards is totally unacceptable. How many near accidents are needed? The concerns of a few thousand Westchester residents are irrelevant in the face of the 60+ million travelers who use LAX on an annual basis.

This incident list is for 2006 alone:

http://www.pbase.com/cityflyer/image/84492152/original.jpg

LA/OC/London
Aug 26, 2007, 5:26 PM
All you need to know about the runway reconfiguration plan:

http://www.pbase.com/cityflyer/image/84492220/original.jpg

As you can see, there are no alterations to existing residential lots.

More on point, controllers and operators DO routinely achieve safe conditions given the challenging 2700 movements/day environment they're faced with. But the most critical safety risk in aviation comes from human factors, and with that being reality, continued use of facilities that are both overburdened and based on obsolete 35 year-old safety standards is totally unacceptable. How many near accidents are needed? The concerns of a few thousand Westchester residents are irrelevant in the face of the 60+ million travelers who use LAX on an annual basis.

This incident list is for 2006 alone:

http://www.pbase.com/cityflyer/image/84492152/original.jpg

Thank you urbanflyer - I agree with you 100% and thanks for the diagram :) . It's true that human error will always play a role in aviation just as it does with any other task, however outdated infrastructure only makes a mistake all the more plausible. Air traffic controllers can only do so much with what they're given and to have 8 runway incursions this year alone is worrisome no matter how you look at it. I think it's completely fair to blame the NIMBY's for the constant delays that have been placed on LAX modernization, a good portion of which would address current safety concerns. It's great that the runway re-config won't his residential zones, but the fact that a true modernization plan has stalled for so long because of these residents is insane in my opinion.

And Baz I used to live in Westchester so I know what's up around there. While I understand the implications of an expanded airport, I also recognize that LAX is the fifth busiest gateway in the world and provides a lot for our local economy. As urbanflyer stated, 60 million plus passengers are far more important than a few Westchester residents. Also, leaving LAX in its current state will cause airlines to move to other airports, which could have an impact on the city's economy. For once LA residents need to stop thinking about themselves and start recognizing what's beneficial for the region at large.

Steve2726
Aug 27, 2007, 1:48 PM
That reconfiguration plan is not what is currently being proposed. That is the old plan that involved tearing down terminals 1-3. The current plan keeps those terminals and moves the runways further north. The east end of Lincoln Blvd will be in a tunnel below where the new runway will go.

BrighamYen
Aug 27, 2007, 8:17 PM
For once LA residents need to stop thinking about themselves and start recognizing what's beneficial for the region at large.


Yes! This concept needs to be applied to so many different aspects to our city's development. From transit (Cheviot Hills NIMBYs with Expo Line) to residential proposals (A few Flower Street Lofts residents challenging the Amacon tower next to them). LA is probably one of the most selfish & individualistic cities on earth because it is incredibly PRIVATIZED (beautiful houses, crappy public spaces)! Add the expansive sprawl with the worst traffic in the nation and you have yourself a metropolis divided into little pieces of "communities" that form provincial bubbles. That prevents people from realizing that it isn't just about their own little bubble in the BIG PICTURE of Los Angeles development. This obviously applies to the residents who fear and reject LAX modernization plans. They perceive it as a threat to their community, but have little regard or consideration for the region (of 18 million) as a whole. Not to mention the lives of those who come to near collisions on the tarmac.

And you get people like the ones in Cheviot Hills who don't care that the Expo Line could truly help develop a more extensive rail system that would finally provide a more effective alternative to the automobile. All they care about is themselves. "I don't give a fuck about DTLA or SM," as one resident from Cheviot Hills stated at a meeting about Expo Line. Do they care that the Expo Line going through the right-of-way could save precious time to increase speed, and therefore, ridership? Helping to alleviate the pain/suffering people have to endure sitting in traffic by providing an alternative? No they don't care. And neither do Westchester residents when it comes to this very dire issue regarding LAX runway safety.

If everyone thought like them (that would be a very scary situation), LA would become more and more fragmented, leading to an extreme form of "democracy" (fueled not by civic engagement, but by fear) that would do little to enhance the quality of life for themselves, and only prove that we have a faulty system in place where the only LOSERS in this game of life are unfortunately all the people of this entire LA region. :(

Wright Concept
Aug 28, 2007, 4:44 PM
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-lax28aug28,1,1754403.story?coll=la-headlines-california

From the Los Angeles Times
New LAX runway safety breach
The FAA is probing an incident Saturday in which two Boeing 737s passed close to each other on the north airfield.
By Stuart Silverstein
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

August 28, 2007

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating a weekend runway safety breach at LAX in what apparently was the second such incident at the airport in less than two weeks, officials said Monday.

The latest episode, which occurred shortly before 10 p.m. Saturday, involved two Boeing 737s at the north airfield of Los Angeles International Airport.

Officials said a Continental plane that had arrived from Newark, N.J., crossed the so-called hold bars where it was supposed on stop on its runway.

The aircraft, Flight 1502, apparently encroached into the runway area of an American Airlines plane, Flight 1254, that was leaving for Miami.

It was unclear Monday night whether the American Airlines plane was already rolling, in the air or just cleared for takeoff.

FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown said a preliminary investigation found that the two aircraft were at least 1,000 feet apart and possibly were never closer than 3,000 feet.

Officials noted that the previous incident, which occurred Aug. 16 and was officially designated a "runway incursion," was a near-collision in which two airliners were only 37 feet apart.

Brown said it was not determined whether Saturday night's incident also would be officially characterized as a runway incursion, a serious safety breach involving encroachments affecting incoming or outgoing aircraft.

Although officials said the incident apparently was in the "lower severity" category, it was serious enough to sound a safety alarm in the LAX control tower.

If the incident is officially labeled a runway incursion, it would be the eighth such event since Jan. 1.

LAX officials declined to comment.

In the Aug. 16 incursion, a WestJet Boeing 737 that had arrived from Calgary, Canada, was crossing the runway when it almost collided with a Northwest Airlines Airbus A320 speeding toward takeoff, according to a preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board.

The WestJet pilot switched to a different radio frequency before being cleared by tower controllers to taxi across the Northwest plane's runway. A ground controller then mistakenly instructed the pilot to proceed across the runway.

The WestJet plane traveled slowly toward the Northwest plane, which sped up to about 150 mph in preparation for takeoff, according to the FAA.

Of the roughly 657,000 takeoffs and landings during the 12-month reporting period from Oct. 1, 2005, to Sept. 30, 2006, there were eight incursions, officials said.

Among the 35 busiest commercial airports nationwide, LAX has the fifth-highest rate of such close calls, the FAA said.

Although a $330-million project is underway to move a runway on the south airfield to help reduce such problems, similar plans to reconfigure the north airfield have stalled because of community opposition.

In a separate incident Monday, an Alaska Airlines jetliner bumped into one of the same carrier's parked planes.

The incident occurred about 1 p.m. as the slowly moving plane was being pushed away from a departure gate at Terminal 3, authorities said. The left wings of the two planes collided.

Officials described the incident -- which involved two Boeing 737s -- as minor, and said there were no injuries to passengers or crew and little damage to the planes.

The two aircraft were grounded but passengers were transferred to other flights, an Alaska Airlines spokeswoman said.

stuart.silverstein@latimes.com

Buckeye Native 001
Aug 29, 2007, 12:59 AM
^Beautiful. :rolleyes:

BrighamYen
Aug 29, 2007, 9:47 AM
Move that damn north runway already! Stop with the NIMBYism and get on with it already! This is getting truly ridiculous. Does the gov't have the spine to protect its citizens or listen to special interest groups afraid of losing their front lawns?! People's lives (including yours if you fly out of LAX) are at stake here.

Wright Concept
Sep 4, 2007, 6:35 PM
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-laxcustoms4sep04,1,2215793.story?coll=la-headlines-california

From the Los Angeles Times
Customs puts systems upgrade into high gear
LAX officials say they are encouraged by the response to the Aug. 11 computer failure that stranded thousands of international travelers.
By Tami Abdollah
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

September 4, 2007

Scrambling to avoid a repeat of a systems meltdown last month that snarled travel for tens of thousands of international passengers at LAX, U.S. customs officials have fast-tracked an overhaul of their operations here and around the nation.

Los Angeles International Airport officials say they are encouraged by the response of customs officials, who were put in a hot seat after their widely publicized system failure Aug. 11.

About $15.3 million has been allocated to refurbish technical systems at the country's 104 major airports and international border crossings within the next six to nine months, bringing the upgrade project to a close about nine months ahead of schedule, said Ken Ritchhart, assistant commissioner in the Office of Information and Technology with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

"Everything has been moved up," Ritchhart said. "We recognize the fact that having folks sit on airplanes for hours is not acceptable, so we have to look at new procedures . . . to make sure it doesn't happen again."

The outage at LAX that led to the speedup of the nationwide overhaul was the result of a single malfunctioning computer that prevented customs from screening international passengers for security risks.

Officials had no suitable backup system, and more than 17,000 arriving passengers were stranded in planes on the tarmac for hours while about 16,000 departing passengers waited at their gates for updates from carriers with little information.

By Thanksgiving, or Christmas at the latest, the entire customs system at LAX will be redone, with not only new workstations, network switches, routers and cables, but also a snazzy new satellite backup system that will allow screeners to access network databases should local routers fail, Ritchhart said.

Airport officials said they have seen signs that the outage -- a huge embarrassment for customs officials and a source of outrage from passengers -- has touched a nerve at the agency's highest levels.

"The tangible steps that have been taken, they're encouraging, and, frankly, they're impressive," said Paul Haney, deputy executive director for airports and security for Los Angeles World Airports, the agency that operates LAX.

"We actually have tangible evidence that this is being taken very seriously and there's a commitment to ensure that there is never a repeat of this nature."

Customs officials traced the source of the LAX system outage to a malfunctioning network interface card on a desktop computer in the Tom Bradley International Terminal.

The card, which allows computers to connect to a local area network, experienced a partial failure that started about 12:50 p.m., slowing down the system, said Jennifer Connors, an official in the office of field operations for the customs agency.

As data overloaded the system, a domino effect occurred with other computer network cards, eventually causing a total system failure a little after 2 p.m., Connors said. The system was restored about nine hours later, only to give out again late the next day, a Sunday, for about 80 minutes, until about 1:15 a.m. that Monday. The second outage was caused by a power supply failure, Connors said.

During the Saturday outage, customs officials implemented their slower and more limited backup system, which included setting up laptops at workstations and using the laptops to search through copies of files from the downed network on a CD-ROM and scan lists of names.

Last week, airport officials received 100 laptops, weeks earlier than promised. In addition, they are being allocated 30 more customs officials to help process passengers more quickly.

Customs officials said that, instead of just one information technology supervisor and one technician on duty as was the case Aug. 11, the agency now has seven such personnel on staff at LAX. They also plan to hire at least three more systems technicians and will explore other ideas, such as having another airport handle some of LAX's screening load.

"Maybe Atlanta's not too busy and can handle these five flights, and then phone it in, to redistribute the workload," Ritchhart said.

In addition to the new satellite site, Ritchhart said customs is also looking at a more long-term idea of hiring additional Internet service providers to ensure more redundancy in the backup system.

Ritchhart said the LAX workstations were about four years old, with networking switches and routers six years old and cables about 20 years old. Nearly all had reached the end of their life expectancy, he said.

Local airport agency officials also have been dealing with the results of the outage that left them fielding dozens of angry phone calls and e-mails from passengers seeking reimbursement for missed cruises or hotel rooms.

Officials recently held a three-hour meeting to brush up on emergency procedures, including notifying people via the airport agency's website (which was not done during the Aug. 11 incident).

The entire public relations staff underwent training last week on how to post urgent information on the site without having to contact information technology staff.

"It was a shortcoming on the part of my public information officer and the command post to implement that, and then . . . there was a shortcoming on the information technology people to get it posted, so it never got posted," airport agency spokeswoman Nancy Castles said of last month's incident.

Also last week, airport officials approved adding 21 more visitor service representatives at the Bradley terminal; officials said their presence could help in communicating with travelers in the event of another incident.

Along with new flight displays that will arrive with the planned renovation of the Bradley terminal, airport officials also plan to set out portable signboards during any future outage that will allow them to update those coming to pick up passengers and advise them on how long it may take to get through customs and baggage claim.

Just days after the outage, Los Angeles City Council members Bill Rosendahl and Janice Hahn called for an immediate report from the airports agency on actions taken by customs to permanently correct the computer malfunction problem.

They also called for the agency to report on contingency plans for working with customs and other officials to properly deal with passengers during another breakdown.

tami.abdollah@latimes.com

Wright Concept
Oct 23, 2007, 10:16 PM
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-lax23oct23,0,1201389.story?coll=la-home-center

From the Los Angeles Times
FAA chief cites hazard at LAX site
The acting official says the two north runways must be moved farther apart to reduce the chance of a collision on the ground.
By Steve Hymon
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

October 23, 2007

The acting chief of the Federal Aviation Administration said Monday that the two north runways at LAX need to be reconfigured to lessen the chances of collisions between aircraft on the ground.

"In general we're happy with the way that the south airfield is going" at Los Angeles International Airport, said Bobby Sturgell, acting FAA administrator, referring to the current reworking of the runways on the facility's south side. "We'd like to see something done on the north side. . . . I think the geometry is flawed and has to be fixed."

Sturgell said -- as did his predecessor -- that the pair of runways on the north side are too close together and need to be separated further.

That has been a contentious issue in Westchester, where some residents say such a project -- if it involved moving the northernmost runway nearer to Westchester Parkway and Lincoln Boulevard -- would bring jet noise and pollution closer to their neighborhood.

The FAA has been increasingly critical of the airport in recent years, after a string of incidents on the ground there. Planes using the outer runway on LAX's north side must cross the inner runway to reach the terminals, and that has resulted in a variety of so-called runway incursions, in which planes intrude on the paths of other aircraft, the most serious ones resulting in near collisions.

Sturgell said Monday that the most serious of runway and taxiway accidents on the ground at the nation's airports have decreased in the last two years -- from 31 to 24, an all-time low.

LAX has had five serious incursions in the last five years. Only one of the five was considered the most serious type, in which pilots have to take extreme action to avoid a collision.

Sturgell said that moving the runways apart is not a guaranteed fix. "I think one of the things that people have to remember in this question is that no one thing will solve this issue," he said. "We have to tackle this problem of runway safety from as many angles as possible. It includes things as simple as enhanced paint markings on the runway."

Monday's conference call with reporters was intended as an update on the FAA's push to improve runway safety around the country. Both federal and airport officials want to see the north runways at LAX further separated, but that could cost $1 billion and result in the northernmost runway moving more than 300 feet closer to Westchester.

NASA's Ames Research Center recently was contracted to study the north runway issue. That came after five other groups -- all affiliated with the airline industry -- concluded in their own studies or presentations that moving the northernmost runway was best.

Air traffic controllers released a report last month calling for the hiring of more controllers, which they said would do more to improve safety than moving the runways.

"Basically what they're talking about doing is spending roughly a billion dollars to eliminate or reduce one incursion a year -- and one that is happening 8,000 feet down the runway and outside the collision zone," said Mike Foote, president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Assn. of Los Angeles.

"From our standpoint, if they are willing to spend a billion dollars to do that, there are a lot of other things that you can do for a lot less money that would give you greater impact as far as safety is concerned," he added.

The FAA and controllers have been at odds over staffing and pay for years.

Last year, the FAA imposed a new contract on controllers, who are unhappy with salary and staffing issues.

FAA officials responded Monday to questions about a recent Associated Press report that found that NASA was withholding the results of a survey conducted several years ago with thousands of interviews with pilots about safety issues, including runway incidents. The AP, which had requested the survey results under the Freedom of Information Act, also reported that incursions and other safety incidents happen much more often than was reported by the federal government.

Sturgell and other FAA officials said that their agency had not seen the data and deferred comment to NASA.

They did, however, say that the FAA had issues going back several years with the way NASA was collecting data from the survey results.

Under pressure from Congress, NASA Administrator Michael Griffin said Monday he would review the situation to determine whether the information could be released.

steve.hymon@latimes.com

Wright Concept
Oct 29, 2007, 11:23 PM
http://www.dailybreeze.com/news/articles/10859026.html

The Daily Breeze
A 2nd pass at LAX for A380
Airbus will return to ensure the airport can handle the super-jumbo jet.
By Art Marroquin
Staff Writer

The Airbus A380 is scheduled to make a second test landing at Los Angeles International Airport next month to make sure the facility is ready to handle the world's largest airliner.

No passengers will be aboard the super-jumbo jet, but the plane's double-decked cabin is expected to be equipped with seats in first, business and coach classes this time around.

A hollowed-out shell of the Airbus A380 - looking more like a cargo plane than a commercial jetliner - debuted at LAX on March 19, about 15 minutes after a fully equipped version of the plane landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City.

The A380 is scheduled to take off from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, landing at LAX's newly renovated southern airfield at 2 p.m. Nov. 28, according to sources familiar with the trip.

The next day, about 150 dignitaries, guests and journalists will board the plane for a demonstration flight over Los Angeles.

The aircraft will then depart LAX at 8 a.m. Nov. 30 for Sydney, Australia.

"I think it's great, and I look forward to seeing it again," said Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, whose 11th District includes LAX.

Airport officials declined to comment on the landing because final details were still being worked out.

The A380's landing at LAX will be less complicated this time around because the plane will take off and land on the south airfield, which is now capable of handling the mega-jetliner, thanks to a $330 million renovation project.

Entire sections of LAX had to be shut down in March, when the A380 landed on one of the northern runways and maneuvered its way to the south airfield.

The plane is returning to LAX as a joint venture with Australian airline Qantas, which will be the first to offer A380 service out of LAX beginning in October 2008.

"Qantas has always been at the forefront of aviation innovation and we are pleased to be able to continue that tradition by being the first airline to operate the A380 from Los Angeles International on our flights to Australia later next year," said Wally Mariani, senior executive vice president of Qantas Airways' operations in the Americas and the Pacific.


The Airbus A380 boasts a wingspan that stretches nearly the length of a football field, a fuel capacity of about 82,000 gallons and the ability to hold more than 800 passengers, all while landing and taking off more quietly than smaller jetliners.

Listing price for the Airbus A380 is about $300 million.

"This multibillion-dollar investment in the A380 will allow us to offer our customers a revolutionary new approach to in-flight services and passenger comfort, so we can take customer experience to the next level," Mariani said.

To better prepare for the arrival of mega-jetliners at LAX, the Los Angeles City Council signed off on a $1.2 billion plan in August to build the Midfield Concourse adjacent to the Tom Bradley International Terminal. The project calls for building up to 10 new gates large enough to handle the A380 and the Boeing 787 by 2012.

"We're getting ready for an entire fleet of the Airbus A380s to land at LAX," Rosendahl said. "We're excited about this trip, and what it's going to do for the future of the city and the airport."

art.marroquin@dailybreeze.com

Wright Concept
Dec 5, 2007, 11:00 PM
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071205/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/runway_safety&printer=1;_ylt=AjCUsvn_VNoBOvhUzPhafyeWwvIE (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071205/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/runway_safety&printer=1;_ylt=AjCUsvn_VNoBOvhUzPhafyeWwvIE)
High risk of runway collision plagues US
By MICHAEL J. SNIFFEN,
Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 17 minutes ago

Air travelers face a high risk of a catastrophic collision on U.S. airport runways because of faltering federal leadership, malfunctioning technology and overworked controllers, congressional investigators said Wednesday.
The investigators gave the Federal Aviation Administration credit for reducing runway safety incidents from a peak in 2001. But they said the agency's "runway safety efforts subsequently waned" as the number of incidents settled at a lower level. Then, in the 2007 budget year that ended Sept. 30, the incidents spiked to 370 — 6.05 incidents per 1 million air traffic control operations. That approached the level in 2001, when there were 407 runway incursions and 6.1 rate. An incursion is any aircraft, vehicle or person that goes where it should not be in space reserved for takeoff or landing.

At this time, "no single office is taking charge of assessing the causes of runway safety problems and taking the steps needed to address those problems," the Government Accountability Office said in a report requested by Rep. Jerry F. Costello, D-Ill., and Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, D-N.J.
Then-Federal Aviation Administrator Marion Blakey stepped into that leadership void in August by calling an industrywide conference to produce ideas for quick action. In October, the FAA reported progress on recommendations from the conference, including speeding improved runway markings and pilot training. The GAO report approved of those moves but also recommended more leadership from the FAA, better data collection and less overtime required of controllers.

"This report makes clear that the Bush administration is cutting corners and failing to put passenger safety first," Lautenberg said. "The FAA is taking too many chances and ignoring too many red flags."
Serious incursions, where a collision was narrowly averted, declined to a record low 24 in 2007, compared with 31 the year before. But the report said they have stayed high enough to pose "a high risk of a catastrophic runway collision."

In response to the report, the FAA said it had reached its goal of reducing the most serious incursions by almost 25 percent in 2007. The agency said the overtime was a short-term issue that could be resolved through stepped-up hiring. Hiring is focusing on two dozen facilities with high overtime or six-day work weeks, according to the FAA, and a working group is studying whether scheduling changes could minimize fatigue.

FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown said runway safety is a priority and the agency "is safely staffing all of its air traffic facilities."
To Costello, "When there is great public attention and attention by the Congress, then the FAA acts. As soon as the attention goes away, the FAA reduces their attention." He is chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee on aviation.

Costello and Democratic Rep. James Oberstar of Minnesota, the full committee chairman, urged quick approval of a House-passed FAA bill that would provide $42 million for incursion reduction and $72 million for runway lighting; require an FAA runway safety and technology plan; and force the FAA to reopen contract negotiations with controllers. The Bush administration opposes that provision.

Since 1990, 63 people have died in six U.S. runway collisions. The FAA's previous definition did not classify some serious runway errors as incursions, including an Aug. 27, 2006, crash in Lexington, Ky., of a Comair jet that took off from a too-short runway, killing 49.

This year has seen dramatic near-misses:

On Aug. 16, two commercial jets carrying 296 people came within 37 feet of colliding at Los Angeles International.
A Delta Boeing 757 touched down in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on July 11 and had to take off immediately to avoid hitting a United Airbus A320 mistakenly on its runway.
A Delta Boeing 737 landing at New York's LaGuardia Airport on July 5 narrowly missed a commuter jet mistakenly cleared to cross its runway.The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating those incidents, two others in Denver and one in San Francisco.

The GAO endorsed a board recommendation that the FAA reduce mandatory overtime for controllers. Since the FAA imposed a contract on the controllers' union in 2006, experienced controllers have retired much faster than the agency predicted. The FAA also cut controller staff to respond to traffic pattern changes from airline mergers and bankruptcies. The union says the cuts are too deep and reduce safety; the FAA says air travel has never been safer.

The GAO said 52 percent of controllers at the nation's busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, regularly work six-day weeks. Overall, between 20 percent and 52 percent of controllers at 25 FAA facilities, including seven of the 50 busiest towers, are on six-day weeks.
Nevertheless, "agency officials indicated that they had no plan to mitigate the effects of air traffic controller fatigue," according to the report.

The president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, Patrick Forrey, noted the concerns by the safety board and the GAO about fatigue.

"How much more do we have to hear before the FAA is held accountable for the blatant disregard for safety it is showing by understaffing its facilities, working controllers past their breaking points and refusing to work with us to settle an ongoing contract negotiating impasse that has created the largest mass exodus of both veteran controllers and trainees we have seen since 1981?" he asked.

The GAO found that radar the FAA installed at 34 of the busiest airports to monitor aircraft on the ground does not work well when needed most — during heavy rain or snow. FAA's more advanced ground-control radar, operational at only eight airports, issues false alerts of impending collisions — 41 from June 7, 2006, to May 16, 2007, at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International.

The FAA's Office of Runway Safety has not produced a national runway safety plan since 2002, went two years without a permanent director and had a 45 percent staff cut over the past four years, the GAO found.
___
On the Net: GAO report: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d0829.pdf (http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d0829.pdf)

Affrojuice
Dec 7, 2007, 8:07 AM
Our airport LAX sucks!!!!!! I used LAX today and have to say LA/Ontario (which i used a couple of weeks ago) is way nicer, cleaner, and convenient (besides the fact that it is ontario). Honestly when I landed at LAX if felt like i was in the airport of a third world country. Why does LA have to have such a POS for an airport!!

Quixote
Dec 7, 2007, 9:29 AM
$2-billion face-lift for LAX set to begin

Improvements are necessary but passengers should know that they won't always be happy with the experience during construction, airport chief says.

By Jennifer Oldham, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
December 7, 2007

The wait is over for some hard-fought improvements at aging Los Angeles International Airport, the facility's executive director said Thursday, adding that passengers should brace for additional construction almost immediately.

Work will begin early next year on up to $2 billion in projects that will provide a face-lift for outdated terminals at the 79-year-old facility. Run-down escalators will be replaced and bathrooms refurbished at Terminals 1, 3 and parts of 6. The airport hopes to finish a massive project to reconfigure its south runway complex next fall.

"There will be parts of your experience at LAX that you won't be totally happy with when we get into the height of the program," said Gina Marie Lindsey, who marked her six-month anniversary at L.A. World Airports, the city agency that runs LAX and three other airports. "But we will be doing it in as passenger-friendly a way as possible."

Addressing a Los Angeles Current Affairs Forum luncheon, Lindsey also said officials hoped to finally build a new terminal in the next decade.

City leaders have spent 20 years, four mayoral administrations and $150 million trying to come up with a politically palatable plan to modernize a facility whose 1960s-era airfield is ill-prepared to handle new planes and whose cramped terminals are often the butt of jokes. Other major construction projects are underway, the first since the upper-level roadway and the Tom Bradley International Terminal were completed just before the 1984 Olympics.

Several projects included in a controversial modernization plan approved by the Federal Aviation Administration are expected to be built.

But more controversial elements, such as a new terminal in a Westchester neighborhood near the 405 Freeway, will not move forward.

Instead of devising a new master plan to redo LAX, Lindsey said airport officials would draw up a capital improvements program and work through projects on the list.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source: Los Angeles Times (http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-lindsey7dec07,1,6691624.story?coll=la-headlines-california)

LAsam
Dec 7, 2007, 4:40 PM
I'm so glad that they put Lindsey in charge of the airports. She's been there only six months, and she's already got these improvements geared up and ready to go. I was optimistic when she was appointed, and so far she's not letting me down.

Quixote
Dec 7, 2007, 8:12 PM
http://la.curbed.com/uploads/2007_12_lax3.jpg
[Images of LAX Lounge provided by Gensler Architects (http://www.gensler.com/)]

Loungin' at LAX: Bradley Terminal Get a Makeover

By Marissa Gluck
December 7, 2007

Everyone knows LAX is sort of a dump (although sometimes a charming one (http://www.encounterlax.com/)), for a major airport in a global city. So it's good to know the powers-that-be are investing a little in aesthetics for the Tom Bradley Terminal. Via our inbox comes news that weary (first and business class) travelers are now be treated to lots of walnut wood partitions and mid-century-ish leather chairs:

"The 10 travelers lounges in the [Tom Bradley International] terminal have been consolidated into four new lounges. Gensler (http://www.gensler.com/) designed the oneworld lounge for oneworld Alliance, which includes Qantas, Cathay Pacific and British Airways. Other oneworld members can use the lounge, but they didn't contribute to its design and construction, so they have to pay for each traveler who enters. The lounge cost around $4 million.

Allegedly, the old lounges were pretty tiny and pretty rundown. The consolidation and renovation is part of an overall makeover - planned and designed by Leo Daly (http://www.leoadaly.com/), I believe - to help LAX deal with the fact that many international carriers were skipping LA in favor of SFO because Tom Bradley, which was crappy when it opened and has only had modest and ineffective upgrades over the years."

http://la.curbed.com/uploads/2007_12_lax1.jpg

http://la.curbed.com/uploads/2007_12_lax2.jpg

http://la.curbed.com/uploads/2007_12_lax4.jpg

http://la.curbed.com/uploads/2007_12_lax5.jpg

http://la.curbed.com/uploads/2007_12_lax6.jpg

http://la.curbed.com/uploads/2007_12_lax7.jpg

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Source: Curbed LA (http://la.curbed.com/archives/2007/12/loungin_at_lax.php)

Quixote
Dec 13, 2007, 12:35 AM
Delta, Air France partnership to offer LAX-Heathrow route

By Atlanta Business Chronicle
Los Angeles Business from bizjournals
December 11, 2007

Delta Air Lines Inc. in spring will offer a new nonstop route connecting Los Angeles with London.

Beginning March 2008, the Atlanta-based carrier will link Los Angeles International Airport and London's Heathrow Airport through a joint venture with Air France. The flight, which will be operated by Air France, will begin March 30 from Los Angeles and from London on March 31.

With the new West Coast flight, Delta will offer four daily Heathrow flights -- twice daily from New York-JFK, once daily from Atlanta and once daily from Los Angeles. All Heathrow service from Atlanta and New York-JFK will be operated by Delta while service between Los Angeles and Heathrow will be operated by Air France.

"Access to London's Heathrow Airport has long been in the top of Delta's list of priorities and we are pleased to offer our customers access to the world's largest trans-Atlantic market from three of our U.S. gateways beginning in 2008," said Glen Hauenstein, Delta executive vice president of network planning and revenue management.

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Source: Los Angeles Business from bizjournals (http://www.bizjournals.com/losangeles/stories/2007/12/10/daily11.html?surround=lfn)

Quixote
Dec 13, 2007, 12:36 AM
Virgin America to link L.A., Seattle

By Eric Young, San Francisco Business Times
Los Angeles Business from bizjournals
December 12, 2007

Virgin America Inc. will expand its service along the west coast with flights to Seattle starting next year.

The airline, based in Burlingame, said it will start a route between Seattle and San Francisco beginning March 2008. Then it will link Seattle and Los Angeles in April 2008.

Owned in part by British billionaire Richard Branson, Virgin America serves Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, Las Vegas and Washington, D.C. The airline will add San Diego in February 2008.

The privately held airline plans to hire about 1,000 employees and serve 10 cities by August 2008.

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Source: Los Angeles Business from bizjournals (http://www.bizjournals.com/losangeles/stories/2007/12/10/daily26.html?surround=lfn)

Quixote
Dec 18, 2007, 10:36 PM
LAX runway review is urged

A push to improve safety on the north side of the airport takes on greater urgency after a report on close calls.

By Jennifer Oldham, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
December 17, 2007

Alarmed by a recent report about the high number of close calls between planes on the ground at LAX, some airport commissioners are urging officials to speed up a controversial review of how to make the facility's north runways safer.

Commissioners said the federal report provides the latest evidence that the runway safety issue must be addressed as soon as possible. They plan to bring up the matter at today's Board of Airport Commissioners meeting.

"Enough is enough," commission President Alan Rothenberg said in an interview late last week. "We're going to really push hard with staff and our lawyers to find some way to make things move faster."

But that "some way" could mean not waiting for a safety study recently commissioned to NASA that has been bottled up in Washington. The study had been agreed upon by airport officials and community activists in Westchester, which hugs LAX's northern boundary.

The report that heightened commissioners' concerns, issued Dec. 5 by the Government Accountability Office, found that since 2001, Los Angeles International Airport tallied the most on-ground close calls of any major U.S. airport. It also found that LAX led the nation in the most serious types of such incidents.

Several of the airport's most dramatic incidents in the last 18 months occurred on the north side. One hair-raising example -- in which two jets carrying 296 people came within 37 feet of each other -- was highlighted in the cover letter that accompanied the report.

Rothenberg said he now believes the north airfield safety study that commissioners recently ordered from NASA's Ames Research Center is unnecessary, and he will urge officials to proceed without it.

The stance angered residents who requested the NASA study, contending that five previous reports that found that the northernmost runway must be moved closer to their homes were conducted by groups that stood to benefit from the project.

"I'm frustrated with their game-playing, which is 'If it's expansionary, we'll do it; if it's not, we're going to hold off,' " said Denny Schneider, a Westchester resident who leads the LAX watchdog group Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion.

The Federal Aviation Administration and Los Angeles World Airports, the city agency that operates LAX, have argued for years that putting more space between the north airfield's two parallel runways is necessary to keep aircraft farther apart.

Close calls most often occur after airplanes that land on the outer runway get too close to the inner runway, where airplanes take off, as they make their way to the terminals on a series of taxiways. Officials hope to eliminate that problem on LAX's south side when a $333-million project to further separate its two parallel runways and install a center taxiway is completed late next year.

Airport agency officials concurred with Rothenberg, saying they're going to advise the commission to order a north airfield environmental review as early as Jan. 14, without waiting for the NASA study.

"I don't think we have time to waste," the airport agency's executive director, Gina Marie Lindsey, said in an interview Friday. "Every piece of information we get indicates there's a problem there that needs to be fixed."

The environmental review, required under state and federal law, will consider ways to improve north airfield safety and the likely effects of each method. Such a study is expected to take about two years, making commissioners reluctant to wait until the NASA study delay can be resolved.

Lindsey said she would ask planners to study moving the northernmost runway 340 feet, separating the runways by 100 feet, moving the inner runway closer to the terminals and building a taxiway around the end of the runways.

Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who represents the area around LAX, agreed that the environmental review should move forward but added that he believed an independent safety study by NASA still was necessary.

Airport commissioners ordered the NASA study last summer, but the agency has yet to begin its work. Lindsey said NASA officials promised to call her today to let her know whether they can proceed. The report was held up by a policy shift at NASA to focus its resources on space-related issues, she said.

Hoping to find other ways of addressing safety concerns, Rosendahl said, he has also asked LAX air traffic controllers to testify about staffing before the council's Trade, Commerce and Tourism Committee on Wednesday. The controllers union has said low staffing, not runway configuration, is the main safety problem.

The federal report found that short staffing in control towers contributed to an increase in close calls at airports. LAX controllers say they are overworked and recently completed an analysis that they say shows that close calls increased in years when the tower had lower staffing.

Adding controllers in the tower at LAX, if necessary, would be an easy way to improve safety on the north airfield, Rosendahl said.

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Source: Los Angeles Times (http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-runway17dec17,1,662280.story?coll=la-headlines-california&ctrack=1&cset=true)

Quixote
Dec 18, 2007, 10:36 PM
LAX officials to present safety report in January

By Jennifer Oldham, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
December 18, 2007

Los Angeles airport officials agreed Monday to report to the city's Board of Airport Commissioners in January about whether they can expedite an environmental study on how to reconfigure the north airfield at LAX to reduce close calls between planes on the ground.

Referring to a federal report released this month that found that Los Angeles International Airport led the nation in such incidents this decade, commissioners voiced frustration at the delay in determining how to improve the two parallel runways on the airport's north side.

Pilots land on the outer runways and sometimes violate the safety zone around the inner runway, where planes take off, as they make their way to the terminals on taxiways. Some community activists have suggested having planes land on the inner runway and take off on the outer one, but airport officials presented findings Monday that such a change probably would not help improve safety but would increase noise and pollution in neighboring communities.

Commissioners also suggested that airport staff members determine whether they can conduct engineering work and other construction-preparation activities while the environmental study is underway. They also suggested working with the FAA to speed the hiring of more air traffic controllers and the installation of lights on runways to alert pilots when runways are occupied.

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Source: Los Angeles Times (http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-lax18dec18,1,5166857.story?coll=la-headlines-california)

jlrobe
Dec 19, 2007, 1:23 AM
Our airport LAX sucks!!!!!! I used LAX today and have to say LA/Ontario (which i used a couple of weeks ago) is way nicer, cleaner, and convenient (besides the fact that it is ontario). Honestly when I landed at LAX if felt like i was in the airport of a third world country. Why does LA have to have such a POS for an airport!!

I don't know why it looks ugly, but I love that I can fly direct almost anywhere in the world on the cheap.

As long as LA has tons of direct flights for cheap and is safe, I could care less how nice it looks.

I havent had to make a connection since moving here.


Have you ever been to Heathrow's old terminals? Talk about shabby!

Affrojuice
Dec 19, 2007, 3:04 AM
I have actually been to Heathrow's old terminals..and you are right...they are pretty bad.
I have been traveling a lot lately, and have realized that a lot of the major airports around the country are a lot nicer than LAX. For example, last week I used the Portland, Denver, and Atlanta airports. Portland is a very nice modern airport, and what makes it even better is that the light rail takes you from the airport to downtown Portland (If only the f*@$ing greenlline actually went to LAX). Atlanta airport is huge, modern, and aesthetic...but what makes it so much better than LAX is that all of the main terminals are connected by underground rail. Have you ever had a connector flight at LAX, its a nightmare, you have to come out of your terminal, find the connecting bus which drops you off at your next terminal, and go through security again (I have relatives that have done this...and swear they never will again).
While I do appreciate having a major airport that we can get cheap flights at, the fact is, if LAX doesn't get better, a lot of airlines are going to start using alternative airports instead, decreasing our ability to get cheap and plentiful flights. I live in LA, the second biggest city in this country, why does my airport have to be rundown, inconvenient, and according to recent news apparently unsafe as far as the runways are concerned.

Quixote
Dec 19, 2007, 6:25 AM
I live in LA, the second biggest city in this country, why does my airport have to be rundown, inconvenient, and according to recent news apparently unsafe as far as the runways are concerned.

NIMBYism maybe.

Quixote
Dec 19, 2007, 10:00 AM
Airport shelves baggage proposal

By Art Marroquin and Rick Orlov, Staff Writers
December 17, 2007

Despite five years of study and $25 million in design costs, airport commissioners on Monday scrapped most of the plans for a massive LAX baggage-handling system as projected construction costs have soared.

Commissioners said the baggage-screening system planned for five terminals had become too technologically complicated and was part of an overall project budget that mushroomed from $341 million four years ago to more than $900 million.

"It's an unhappy situation I think that we have gotten as far as we have," said Gina Marie Lindsey, executive director of Los Angeles World Airports, which oversees the airport.

"Would we do it this way again? No."

Instead, members of the airport commission decided to turn the project over to airlines to pursue after construction bids came in higher than expected.
Lindsey said the terminals that would be affected on the south side of the facility are all airline-operated and the board felt the airlines could absorb the costs.

"They agreed, not happily, to do so," Lindsey said.

The baggage system is part of a massive LAX modernization program and was developed with federal officials as part of overall security measures at the airport.

But part of the problem is Transportation Security Administration funding.

In 2003, the TSA agreed to pay three-quarters - or $256 million - of the cost to install new baggage-screening systems at Los Angeles International Airport's nine terminals and two terminals at L.A./Ontario International Airport.

Since then, however, costs have skyrocketed and the TSA has declined to offer further funding for the project.

As a backup, LAX officials had hoped to dip into passenger facility fees to pay for the baggage-screening system.

But the Federal Aviation Administration has said such funds cannot be used for work on Terminals 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 because they operate on exclusive leases with individual airlines.
It was unclear Monday whether the airlines would choose to develop their own design for the baggage-screening system or if they would follow the airport's $25 million concept, which was funded by LAWA's budget and the TSA.

But Commissioner Fernando Torres-Gil said he was concerned about reversing the decision so late in the process.

"We were concerned about the lack of bids on previous projects and here we have two and are rejecting them," Torres-Gil said.

"I'm concerned about us maintaining credibility with the business community."

Airport commission President Alan Rothenberg suggested that the project's designs and a $312 million bid submitted by Austin Commercial be forwarded to the airlines for consideration.

"The reason we are changing direction here is because the airlines have agreed, though not necessarily happily, but they have agreed to shoulder their responsibility to do their own baggage system," Lindsey said.

In the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the TSA required that all passenger baggage be screened by the end of 2002.

To meet the deadline, LAX temporarily installed baggage-screening equipment and explosives-detection devices in the ticketing lobby areas of the terminals.

But the truck-size bag-screening machines that clutter the lobbies often create crowds that could be vulnerable to attack.

The plan for a new baggage system calls for moving the huge screening systems out of the terminals and into quarters where passengers would not see them.

Along with a new screening system, plans call for building inspection rooms, modifying computer systems, and installing an explosives-detection system and closed-circuit televisions.

Commissioner Sylvia Patsaouras also voiced concern over the amount already spent on the project.

"After spending so much, I'm concerned we are going to say we will start all over again," Patsaouras said.

"I would hope the airlines are able to use part of the work we have done."

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Source: Los Angeles Daily News (http://www.dailynews.com/breakingnews/ci_7747111)

Quixote
Dec 19, 2007, 10:08 AM
LAX controllers to seek city panel's help

Council members will be told that recent close calls involving planes on the ground are due to staff shortage.

By Jennifer Oldham, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
December 19, 2007

For years, LAX air traffic controllers and the federal agency that manages them have argued about how many controllers are necessary to safely choreograph the 2,000 flights that ply the world's fifth-busiest airfield each day.

The Los Angeles City Council's Trade, Commerce & Tourism Committee will enter the debate today, when controllers testify that they believe that a staffing shortage in the LAX tower has contributed to a record number of close calls between planes on the ground since 2001.

The council has no jurisdiction in the matter -- controllers are hired and regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration. Even so, Councilman Bill Rosendahl requested the presentation after a federal study found overworked controllers contributed to a nationwide jump in the rate of incidents in which planes violate safety zones around runways.

"I hope to create a federal outcry in Washington," Rosendahl said. "Why do we have less personnel working longer hours as we increase the number of airplanes?"

The Dec. 5 study by the Government Accountability Office concluded that Los Angeles International Airport led the nation in close calls over the last eight years, including those that were considered most serious. It also prompted federal legislators who represent communities around LAX to demand that the FAA take action.

"The FAA must also increase the number of certified controllers in the LAX tower in order to improve individual controller readiness," wrote Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice) to Acting FAA Administrator Robert Sturgell earlier this month.

The accountability office's findings reawakened the long-standing staffing debate at LAX and prompted the city's Board of Airport Commissioners to call on officials to expedite plans to rework the two parallel runways on the north side, where several of the more serious safety incidents in the last 18 months occurred.

Airport officials and the FAA contend that they must move the northern runways farther apart. Residents of Westchester, which hugs the airport's northern boundary, fear that such a move would increase noise and pollution. They argue that other measures, such as installing lights that warn a pilot if a runway is occupied and hiring more controllers, are cheaper and easier safety fixes.

Close calls generally have occurred at LAX when planes that land on the outer runways come too close to the inner runways, used for takeoffs, as they make their way to the terminals on a series of taxiways. Officials are completing a reworking of the two runways and taxiways on the airport's south side, but have been unable to forge consensus on a solution for improving safety on the north side.

The controllers union found in a recent study of LAX that short staffing contributed to an increase in close calls on the ground. In 2000, 2001 and 2007, when fewer controllers were in the tower, the number of runway safety violations increased, on average, by nine per year, the report concluded.

"The staffing crisis is the No. 1 issue impacting safety on the airport today," said Mike Foote, a controller in the LAX tower and a spokesman for the National Air Traffic Controllers Assn.

Thirty-three controllers work in the tower today, compared to about 46 in the years when fewer close calls occurred, Foote said. Controllers must work an average of 2.3 overtime shifts a month to compensate, he said.

The FAA disagreed that the LAX tower is understaffed. The union's study "offers not a shred of evidence that any runway incursion at LAX was due to controller staffing," said Ian Gregor, an agency spokesman.

FAA statistics show the rate of close calls fell in the years there were fewer controllers, he said. In 2003, there were 2.6 such incidents per 100,000 operations with 50 controllers in the tower; in 2006, the rate dropped to 1.7 with 40 controllers, he said.

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Source: Los Angeles Times (http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-controllers19dec19,1,4987850.story?coll=la-headlines-california)

Affrojuice
Dec 19, 2007, 9:48 PM
Pat Morrison had Gina Marie Lindsey, executive director of Los Angeles World Airports, on her show today talking about the problems and future plans to modernize LAX. It seemed like all of the guest callers had tons of complaints, apparently I am not the only who feels so frustrated about LAX.

deehrler
Dec 19, 2007, 11:22 PM
clear

deehrler
Dec 19, 2007, 11:35 PM
[QUOTE=Westsidelife;3235550]Airport shelves baggage proposal
/QUOTE]

It looks like our LAWA Commissioners are well aware that tax money is running out. The State is looking for a 14 billion dollar shortfall. Our City has been gritting its teeth over money for years. Neighboring Orange County may be headed into a more embarrassing write-off on sub-primes than that lost under Bob Citron. Who knows what is in our City, County and State investment portfolios? I suspect that we will soon find out.

With property values falling, tax revenues will decline as well. LAWA did what it had to do and pass the financial responsibility to the airlines. But that decision is not free to the City either. The airlines will have to raise their airfares to and from LA, leaving us less competitive to places like San Francisco and Las Vegas. It is just a new tax passed on that you will never see, just pay for.

It is similar to the taxes paid when you rent a mandated 'low-income" apartment building. It is not on your bill, but you are paying it in additional rent to make the project viable. When artificially housing units don't draw buyers, nothing gets built until the price rises. And with nothing coming out of the ground, our costs do rise. Our rents are ridiculous.

Before the housing crash many developers were building 4 to 6 bedroom homes in places 45 miles away from the City in places that are hardly Beverly Hills. Do you think that they were doing it for 6 kid families? The answer is no. They were constructing boardinghouses, under the guise of single family homes. They will become the slums in due time. Our planners made it happen.

We don't live in a free market economy. Whoever pays the most to our politicians wins. We live unfortunately in a managed economy and it is costing us a bundle. Our managers have failed us and we are still feeding them every time we get a parking ticket. LAWA just gave a big one to the airlines and it will cost us.

TANSTAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As Free Lunch.

Wright Concept
Jan 5, 2008, 1:49 PM
LA Daily News
LAX sees 3.5% rise in flights during '07
By Art Marroquin, Staff Writer
Article Last Updated: 01/02/2008 09:46:06 PM PST


Los Angeles International Airport was the nation's fourth-busiest airport in 2007, logging 680,954 landings and takeoffs, according to preliminary statistics released Wednesday by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The figure represents a 3 percent uptick in flights at LAX compared with 2006, mostly due to new routes that were established last year by existing carriers, along with the arrival of new players in the airline industry.
"We would attribute this increase to the fact that new service was introduced by low-cost carriers, particularly with the arrival of Virgin America," said Nancy Castles, an LAX spokeswoman.

"Southwest announced 14 new flights to counter Virgin's arrival, and the two of them are now competing for passengers looking for low-cost flights," Castles said. "And we can't forget that the major airlines, such as United and American Airlines, have added more international flights."
Later this month, LAX officials plan to announce the number of passengers who passed through the airport in 2007, Castles said.

Regional economist Jack Kyser said he expects to see continuing growth in the number of flights coming in and out of LAX through 2008. Part of the increase in flights, he said, comes from airlines using smaller airplanes for domestic flights as a way to save fuel costs. LAX's position as the fourth-busiest airport in the nation was unchanged from 2006.

Atlanta's Hartfield-Jackson International Airport was the nation's busiest airport for the third consecutive year, with 994,466 flights in 2007.

Chicago O'Hare International Airport again was second, logging 935,000 takeoffs and landings last year, while Dallas-Fort Worth Airport came in third with 686,711 flights, barely edging out fourth-place LAX.
art.marroquin@dailybreeze.com

Wright Concept
Jan 19, 2008, 8:22 PM
http://www.labusinessjournal.com/print.asp?aid=19691162.2317926.1576341.8296887.57246702.705&aID2=121248 (http://www.labusinessjournal.com/print.asp?aid=19691162.2317926.1576341.8296887.57246702.705&aID2=121248)
Los Angeles Buisness Journal

Airport Plan Fails to Get Off the Ground
By RICHARD CLOUGH - 1/21/2008</SPAN>
Los Angeles Business Journal Staff


A committee assembled by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to promote flights outside of Los Angeles will meet later this month, and there could be an unpleasant item on the agenda: disbanding itself.

The Southern California Regional Airport Authority has been treading water for over a year, accomplishing little, and even some of its members believe it could be killed soon.

“We have to look at if it is even worthwhile to keep it going,” acknowledges Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe, a director on the authority’s board. “Most of the reasons people got involved in this was not to push for more airport traffic, but to prevent additional airport traffic in their backyard. If that’s what’s happening, then I see it going away, probably in the next few months.”
The impotence of the group highlights the problems for so-called regionalization, the oft-touted strategy to relieve passenger-choked Los Angeles International Airport by expanding service at the region’s smaller airports.

More than 60 million passengers used LAX in 2006 – a total that towers over the counts of nearby airports. John Wayne Airport in Orange County, Bob Hope Airport in Burbank and Long Beach Airport combined do not get one-third as many travelers as LAX.
And the passenger – and cargo – count is projected to get higher. Air traffic in the region is expected to surge in the next two decades, reaching 170 million passengers by 2030. But with residents and businesses fed up with the congestion at the airport, there’s a general desire to limit LAX’s growth.

Villaraigosa has pledged to cap LAX’s travelers at 78 million, but the airports in Orange County, Burbank and Long Beach have restrictions on flights, passengers, noise or development, making expansion in the other airports difficult, if not impossible. Bob Hope Airport, for example, has an agreement with the city that prevents any new construction until at least 2015.

“The prospects of redistribution of traffic are not good,” said Jack Keady, a transportation consultant based in Playa del Rey. “Politicians are well-intentioned but underestimate the requirements for redistribution of traffic to any significant extent.”


Waning interest

To promote regionalization, Villaraigosa in 2006 revived the Southern California Regional Airport Authority, which had dissolved in 2003 due to inactivity.
But the committee has plodded along, meeting just once in the last 10 months, leading some to wonder if it will last much longer. The authority hopes to meet Jan. 31, but the agenda has not been set.
Besides Knabe, there are only two active voting members on the authority’s board: Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, the board’s chair, and Gary Ovitt, a supervisor in San Bernardino County.
Originally billed as a joint powers agreement between Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange Counties, the authority has been rejected by the latter two entities.
Riverside County Supervisor Bob Buster is still listed as a member on the authority’s Web site, though he has stopped attending the meetings over concerns about the possibility of bringing commercial air traffic to March Air Reserve Base. He called the committee “L.A.-centric” and said he does not want Riverside County to get pushed around.
“If regionalization means they’ll spread their pain somewhere else and dominate them politically, that’s not my idea of regionalization,” said Buster, who does not even know if he is still a member of the authority.
Orange County officials, meanwhile, declined to join the committee over similar concerns about increasing air traffic at John Wayne Airport.
“I just think it’s childish,” Knabe said. “They should be sitting at the table.”
Villaraigosa could not be reached for comment.


Tipping point

Rosendahl remains optimistic about the committee’s work. Whether politicians want new flights or not, he said, something needs to be done about the overwhelming traffic around LAX and throughout the region.
“The tipping point has been reached by the people regarding the gridlock,” he said. “I don’t care if you’re in Orange County or Riverside, you’re in the same gridlock.”
Rosendahl is now focusing his efforts on bringing new service to L.A./Ontario International Airport and L.A./Palmdale Regional Airport, both operated by Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), the same city agency that operates LAX.
Airport officials have touted new service by UAL Corp.’s United Express airline between Palmdale and San Francisco as a win for the regionalization movement.
The airline operates twice-daily flights on 50-seat planes and officials boast that it has served about 12,000 passengers since starting service June 7. But on average each flight is only about one-third full.
More than 50 miles from downtown Los Angeles, the tiny airport has struggled unsuccessfully for years to maintain viable passenger service. With local and federal subsidies, the airport tried again in 2007, signing an 18-month agreement with United. But the airport, along with the city of Palmdale, had to offer United more than $2 million in annual revenue guarantees in order reach the agreement.
Though the initial response has been cool, airport officials have said they expect the flights to be at least half full by this summer. New airline service, they say, typically takes some time before it catches on.
“The service is on track for a new startup,” said Palmdale spokesman Harold Johnson. “Between June 7 and the (end of the) 18-month period we want to get the passengers up to where United would be making a profit.”


Small victories

While Palmdale struggles to find its footing, Ontario is seeing some growth, and regionalization proponents point to the Inland Empire airport as the best hope for the movement – though much of that growth is due to the huge amount of commercial development in the area over the past decade.
A big victory came last week, Rosendahl said, when executives from Annapolis, Md.-based airport developer Aeroterm LLC announced an air cargo facility they are building in Ontario will divert 6,000 flights from LAX each year, about 1 percent of its annual total. The Los Angeles City Council last month approved a 40-year lease agreement with the company for the Ontario site.
In addition to the cargo facility, the airport has added a number of daily flights in recent years, pushing annual passenger totals over 7 million. To help matters, city officials in Ontario want airport expansion, unlike in many other parts of the region.
At a recent press conference in City Hall, Villaraigosa said Ontario’s passenger totals could rise substantially as a result of regionalization: “We hope to see it grow to 30 million a year to take some of the traffic from LAX.”
Villaraigosa is expected later this year to announce plans to build several new terminals at Ontario in order to accommodate such an increase in travelers. Nevertheless, getting people to choose Ontario over LAX, when LAX often offers flights at competitive or lower prices, remains a challenge “LAWA has built a nice facility in Ontario and they have been reasonably zealous in pursuing new airlines. However, it’s a tough job to get people to use Ontario,” said Keady, the transportation consultant. “Ontario, although it is a fine airport, doesn’t have many nonstops to the East Coast, does not have widebodies, does not have international air service.”
Los Angeles Business Journal, Copyright © 2008, All Rights Reserved.

Quixote
Feb 2, 2008, 1:46 AM
Air Travel Is Up at LAX As Dollar Slips

By Art Marroquin, Staff Writer
January 30, 2008

Despite rising ticket prices and a slowing economy, Los Angeles International Airport and other regional airfields saw an increase in passenger traffic in 2007, according to figures released Tuesday.

In all, 61,896,075 passengers came through LAX in 2007, a 1.4 percent increase from the previous year, according to Los Angeles World Airports, the city agency that operates the airport.

More than 17.1 million of those were international passengers, a 1.49 percent increase from 2006.

"A lot of people would expect air travel to be soft because of fears of an economic slowdown, rising airfares and ongoing stories about rotten airline service, but people seem to still be traveling in the face of a recession," said Jack Kyser, chief economist for the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.

"International activity at LAX reflects the declining value of the dollar," Kyser said. "For most other countries, the United States is a bargain right now."

LAX processed 2,077,527 tons of air cargo, down 1.21 percent, according to airport officials.

In terms of number of flights handled, Los Angeles International was ranked the nation's fourth-busiest airport in 2007, according to preliminary statistics released earlier this month by the Federal Aviation Administration.

LAX logged 680,954 landings and takeoffs in 2007, a 2 percent increase over 2006, according to the FAA.

The trend at LAX was mirrored at other Southern California airports.

LA/Ontario International Airport saw 7,207,150 passengers last year, a 2.23 percent increase from 2006, according to LAWA.

The addition of two daily flights to San Francisco by United Airlines bolstered figures for LA/Palmdale Regional Airport, which handled 12,022 passengers in 2007, up from only 59 passengers in 2006, according to LAWA.

In Long Beach, Daugherty Field served 2,906,556 passengers last year, a 5.4 percent increase from 2006, according to city officials. The airport served an all-time high of 3,034,032 passengers in 2005.

John Wayne Airport in Orange County handled 9,979,699 passengers in 2007, a 3.8 percent increase from the previous year, according to airport officials. Under the terms of a settlement, the airport has a cap of 10.3 million passengers.

Bob Hope Airport in Burbank served 5,921,226 passengers last year, a 4.08 percent increase from 2006, according to airport officials

"I think we will continue to see growth at the region's airports in 2008, as long as international flights continue to hold up," Kyser said. "It's a mixed outlook right now but hopefully the trend will continue."

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Source: Daily Breeze (http://www.dailybreeze.com//ci_8115112?IADID=Search-www.dailybreeze.com-www.dailybreeze.com)

Quixote
Feb 12, 2008, 3:31 AM
Plan at LAX Has Backing on NTSB

By Art Marroquin, Staff Writer
February 6, 2008

A plan to move the northernmost runway at Los Angeles International Airport about 340 feet closer to the communities of Westchester and Playa del Rey was supported Tuesday by one of President Bush's appointees to the National Transportation Safety Board.

A wider separation between the airport's northern runways and the addition of a centerline taxiway would significantly heighten safety at LAX, according to NTSB board member Steven Chealander.

"I see that as a good idea from a safety standpoint," said Chealander, who was appointed to the NTSB last year. "I see that as the answer because of that center taxiway, which you could put in there with that separation."

Chealander initially said that he could not advocate one runway design over another but changed course during the last two minutes of his hourlong speech to the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.

"This could really enhance our safety here at LAX, which quite frankly, needs to be enhanced," Chealander said. "You have 2,700 acres, big airplanes and a lot of traffic. You really have to pay attention to it."

Westchester and Playa del Rey residents have long opposed efforts to move the northernmost runway 340 feet farther north, partially because part of the community's business district would be demolished to make way for the runway. About 4,400 homes in Westchester were demolished by the airport during a major expansion in the 1960s.

"Everyone's in favor of a safe and secure LAX, but anyone who supports moving the runways north into Westchester and Playa del Rey should visit the communities to see what the impact would be on our communities," said Robert Acherman, vice president of the Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion.

"Moving the runway north is not the only solution," Acherman said. "That's a plan we will fight."

Currently, airplanes maneuvering on the ground at LAX use paths that crisscross the middle of the parallel northern runways, which heightens the risk of so-called runway incursions.

During a question-and-answer period, Chealander failed to cite any accidents that were attributed to a lack of space between runways.

"The federal government still refuses to show us real evidence why they think we have a safety problem at the north airfield," said Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, whose 11th District includes LAX. "The NTSB representative admitted that he could not think of a single instance of when insufficient runway separation was the cause of a runway incident."

Last month, the airport commission signed off on an $8.7 million study examining how the northern runways should be reconfigured. A first draft of the report is expected by August 2009, but construction of any new runways and other aspects of the airport's modernization effort might not start until 2012.

Chealander also supported other measures aimed at improving runway safety at LAX, including the installation of runway status lights, which alert pilots when it's safe to take off or cross a runway. Officials with LAX and the Federal Aviation Administration are hammering out a schedule to install the $3.5 million experimental system.

However, Chealander toed a cautious middle ground on whether more air traffic controllers should be hired at LAX, where there are 34 certified controllers, one trainee and 11 developmentals who are performing airport duties for the first time. The FAA has authorized 38 to 46 controllers for LAX.

"They are maxed out, and so fatigue is an issue," Chealander said. "The FAA has an interest in doing it right and doing it safe, and they think they are. The union, on the other hand, will tell you that there are not enough controllers. There is some substance to what they say but there are two sides to the story."

Officials with the air traffic controllers' union have said that LAX controllers work an average of two overtime shifts per month. Officials with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association have asked the FAA to hire more staff.

"Obviously our workload is maxed out, but the FAA refuses to fix the problem they created," said Michael Foote, president of NATCA's membership at LAX Tower. "We have a long way to go before this issue is ever solved."

Most of the overtime shifts are covered by controllers who volunteer for extra duty, according to Ian Gregor, an FAA spokesman. In the meantime, the FAA is quickly training new controllers at the airport, he said.

"The FAA is committed to maintaining proper staffing at all of our air traffic control facilities, including LAX," Gregor said.

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Source: Daily Breeze (http://www.dailybreeze.com//ci_8180855?IADID=Search-www.dailybreeze.com-www.dailybreeze.com)

Quixote
Feb 12, 2008, 3:32 AM
System Lets LAX Planes Glide In

By Art Marroquin Staff Writer
February 6, 2008

A new landing system that allows jetliners to glide into Los Angeles International Airport is expected to reduce noise and pollution levels by more than 30 percent, the Federal Aviation Administration announced Wednesday.

About 250 planes arriving daily at LAX are using the so-called continuous descent approach, which allows pilots to switch to minimal power about 100 miles east of the airport, said Ian Gregor, an FAA spokesman.

Although the number represents only 27percent of the flights coming into LAX, the method was put into place two months ago as a way to improve air quality in neighborhoods surrounding the airport.

"The new continuous descent approach into LAX highlights the Federal Aviation Administration's commitment to creating a greener and more efficient national airspace system," Gregor said.

The new landing system cuts nitrogen-oxide levels by 34 percent, Gregor said. Additionally, airlines using the new approach will save about 250 to 465 pounds of fuel per flight.

Similar approaches are already used at airports in Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Atlanta and Louisville, Ky., where a 30 percent reduction in airliner noise was reported.

"Continuous descent approach at LAX will mean less noise and less pollution in the skies over my constituents in Westchester and Playa del Rey," said Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, whose 11th District includes LAX.

"This is a good example of how we can make operations more efficient at our airport without further impacting the surrounding residents," he said. "I hope that this line of thinking permeates into other areas as we modernize LAX."

The continuous descent approach is a vast difference from the choppy, step-like landings that typically require aircraft to make a series of steep descents, followed by brief periods of level flight.

The traditional landing procedure burns more fuel and creates more noise because it requires pilots to regularly power-up engines and deploy air brakes.

Gregor said the new landing system is based on technology that has been available for only the past couple of years. And it takes time "to test, build and implement a new air route," he said.

"I'm pleased that they have done this because it will significantly reduce the amount of noise communities will have to endure," said Westchester resident Denny Schneider, president of the Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion.

Airplanes approaching LAX from the north, south and west cannot use the new landing system, Gregor said.

"Those flights don't turn far enough east to make use of that approach," he said. "The whole idea is to glide into LAX, not for planes having to make a downward turn into the airport."

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Source: Daily Breeze (http://www.dailybreeze.com//ci_8191835?IADID=Search-www.dailybreeze.com-www.dailybreeze.com)

JDRCRASH
Feb 12, 2008, 6:39 PM
I'm not sure if this was mentioned, but recently Dubai's Emirates Airline plans to make LAX it's biggest traveling point in the Western U.S.

Quixote
Feb 13, 2008, 4:19 PM
JetBlue Expanding LAX Service

Nonstop flights to be offered in May to NYC, Boston airports

By Art Marroquin, Staff Writer
February 12, 2008

Low-cost carrier JetBlue Airways will launch service between Los Angeles International Airport and two East Coast cities beginning in May, while also beefing up flights offered at airports in Burbank, Long Beach and San Diego, according to several sources close to the deal.

JetBlue will offer three daily nonstop flights from LAX to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, and one daily nonstop flight to Logan International Airport in Boston.

The move could ultimately lead to lower passenger fares at LAX as JetBlue attempts to siphon passengers from competing discount carriers Southwest, Virgin America and AirTran.

"This isn't necessarily good news for the competitors, but it's outstanding news for pretty much everyone else because it means more connections to more places," said Gregory Freeman, an economist with the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.

"The fact that they are expanding simultaneously in Long Beach and Burbank shows that this is positive news for the regional economy because it means more jobs and cheaper flights," Freeman said. "But no doubt, JetBlue will have their work cut out for them."

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, airport officials and JetBlue executives are scheduled to announce the new service during a news conference scheduled for today at LAX.

"The addition of JetBlue's new air service at LAX will create more local jobs and foster the opportunity for economic growth in the city of Los Angeles and throughout the region," said Darryl Ryan, a spokesman for Villaraigosa.

Officials at LAX declined to comment, while officials at Long Beach Airport and Burbank's Bob Hope Airport denied knowledge of the announcement.

"Earlier this year, we announced plans to expand operations nationwide by 5 (percent) to 8 percent by adding five new destination airports in 2008," JetBlue spokesman Bryan Baldwin said, declining to comment further.

New York-based JetBlue took to the skies in 1999, offering passengers low-cost fares on airplanes equipped with such luxuries as leather seats and free in-flight television programs. Unlike many domestic carriers, the airline still offers free snacks.

To stay competitive and profitable, JetBlue will need to offer a different set of routes at LAX, Long Beach and Burbank, according to aviation consultant Jack Keady of Playa del Rey.

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Source: Daily Breeze (http://www.dailynews.com/search/ci_8235487?IADID=Search-www.dailynews.com-www.dailynews.com)

Quixote
Feb 17, 2008, 4:31 AM
AirTran Adds Daily Flight Between Baltimore and L.A.

Los Angeles Business from bizjournals
February 14, 2008

AirTran Airways said Thursday it is expanding its flight offerings between the west coast and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.

AirTran is adding a nonstop daily flight to Los Angeles International Airport. The flight will depart at 9 a.m. and arrive at LAX at 12:03 p.m. A daily flight will also depart from Los Angeles to BWI.

AirTran will also add a daily nonstop flight from BWI to Seattle, and two daily nonstops to Dallas/Fort Worth. All new flights will be available beginning May 6.

AirTran is estimating introductory one-way fares to L.A. will cost $99, while one-way flights to Seattle and Dallas will run for $89.

Orlando, Fla.-based AirTran is a subsidiary of AirTran Holdings Inc. (NYSE: AAI).

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Source: Los Angeles Business from bizjournals (http://www.bizjournals.com/losangeles/mobile/stories/2008/02/11/daily37.html)

Quixote
Feb 23, 2008, 10:45 PM
Alitalia Circling Back to LAX

By Art Marroquin, Staff Writer
February 21, 2008

After a six-year absence from the Southern California market, Alitalia will return to Los Angeles International Airport on June 1, when it launches nonstop, round-trip flights to Rome, officials announced Thursday.

Flights between LAX and Rome will be offered five days a week, making it the only nonstop service between California and Italy, according to Thierry Aucoc, Alitalia's senior vice president for North America.

"Alitalia is very pleased to return to Los Angeles, which is an important market in terms of visitors to Italy and as a destination for Italian travelers," Aucoc said in a statement. "The reopening of the Los Angeles gateway with service to Rome reflects Alitalia's return to its traditional mission as a carrier that serves Italy."

Alitalia was the only carrier offering direct flights from LAX to Italy from 1985 to 2002, but the service stopped when airlines saw fewer passengers in the wake of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, according to airport officials.

LAX has not fully recovered its market share since 9-11, but Alitalia's announcement Thursday showed that the airport is attempting to make a comeback, according to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Other new international flights at LAX this year include:

Air France will offer seven round-trip flights a week to London beginning March 30.

EVA Air will offer three additional round-trip flights a week to Taipei via Osaka beginning March 30.

British Airways will offer seven additional round-trip flights a week to London beginning in April.

Air China will offer seven additional round-trip flights to Beijing beginning in summer 2009.

International overseas flights at LAX generated more than $82 billion in total economic output in Southern California in 2006, according to a recent study by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.

"The opening of the nonstop route between LAX and Rome will strengthen business, tourism and cultural ties with one of the most desirable cities in Europe, while providing improved connecting service to more southern European destinations," Villaraigosa said.

"Gaining new and increased international service at LAX is a top priority for my administration because of the substantial contribution these flights make to the economy of Southern California."

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Source: Daily Breeze (http://www.dailybreeze.com//ci_8330594?IADID=Search-www.dailybreeze.com-www.dailybreeze.com)

Quixote
Mar 2, 2008, 8:11 AM
Green Light for LAX Runway Safety Plan

By Art Marroquin, Staff Writer
February 26, 2008

A stoplight system that alerts pilots when it's safe to cross a runway will be installed at Los Angeles International Airport next year as part of a safety plan scheduled to be unveiled today by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The $6 million system will be switched on during the first quarter of 2009 and will be funded entirely by Los Angeles World Airports, the city agency that operates LAX, according to Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the FAA.

"You have to be very careful anytime you design, develop and install a new safety system," Gregor said. "You have to make sure it has the desired effect, and does not create any confusion on the airfield."

Robert Sturgell, acting administrator of the FAA, is scheduled to hold a news conference at LAX this afternoon to announce the new runway status lights system.

Plans call for installing the red lights on the inner runway and four taxiway intersections on the north airfield, where airline safety has been called into question.

"We still have a geometry problem on the north airfield," Gregor said. "Runway status lights are a valuable technology, but they are not a replacement for proper airfield geometry."

Last month, the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners signed off on an $8.7 million study examining how the parallel north runways should be reconfigured. A final decision won't come for another two years, but a series of reports released last year found that the runways should be separated by 340 feet to make room for a centerline taxiway.

"I certainly think it makes sense to install those lights now because it's an interim safety measure, but it's not the ultimate solution for LAX's north side," Gregor said.

An additional set of runway status lights will be installed along three taxiways on the south airfield, which is undergoing a $333 million renovation, according to Gregor.

By the end of the year, airport officials hope to install advanced ground radar equipment that operates the high-tech light system.

The lighting system is expected to help decrease the number of close calls between aircraft maneuvering on the ground at LAX, which has reported the highest number of runway incursions among the nation's busiest airports since 2000.

"The airport, surrounding communities and I have called for runway status lights and other collision avoidance systems for several years, and it is very gratifying to see the FAA respond to our calls," said Rep. Jane Harman, D-El Segundo, whose district includes LAX.

"Runway status lights are a significant step toward preventing runway incursions," Harman said. "If tests around the country are any indication, they should substantially reduce the number of incursions at LAX."

Runway incursions have dropped 70 percent since the light system was installed on one of the seven runways at Dallas/Forth Worth International Airport in 2005, according to an FAA report released last month.

San Diego International Airport installed the system on its single oceanfront runway in December 2006 and has seen similar success, according to airport officials.

"It's about time they're coming to LAX," said Denny Schneider, president of the Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion.

"I'm thrilled that they are finally coming around and doing something that the community has been screaming about for the last several years," Schneider said. "We kept getting told that the lights were experimental, and now they will finally become a reality."

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Source: Daily Breeze (http://www.dailybreeze.com//ci_8364124?IADID=Search-www.dailybreeze.com-www.dailybreeze.com&IADID=Search-www.dailybreeze.com-www.dailybreeze.com)

Quixote
Mar 2, 2008, 8:12 AM
FAA Sets Safety Upgrades for LAX

By Art Marroquin, Staff Writer
February 27, 2008

A series of safety upgrades are coming to Los Angeles International Airport over the next year, including a $6 million runway-stoplight system and the addition of 10 air traffic controllers, the acting head of the Federal Aviation Administration announced Tuesday.

Robert A. Sturgell also said he supported the idea of separating the airport's parallel northern runways to make room for a centerline taxiway to allow aircraft more room to safely maneuver on the ground.

"These new runway lights will be one more layer of defense, but they will not be the first line of defense," Sturgell said during a news conference at LAX.

"The ultimate aim for LAX is to reconfigure the runways," he said. "They're just too close."

The runway status lights system is expected to start working by the beginning of next year on four taxiway intersections and the inner runway on the north airfield, while the southern airfield will have lights at three taxiways.

The red lights, embedded in pavement, will switch on any time it's unsafe for a pilot to cross a runway or take off from the airport, according to the FAA.

"Drivers have stoplights to guide them, so why not pilots?" Sturgell said. "Well, now they will."

The lighting system is expected to help decrease the number of close calls between aircraft maneuvering on the ground at LAX, which has reported the highest number of runway incursions among the nation's busiest airports since 2000.

The Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners will formally decide Monday whether to pay for the high-tech warning system.

"Runway status lights are fantastic and we've been waiting for them to come, but I'm concerned about what (Sturgell) said about the runways," said Airport Commissioner Valeria Velasco, who lives just north of LAX in Playa del Rey.

"I'm hoping he doesn't advocate moving the northern runways farther north," Velasco said. "If we move the runways, I want to move the inner runway toward the south and rip out terminals one through three."

The FAA approved such a plan three years ago, when it was presented as part of former Mayor James Hahn's failed $11 billion modernization effort. More recently, the airport commission ordered an $8.7 million study last month re-examining how the parallel north runways should be reconfigured.

The FAA also hopes to heighten safety at LAX by hiring 10 more air traffic controllers this year, only three of which will have worked at other airports. With up to six veteran controllers expected to retire this year from LAX Tower, the total net gain will be four new controllers at the airport.

Currently, LAX has 36 certified air traffic controllers and nine trainees. A congressional report released last year found that most air traffic controllers suffer from fatigue due to a lack of proper staffing at the nation's airports.

"We're way short on controllers right now," said Michael Foote, president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association at LAX.

"Just because you hire a new trainee doesn't mean that they can come in and start working right away," Foote said. "A net gain of four controllers is not a good number."

The Los Angeles City Council has also called on the FAA to staff LAX with 47 certified controllers, arguing that the extra staff is needed as a safety measure.

"It's a step in the right direction, but it's not enough," said Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, whose 11th District includes LAX.

"Granted, this is better than not responding to the issue at all," he said. "But 47 is what I consider to be a full staff in that control tower."

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Source: Daily Breeze (http://www.dailybreeze.com//ci_8374568?IADID=Search-www.dailybreeze.com-www.dailybreeze.com)

Quixote
Mar 5, 2008, 4:32 AM
$25 Million Contract Granted for LAX Plan

By Art Marroquin, Staff Writer
March 4, 2008

DMJM Aviation was awarded a $25 million, one-year project management contract Monday to oversee modernization efforts at Los Angeles International Airport.

The Board of Airport Commissioners agreed to work with DMJM to prioritize a series of major construction projects expected to cost up to $8 billion over the next decade.

"LAX, as you know, suffers from a combined affliction of physical decay and design antiquity," said Gina Marie Lindsey, executive director of Los Angeles World Airports, the agency that operates LAX.

"The impact of these two realities is enormous on passengers, on airlines and on the economic vitality of the region," Lindsey said. "We are in serious need of comprehensive infrastructure repair and replacement."

The airport's one-year contract with DMJM allows for extensions over the next six years, according to an airport report. The company stands to earn much more down the line because the industry standard for management services typically runs 7 percent to 10 percent of the project's total cost.

"In the first year we have to build an organization and the tools to launch a facilitywide, multibillion-dollar redevelopment program," Lindsey said. "This means one year to get ready to build."

Airport modernization projects include fixing existing infrastructure, figuring out a new baggage screening system, renovating and expanding the Tom Bradley International Terminal and building 10 to 12 gates capable of handling megasize airliners at the new Midfield Concourse, which is scheduled for completion in 2012.

Airport officials also hope to eventually build a consolidated car rental facility and an automated people mover that would stop at each terminal.

"It's probably the largest airport program in the world right now," Loren Smith, president of DMJM Aviation, told the airport commission.

"In terms of complexity, it's got more moving parts and more procuring activities than any project I've worked on," Smith said. "We've got a lot of work to do, and not a lot of time to do it."

DMJM won a similar consulting contract four years ago for former Mayor James Hahn's failed $11 billion airport modernization effort. That plan was scrapped amid widespread protest and a lawsuit filed by the county, three neighboring cities and a community group.

From 2003 to 2007, DMJM was paid $15.7 million to complete various LAWA projects, airport officials said.

In four to six weeks, the airport commission will consider two more contracts for engineering and architectural work related to the modernization project.

"It is really just a start of remaking LAX, which is a huge, huge project for all of us," said Alan Rothenberg, president of the airport commission. "Our challenges really lie ahead."

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Source: Daily Breeze (http://www.dailybreeze.com//ci_8445953?IADID=Search-www.dailybreeze.com-www.dailybreeze.com)

SantaCruzGuy
Mar 7, 2008, 5:51 AM
America's Most Miserable Airports
By Rick Newman
Posted February 11, 2008

The airlines have finally become profitable, but air travel keeps getting more stressful. In 2007, airlines turned in their second-worst on-time performance ever, with just 73.4 percent of flights arriving on time. And planes have never been more crowded, with an average "load factor" of 80.5 percent. In terms of cramped planes and late flights, these are dark days for air travelers.

To gauge where the pain is deepest, U.S. News has crunched government figures to develop an Airport Misery Index: a ranking that shows which airports have the best and worst combination of delayed flights and crowded planes. (View the methodology.) Here's how the nation's 47 largest airports fared:
Airport City/Name of airport Percentage of flights delayed Average load factor Misery index ranking (lower is better)
ORD Chicago: O'Hare 33.5 83.0 47
EWR Newark, NJ: Newark Liberty International 32.2 82.8 46
SFO San Francisco: San Francisco International 24.3 83.5 45
DFW Dallas/Ft.Worth: Dallas/Ft. Worth International 29.3 81.8 44
MIA Miami: Miami International 26.8 82.6 43
LAS Las Vegas: Mc Carran International 23.8 84.9 42
CLT Charlotte, NC: Charlotte Douglas International 28.2 81.8 41
JFK New York: Kennedy International 31.0 81.2 40
ATL Atlanta: Hartsfield-Jackson 28.1 81.8 39
SEA Seattle: Seattle-Tacoma International 23.5 82.8 38
DEN Denver: Denver International 23.7 82.4 37
PHL Philadelphia: Philadelphia International 30.4 80.0 36
BOS Boston: Logan International 24.8 80.5 35
DTW Detroit: Detroit Metro Wayne County 23.0 81.6 34
IAD Washington, DC: Dulles International 25.7 79.9 33
LAX Los Angeles: Los Angeles International 19.8 82.9 32
MSP Minneapolis-St. Paul: Minneapolis-St. Paul International 22.6 81.4 31
PHX Phoenix: Sky Harbor International 22.4 81.3 30
IAH Houston: Houston Intercontinental 20.3 82.4 29
LGA New York: LaGuardia 28.5 76.5 28
PIT Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh International 22.7 80.1 27
HNL Honolulu: Honolulu International 6.9 89.0 26
CVG Cincinnati: Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International 22.3 80.1 25
MKE Milwaukee: General Mitchell Field 23.5 77.8 24
MCO Orlando: Orlando International 20.7 80.9 23
FLL Fort Lauderdale, FL: Fort Lauderdale International 21.5 80.5 22
MDW Chicago: Chicago Midway 26.8 73.5 21
SAN San Diego: San Diego International Lindbergh Field 17.5 82.3 20
BWI Baltimore: Baltimore/Washington International 23.3 77.2 19
SLC Salt Lake City: Salt Lake International 16.1 82.4 18
HOU Houston: William P. Hobby Airport 25.8 69.0 17
CLE Cleveland: Hopkins International 20.5 80.0 16
DAL Dallas: Dallas Love Field 24.3 71.1 15
DCA Washington, DC: Washington National 22.9 76.6 14
PDX Portland, OR: Portland International 16.4 81.7 13
SMF Sacramento, CA: Sacramento Metropolitan 19.1 79.6 12
IND Indianapolis: Indianapolis International 19.6 78.7 11
RDU Durham and Raleigh, NC: Raleigh-Durham International 22.2 75.3 10
TPA Tampa: Tampa International 18.9 78.8 9
BNA Nashville: Nashville Metropolitan 22.2 74.0 8
STL St. Louis: Lambert International 22.2 74.6 7
OAK Oakland, CA: Metropolitan Oakland International 20.3 77.0 6
SNA Santa Ana, CA: John Wayne International 18.4 78.9 5
MSY New Orleans: Louis Armstrong International 18.6 78.7 4
MCI Kansas City, MO: Kansas City International 20.4 75.1 3
MEM Memphis: Memphis International 18.8 77.1 2
SJC San Jose, CA: San Jose International 16.8 77.3 1

Sources: Dept. of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, The Boyd Group


LA is not in the top 10 most miserable airports...

Quixote
Mar 15, 2008, 4:45 AM
Theme Building to Get a New Skin

By Art Marroquin, Staff Writer
March 4, 2008

More than a year after a half-ton chunk of plaster fell from the Theme Building at Los Angeles International Airport, officials on Monday put out a call for bids from developers interested in finally replacing the stucco exterior of the iconic structure.

For now, the modernistic building's metal skeleton is exposed and surrounded by scaffolding while construction crews shore up the corroding arches as part of a lengthy $11 million repair project.

The next phase of the Theme Building's reconstruction, set to begin in May, calls for replacing the white stucco skin on all four arches to restore its historic shape and texture, said Dave Shuter, deputy executive director of facilities for Los Angeles World Airports, the city agency that operates LAX.

The seven-month project put out to bid by the Board of Airport Commissioners also calls for installing a mechanical ventilation system to minimize corrosion inside the arches, rebuilding the structure's central core and installing seismic upgrades to strengthen the building in case of an earthquake.

The building's first-floor restrooms also will be upgraded to meet standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The first sign of trouble at the Theme Building was spotted Feb. 24, 2007, when a stucco slab fell from one of the upper arches and crashed into the structure's main platform, just a few feet from the roof of the space age-style Encounter Restaurant.

As airport engineers peeled back the stucco layers, they discovered rust had spread throughout the building's metal support system. The damage was likely caused by water that seeped past the plaster seams, according to airport officials.

As a precaution, the Theme Building and Encounter Restaurant were shut down March 8, 2007.

Since then, CSA Constructors Inc. has removed the stucco from the building under a $1.8 million contract. Gin Wong Associates was paid $1.5 million to oversee the emergency demolition and hazardous materials abatement of the Theme Building, and an additional $2.6 million to draw up plans to rebuild the structure's exterior coating.

Encounters Restaurant, at the top of the building, reopened in November as construction crews continued to work on the building.

The Theme Building, recognizable worldwide because of its exposure in movies and television shows, was built during the late 1950s at a cost of $2.2 million, finally opening in 1961. The Los Angeles City Council designated the structure as a cultural and historic monument in 1992, meaning it cannot be significantly altered.

The Theme Building was last renovated in 1999, when the platform's underside and the bottom of the restaurant were shored up at a cost of $3 million.

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Source: Daily Breeze (http://www.dailybreeze.com//ci_8445156?IADID=Search-www.dailybreeze.com-www.dailybreeze.com)

Quixote
Mar 26, 2008, 6:26 AM
Korean Air Links LAX, Sao Paulo

By Art Marroquin, Staff Writer
March 24, 2008

Korean Air will offer nonstop flights between Los Angeles International Airport and Sao Paulo, Brazil, beginning June 2, officials announced Monday.

With a population of more than 10 million people, Sao Paulo is the largest city in South America and widely considered to be Brazil's economic hub.

Korean Air carries more air cargo at LAX than any other passenger airline, according to company officials, who said they hope that the new connection with Sao Paulo will generate a "positive economic impact" for Asia, Brazil and Southern California.

"We're a global airline that will now provide the much-needed passenger and cargo service between Los Angeles and Sao Paulo that no other company has the scope to do," said Jong Eun Lee, Korean Air's regional vice president for the Americas.

Korean Air will fly between LAX and Sao Paulo using Boeing 777-200 aircraft, which have a capacity of 260 passengers. Flights are scheduled for Monday, Wednesday and Friday, departing LAX at 7:30 p.m., and arriving in Sao Paulo at 11 a.m. the next day. The return flight will leave Sao Paulo at 1:30 p.m. and arrive at LAX at 9:30 p.m.

Korean Air already offers 24 weekly round-trip flights from LAX to Seoul and Tokyo.

The new service stems from an agreement reached between Korean Air and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who traveled to South Korea, Japan and China during a trade mission in 2006.

"The establishment of new international service from Los Angeles is a high priority for my administration and a focus point of our promotional initiatives around the world as we work to revitalize LAX," Villaraigosa said.

"It is fitting that Los Angeles travelers have a nonstop option for service to Brazil's financial capital and it is my hope that Korean Air will increase its frequency to daily service."

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Source: Daily Breeze (http://www.dailybreeze.com//ci_8686535?IADID=Search-www.dailybreeze.com-www.dailybreeze.com&IADID=Search-www.dailybreeze.com-www.dailybreeze.com)

Quixote
Apr 20, 2008, 7:55 AM
New Gates Should Ease LAX Crunch

Easier access for bigger jets

By Art Marroquin, Staff Writer
April 20, 2008

The bad news is that the Midfield Satellite Concourse at Los Angeles International Airport will not be built by January 2012, breaking a promise made just eight months ago by airport executives.

The good news is that the airport will still be able to accommodate the Airbus A380 and other superjumbo jetliners by building more contact gates on the back side of the Tom Bradley International Terminal.

"I think the Midfield Concourse will be done in late 2012 or early 2013 now, but we'll have those new gates built at the Bradley Terminal by January 2012," said Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn, who heads the council's Trade, Commerce and Tourism Committee.

"We're going to make sure the airport sticks with this deadline," Hahn said. "The airline industry needs to see that we're serious about getting this done and meeting this deadline."

City and airport officials are painting the rosy picture as the Board of Airport Commissioners is set to consider on Monday a pair of architecture and engineering contracts totaling more than $80 million to design the Midfield Concourse.

The airport commission will decide whether to approve a $41.5 million, three-year contract with Denver-based Fentress Architects for the project's architectural designs. The panel will also consider a separate $39.4 million, three-year contract with Millburn, N.J.-based Hatch Mott MacDonald to oversee the engineering aspect of the project.

"It's not a bad thing to not have the Midfield Concourse done on time," said Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, whose 11th District includes LAX.

"It's OK that we're concentrating on expanding Bradley now," he said. "I believe these $80 million worth of contracts are a step in the right direction, just as long as we get those gates open on time."

The Los Angeles City Council agreed last August to build the $1.3 billion Midfield Concourse, which is expected to be equipped with eight to 10 new gates capable of handling super-sized airlines at LAX.

Problems arose when airport officials failed to consider the complexity of taking on such a massive construction project while meeting a relatively short deadline, according to LAX sources familiar with the project.

While airport officials grappled with the looming delays, demand grew for the new gates from international carriers expecting to use the Airbus A380 by mid-2010, said Frank Clark, head of LAXTEC Corp., the agency that represents airlines in the Bradley Terminal.

Passengers coming into LAX aboard international flights are sometimes forced to disembark at so-called "remote gates" that are far-removed from the airport's central terminal. Travelers must take a short bus ride to be processed and retrieve their luggage from the Bradley terminal.

"The way the system is set up now presents a horrible picture to international passengers visiting Los Angeles for the first time," Clark said. "The airlines have been emphatic that they will not bring the large, wide-body aircraft to LAX if the gates are not built to accommodate them."

The threat prompted airport officials to dust off an idea that was scrapped two years ago.

Building additional gates on the back of the Bradley terminal was part of the disputed airport modernization plan that was submitted by former Mayor James Hahn. It presented the only immediate resolution in meeting the airport's needs within a timely manner, according to Rosendahl.

"I'm just thrilled that they found a way to get those gates built," he said. "And yes, we will hold them to getting this project done on time."

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Source: Los Angeles Daily News (http://www.dailynews.com/search/ci_8988290?IADID=Search-www.dailynews.com-www.dailynews.com)

Quixote
Apr 22, 2008, 9:44 AM
LAX Concourse Decision Laid Over

BOARD: Officials shift their focus to expanding Tom Bradley terminal.

By Art Marroquin, Staff Writer
April 22, 2008

The Board of Airport Commissioners delayed a decision Monday on whether to approve more than $80 million worth of contracts to design LAX's new Midfield Satellite Concourse and several airline gates at the back of the Tom Bradley International Terminal.

However, the commission spent more than an hour discussing a broken promise to build the $1.3 billion concourse, which was expected to have eight to 10 new gates capable of handling super-sized jetliners by January 2012.

Airport officials on Monday publicly reneged on the deadline and shifted their focus to expanding the Bradley terminal.

"We did indicate to the City Council that we could deliver new, large aircraft at the Midfield Satellite, and the operable element of that was delivering new, large aircraft gates by January 2012 because that was when the market demand was going to increase," said Gina Marie Lindsey, executive director of Los Angeles World Airports, the city agency that operates LAX.

"It became clear that we could actually, relatively straightforwardly, build some gates on the back side of the Tom Bradley terminal," she said. "We are relatively confident that if we press forward without significant delay, then we are able to get those contact gates."

The Los Angeles City Council agreed last August to build the Midfield Concourse, but problems arose when airport officials failed to consider the complexity of taking on such a massive construction project within a relatively short deadline, Lindsey said.

Airport officials, however, may also experience delays in expanding the Bradley terminal.

A taxiway connecting a pair of runway complexes will need to be relocated to allow for new gates to be built on the backside of Bradley. Airport officials want to move the taxiway onto land currently leased by American Airlines.

"This is going to be something that's going to serve everybody for a generation and it's way more important to get it right," said Alan Rothenberg, president of the airport commission. "Obviously time is of the essence but it's so crucial that we get it right."

The commission will decide next month whether to approve a $39.4 million, three-year contract with Millburn, N.J.-based Hatch Mott MacDonald to oversee the engineering aspect of the project.

The panel will also consider a separate $41.5 million, three-year contract with Denver-based Fentress Architects for the project's architectural designs. The firm previously crafted high-tech designs for similar airport projects in Seattle, Denver, and Incheon, South Korea.

Airport Commissioner Fernando Torres-Gil asked that the panel be consulted on the project's design as architects draw up the schematics.

"I don't think I want our Midfield terminal to look like Incheon, or to look like Denver or to look like a 21st century futuristic vision," Torres-Gil said. "It should be something that is really like Los Angeles, its history and its sense of place."

In the meantime, the airport commission is expected to hold a special meeting within the next two weeks to discuss more than $5 billion worth of airport upgrades, which Lindsey has called "the largest public works project in L.A.'s history."

"Given the size and magnitude and importance of these contracts, I want to have a little more time to make sure we really know what's going on here," Rothenberg said.

In a related move, the airport commission on Monday awarded a $3 million contract to ACMP-DWA to draw up conceptual designs for a consolidated car rental facility at LAX.

The firm will oversee a series of studies related to the new facility, which will house 11 car rental agencies just east of the airport.

Officials say the facility will eliminate the need for each car rental agency to operate its own fleet of shuttle buses. That will result in less curbside traffic at the airport, along with a reduction in exhaust fumes coming from the buses.

Airport officials say they hope to eventually build a people mover connecting the car rental facility to the central terminal area, which would eliminate the need for shuttle buses.

The new facility is listed among a series of so-called green light elements allowed under a settlement reached two years ago with the county, the cities of El Segundo and Inglewood, and a community group opposed to airport expansion.

To pay for the project, a $10 surcharge was tacked on to the cost of every car rented by agencies operating at LAX. The fee went into effect in July and is expected to last for about two years.

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Source: Daily Breeze (http://www.dailybreeze.com//ci_9009313?IADID=Search-www.dailybreeze.com-www.dailybreeze.com&IADID=Search-www.dailybreeze.com-www.dailybreeze.com)

Quixote
Apr 26, 2008, 6:16 PM
LAX Contract Change Draws Skeptical Appraisal

By Art Marroquin, Staff Writer
April 26, 2008

Allegations of cronyism have surfaced over the recent selection of Los Angeles-based DMJM as project manager to oversee more than $5 billion worth of upgrades over the next decade at Los Angeles International Airport.

Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn is expected to call on airport Executive Director Gina Marie Lindsey next week to explain how the DMJM project management team was selected by a committee that initially chose to do business with Bechtel Corp., based in San Francisco.

Lindsey apparently was upset that Bechtel was initially chosen for the job and immediately ordered a second round of interviews with both firms, according to several high-level airport executives familiar with the selection process.

The DMJM project management team is headed by Loren Smith, who also oversaw $3 billion worth of improvements at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport while Lindsey was in charge there.

"I want to find out what is going on out there and whether there is a real problem," said Hahn, who chairs the council's Trade, Commerce and Tourism Committee, which oversees LAX.

"These are both reputable firms, but if there is anything suspicious going on, we need to bring it out in the open," she said. "These contracts and the modernization of LAX is too important to have any cloud over it. What we must make sure of is that we have transparency at LAX."

Lindsey did not return phone calls placed this week to her office.

DMJM and Bechtel scored fairly evenly in their written proposals for the project management job at LAX, according to scoring sheets obtained by the Daily Breeze under a California Public Records Act request.

After the points were calculated by the selection committee - composed of five airport executives - DMJM earned 199 points out of a possible 210 for its written proposal. Bechtel scored 194 points.

During a formal presentation before the committee on Jan. 8, Bechtel earned 259 points out of a possible 290, according to the scoring sheets. DMJM scored 233 points.

The scoring sheets show that four of the committee members had ranked Bechtel as their No. 1 choice. The panel was made up of airport executives Jim Ritchie, Roger Johnson, Steve Martin, Mike Douchette and Ellen Wright.

Ritchie announced Thursday that he is stepping down from his role as deputy executive director at LAX effective May 7. He did not return a phone call from a reporter asking why he is leaving LAX.

One panelist commended Bechtel for a "well-coordinated approach" and a commitment "to schedule and cost." Another panelist praised Bechtel's "strong project manager with relevant experience," referring to Mark Massman, the former executive director for project and facilities development at LAX.

DMJM received a mixed bag of comments. One praised Smith as a "very strong project manager," while another noted that the "contract administration team was not very strong."

That was when Lindsey ordered another set of interviews on Jan. 15 with DMJM and Bechtel, according to several airport executives.

This time, she sat in as an observer.

Bechtel scored 237 points out of a possible 290 points during the second interview.

DMJM earned 280 points, and was ranked as the No. 1 selection of all five committee members.

"It's rare to have a second round with scores that change so dramatically," one high-ranking airport executive said. "The panel was pressured to change the outcome because their boss was sitting right there. It shows that the system is ripe for abuse."

An e-mail letter making its way through LAX and City Hall this week accuses Lindsey of abusing her power and engaging in acts that could lead to legal trouble for the Board of Airport Commissioners. The panel unanimously approved a $25 million project management contract with DMJM last month.

"There are some concerns, but I did not see the scoring sheets," Airport Commissioner Sylvia Reyes-Patsaouras said, declining to comment further.

Other airport commissioners declined to comment or did not return phone calls.

The letter's author, along with two airport executives who asked for anonymity, said that Bechtel has not publicly complained about the selection process out of fear that it would keep the firm from working on future projects at LAX.

Francis Canavan, a Bechtel spokesman, dismissed that notion, then declined to comment further.

"They're putting a lot in our mouth," Canavan said. "But we don't discuss procurements."

Officials with DMJM did not return several phone calls placed since January.

Bechtel scored high at interview Councilman defends LAX chief

Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl defended Lindsey, saying that he had not heard about the DMJM selection process until the anonymous e-mail was circulated to him this week. He said the allegations are "a bunch of sour grapes" coming from "disgruntled employees."

"She's not necessarily using her clout to change things," said Rosendahl, whose 11th District includes LAX.

"Not one person has come to me to complain about her or her tactics," he said. "I have no sense of a backroom deal here."

Rosendahl - or any other City Council member - could have taken jurisdiction over the airport commission's approval of the DMJM contract, but that never happened. City contracts can be canceled at any time for a variety of reasons, according to city and airport officials.

"She sat in those interviews because she probably wanted to look these people in the eye," he said. "I personally had no issue with it and I didn't see anything suspicious or negative at all."

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Source: Daily Breeze (http://www.dailybreeze.com//ci_9061951?IADID=Search-www.dailybreeze.com-www.dailybreeze.com)

Quixote
Apr 26, 2008, 6:16 PM
$80 Million in LAX Contracts OK'd

By Art Marroquin, Staff Writer
April 26, 2008

More than $80 million worth of design contracts for the new Midfield Satellite Concourse at LAX and several airline gates along the back of the Tom Bradley International Terminal were approved Friday by airport officials.

After more than two hours of discussion, the Board of Airport Commissioners voted 4-0 to approve a $41.5 million, three-year architectural contract with Denver-based Fentress Architects. Airport Commissioners Sylvia Reyes-Patsaouras and Valeria Velasco abstained from the vote. Commissioner Fernando Torres-Gil was absent.

Separately, the commission voted 5-0 to approve a $39.4 million, three-year engineering contract with Millburn, N.J.-based Hatch Mott MacDonald. Velasco abstained and Torres-Gil was absent.

The new concourse and expanded gates at the Bradley terminal are designed to accommodate the next generation of super-size jetliners at Los Angeles International Airport.

After firing several questions to airport staff regarding the selection of Fentress, Reyes-Patsaouras said that she did not feel comfortable casting a vote on Friday.

"I don't doubt the expertise of the firm that was selected," Patsaouras said.

"I just wanted to make an educated decision, and I don't feel that I had that opportunity."

Reyes-Patsaouras declined to say whether she thought LAX Executive Director Gina Marie Lindsey had interfered in the selection process. Fentress designed the new central terminal at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport while Lindsey was in charge there.

During the meeting, Reyes-Patsaouras asked airport executives for copies of scoring sheets that kept a tally on how well Fentress fared compared with its competitors during interviews held two months ago.

Fentress and the design team of Santiago Calatrava/Gensler had tied with a score of 229 points in their written proposals to design the Midfield Satellite Concourse, according to scoring sheets obtained by the Daily Breeze under a California Public Records Act request.

During a formal presentation before the selection committee held on Feb. 5 and 6, the design team of Santiago Calatrava/Gensler earned 230 points out of a possible 290 points, according to the scoring sheets. Fentress received 221 points.

The scoring sheets show that four committee members had ranked Calatrava/Gensler as their No. 1 choice. The panel was made up of airport executives Jim Ritchie, Intissar Durham, Steve Martin, Michael Douchette and Ellen Wright.

Lindsey reportedly ordered another set of interviews held on Feb. 7 with Fentress and with Calatrava/Gensler. She also sat in as an observer.

Calatrava/Gensler scored 224 points out of a possible 290 points during the second interview.

Fentress earned 230 points, and was ranked as the No. 1 selection by three out of the five committee members.

"Tipping it for me, it seems Calatrava/Gensler, as a team, did not seem to have their act together," Martin said of switching his vote in favor of Fentress. "We don't have a very good timeline to experiment with their problems."

Douchette and Wright - both of whom are airport architects - stuck to their guns and still selected Calatrava/Gensler as their first choice because they were familiar with the firm's work.

"They didn't interview particularly well," Wright acknowledged. "But I know their ability to deliver."

Despite the flip in scores, most of the airport commissioners said they did not see any irregularities in the selection process.

"The numbers are not skewed, but the vote was close," Airport Commissioner Joseph Aredas said.

The design contracts were approved after a lengthy discussion in which airport executives also explained that the $1.3 billion Midfield Satellite Concourse is already one year behind schedule.

The new terminal, expected to have eight to 10 new gates, might see further delays, according to Roger Johnson, deputy executive director of Los Angeles World Airports, the city agency that operates LAX.

In the meantime, airport officials have shifted their focus on expanding the back of the Bradley terminal by building gates capable of handling the Airbus A-380 and other super-jumbo jetliners.

"We can build the Tom Bradley gates, and if that's as far as we go for a while then those gates will serve a very useful function," Johnson said.

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Source: Daily Breeze (http://www.dailybreeze.com//ci_9062030?IADID=Search-www.dailybreeze.com-www.dailybreeze.com)

Quixote
May 17, 2008, 7:21 PM
NASA Safety Study at LAX Set for Liftoff (http://www.dailybreeze.com/ci_9292107?IADID=Search-www.dailybreeze.com-www.dailybreeze.com)

By Art Marroquin, Staff Writer
May 17, 2008

After months of negotiating, NASA Ames Research Center is expected to launch a safety study of the north airfield at Los Angeles International Airport next month, under the terms of a $1.4 million contract up for consideration Monday.

The Board of Airport Commissioners is expected to sign off on a new contract with NASA, just a few months after a similar deal fell apart.

A $2 million contract with NASA approved last August never got off the ground because the agency changed its focus from aviation issues back to space projects, according to LAX officials. Although the initial study was dropped, airport officials continued to negotiate the study's parameters with NASA.

In fact, some aspects of the study are still being hammered out, according to Jonas Dino, a spokesman for NASA Ames Research Center, based just outside San Jose.

"We are still in discussions with LAX," Dino said. "If we can match their interests and capabilities, then we will move forward with the study."
NASA will spend the next year studying five different options for the north airfield at LAX, then conduct a series of simulations aimed at projecting airline traffic through 2020, according to an airport report.

However, NASA will not interpret the data, which was one of the sticking points during the last round of contract negotiations, airport officials said.

Instead, information gleaned from the report will be explained by six university professors who specialize in aviation studies.

The scholars, who come from MIT, University of California Berkeley, George Mason University, Maryland University and Virginia Tech, will be paid $75,000 each to provide "unbiased" feedback on the NASA report, according to an airport report.

"They have no biases, no axes to grind and their recommendations will help guide us when it comes time to decide what to do with the north airfield," said Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, whose 11th District includes LAX.

"We want a true, honest analysis of the plans going forward with airfield geometry and safety," he said. "It's all about modernization and improving safety at LAX with an unbiased view."

The study is expected to begin next month, with an initial report due next April. NASA's final report would be submitted in June 2009.

The NASA study was sought out after five previous reports completed by aviation consulting groups called for moving one of the northern runways at least 340 feet toward the communities of Westchester and Playa del Rey.

Such a move might wipe out the Westchester business district, which includes a beloved In-N-Out Burger restaurant, according to Denny Schneider, president of the Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion.

"I don't want my city to deliver on a promise that could ruin our livelihood," said Schneider, whose group opposes expansion at LAX.

"We prefer that the airport does nothing because we would rather see them spend their limited funds on refurbishing the terminals," Schneider said. "But if they really feel that there's a safety issue, then we want something that is convenient and something that we can be proud of."

As part of the deal with LAX, NASA agreed to study ARSAC's suggestion to simply leave the runways alone, but it's an option that won't likely happen.

The Federal Aviation Administration has long urged airport officials to reconfigure the north airfield as a way to heighten safety. Currently, airplanes maneuvering on the ground must use paths that crisscross the middle of the northern runway, which increases the risk of near misses.

LAX has logged six runway incursions since Oct. 1, all of which have been classified as minor, according to FAA spokesman Ian Gregor. Last year, the airport reported eight runway incursions, the most serious of which occurred Aug. 16, 2007, when two jetliners came within 37 feet of each other.

Near misses like that could be avoided if the runways are separated to make room for a centerline taxiway, Gregor said.

"The FAA very strongly feels that the airport should increase space between the north runways," Gregor said.

A new centerline taxiway was built on LAX's south airfield, which had long been cited as a hotbed of runway incursions. A study completed several years ago by NASA eventually led to a $333 million south runway renovation project, which is scheduled for completion next month.

"The centerline taxiway on the south airfield is doing what it is meant to do, and we're hoping for the same type of results on the north airfield," Gregor said.

As part of its study, NASA will also review a plan that calls for moving one of the runways about 340 feet south to make room for a centerline taxiway - an option that was formally supported three years ago by the FAA.

That move would lead to the demolition of Terminals 1, 2 and 3 as part of a plan first proposed by former Mayor James Hahn and subsequently approved by the Los Angeles City Council in 2005. It was shelved after a legal settlement was reached over Hahn's failed airport modernization plan.

"If the airport presents some other plans to us, we'll consider them under the same review we did on Hahn's runway plan," Gregor said.

Another option under consideration by the the airport calls for moving one of the runways 100 feet south to make room for a centerline taxiway, which would also lead to the demolition of three airport terminals.

Yet another option calls for moving the northern-most runway about 100 feet north, which would likely keep local businesses intact.

Separately, the airport commission called for an $8.7million study in January to determine which of those options would best work for the north airfield. Massachusetts-based Camp, Dresser and McKee is expected to submit its report by August 2009.

Whatever design is ultimately selected, construction might not start on the north airfield until 2012, airport officials said earlier this year.

"We're going to trust what these studies say because it's taken too long already," Schneider said. "These reports will determine where it all falls in the end."

Quixote
May 26, 2008, 6:47 AM
The April 2008 issue of LAXpectation's Capital Improvement Projects Update can be viewed here (http://www.lawa.org/lax/pdf/LAXpect%20Update%202008%2004.pdf).

sopas ej
May 27, 2008, 4:52 AM
The April 2008 issue of LAXpectation's Capital Improvement Projects Update can be viewed here (http://www.lawa.org/lax/pdf/LAXpect%20Update%202008%2004.pdf).

Hehe, Laxpectations, how aptly titled.

LAX needs a major overhaul.

I just got back from a Memorial Day weekend trip to San Francisco, a place I go to for weekend getaways often. I've flown there a few times pre-9/11, but I usually drive there. But this time, with gas prices being the way they are, I decided to fly there... and what a difference between SFO and LAX. SFO's Terminal 1 is nothing to write home about, in fact the concourses are rather narrow and seating wasn't plentiful at the gate I had to wait at on my return flight back to LA (though SFO's new international terminal looks like it kicks ass over Tom Bradley terminal), but I like that SFO now has an AirTrain and a BART station, which makes it very convenient to get into the City, and of course once you're in SF, public transportation abounds. It seems that you're never really more than 4 blocks away from any MUNI transit line, be it bus or MUNIrail, except of course if you're in the Presidio.

But today when I got back to LAX, I took the FlyAway Bus back to Union Station. I thought it was awful. When I started my trip, getting to LAX by FlyAway Bus was actually nice; I caught the Gold Line in South Pas and took it to Union Station and then took the FlyAway from there, and it was fairly quick and convenient. The return trip was another story. I arrived at LAX a little past 3:30pm, went to the concrete traffic island where you're supposed to wait for the FlyAway bus... and I waited and waited and waited. When I got there, there were already 2 buses waiting, one was for Westwood, the other for Van Nuys. I figured the one to Union Station would be coming soon. Instead, I waited for nearly 45 minutes before the one bus to Union Station arrived, and during that time, 3 Fly Away Buses arrived at different times, two of them for Van Nuys and one for Westwood. Also during that time, while waiting on that concrete island, it was very noisy with a lot of traffic, and I saw shuttle bus after shuttle bus after shuttle bus driving by, adding to the traffic, competing with private cars and super shuttles. I didn't get to Union Station until past 5pm, a full 90 minutes since I started waiting for the FlyAway bus at LAX.

LAX really needs some kind of people-mover or something, and a direct rail transit connection. Or maybe in the interim, they could at least build a people-mover so that they can get rid of those stupid terminal shuttle buses, and then maybe have a people-mover stop/station where ALL of the FlyAway buses, rental car shuttles, etc. can just park and wait rather than having them drive around, oftentimes empty, looking for people to pick up, and adding to the traffic on that ring road. I've taken cabs to LAX and back, but I find them to be a rip-off. Rail transit to LAX would be very nice.

BrighamYen
May 27, 2008, 6:52 AM
^ I don't know why FlyAway from Union Station took so long? I took FlyAway back to Union Station from LAX and it got there in about 10 minutes. I guess it just varies, but when the FlyAway does come "on time," it's a wonderful system. Very convenient and fast and a great interim "solution" in the meantime before any rail lines actually get built. Then once you're at Union Station, it's a breeze to get home. Just take the Purple Line! So convenient. Wish there were more subway lines to other places too.

Quixote
May 27, 2008, 3:34 PM
I hope they eventually build the LAX Express to provide efficient service between LAX and Union Station. That on top of the LAX people mover and Green Line Extension/Crewnshaw Corridor would be great.

StethJeff
May 28, 2008, 3:29 AM
I hope they eventually build the LAX Express to provide efficient service between LAX and Union Station. That on top of the LAX people mover and Green Line Extension/Crewnshaw Corridor would be great.

i know the people mover is a small line connecting LAX to the nearest green line station but what is the lax express? im not familiar with that one, unless it goes by some other name. :shrug:

BrighamYen
May 28, 2008, 5:21 AM
Connecting the Green Line to LAX is not as great as you may all think. Coming from a Downtown-center point of view, which is the general attitude on this board, you still have to transfer at the Green/Blue Line junction. I've done it a few times and it's not the best experience in the world given the shitty neighborhood the transfer point is in. It ALSO still takes a MINIMUM of one hour.

However, with the FlyAway, if it comes on-time, it takes like 35 minutes. As gas prices continue to soar indefinitely, perhaps the freeways will start to clear up too as "discretionary drivers" choose not to drive anymore. Then it might be even faster!

Hopefully, the FlyAway buses will start to use hybrid-CNG models (do they even exist?) to still remain viable in $200+ barrel of oil prices.

SantaCruzGuy
May 28, 2008, 5:47 AM
.

sopas ej
May 28, 2008, 11:11 PM
^ I don't know why FlyAway from Union Station took so long? I took FlyAway back to Union Station from LAX and it got there in about 10 minutes. I guess it just varies, but when the FlyAway does come "on time," it's a wonderful system. Very convenient and fast and a great interim "solution" in the meantime before any rail lines actually get built. Then once you're at Union Station, it's a breeze to get home. Just take the Purple Line! So convenient. Wish there were more subway lines to other places too.

I guess I caught the FlyAway at a bad time; the only thing I can think of is it was the driver's fault, maybe he made a personal detour or something. It couldn't have been the traffic that day because the freeways were clear on that afternoon.

My friend and I didn't want to even try taking the Green Line, we know how awful that line is. Plus it would take long anyway, like you said in your above post. To get to South Pas we would have to take the Green to the Blue to the Red to the Gold.

Quixote
Jun 7, 2008, 10:01 AM
Korean Air Begins LAX to Brazil Flights (http://www.dailybreeze.com/ci_9453482?IADID=Search-www.dailybreeze.com-www.dailybreeze.com)

Staff Writer
June 2, 2008

Korean Air will begin today offering nonstop service between Los Angeles International Airport and Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The airline will provide flights on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, leaving LAX at 7:30 p.m. and arriving in Sao Paulo at 11 a.m. the next day. Return flights will leave Brazil on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 1:30 p.m. and arrive at LAX at 9:30 p.m. the same day.

The flights will be on Boeing 777-200 aircraft with lie-flat sleeper seats in premium classes, along with on-demand movies and music throughout the plane.

"Korean Air's non-stop flight between LAX and Sao Paulo is a key route for people who want to conduct business in South America's largest city," said John Jackson, Korean Air's director of sales and marketing for the Americas.

Quixote
Jun 7, 2008, 10:02 AM
$32M OK'd for LAX Runway Safety (http://www.dailybreeze.com/ci_9460932?IADID=Search-www.dailybreeze.com-www.dailybreeze.com)

By Art Marroquin, Staff Writer
June 3, 2008

More than $32 million worth of contracts aimed at improving runway safety at Los Angeles International Airport were approved Monday by the Board of Airport Commissioners.

A runway stoplight system will be installed by San Diego-based Helix Electric Inc. as part of a $2.7 million contract awarded by the airport commission.

The runway status lights system is expected to start working by the beginning of next year on four taxiway intersections and the inner runway on the north airfield. The south airfield will have lights at three taxiways.

The red lights will be embedded in pavement and switch on any time it's unsafe for a pilot to cross a runway or take off from the airport, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The $6 million lighting system is expected to help decrease the number of close calls between aircraft maneuvering on the ground at LAX.

Airport officials had agreed to pay for all costs to install the lights as part of an effort to expedite the work. However, LAX might qualify for some sort of reimbursement from the FAA in the near future, according to Gina Marie Lindsey, executive director of LAX.

"We didn't want to wait for the FAA's schedule," Lindsey said. "We wanted to move ahead, which means we had to front the money."

In a related move, Walnut Creek-based R&L Brosamer Inc. was awarded a $29.3 million contract to widen five intersections in the north and south airfield at LAX.

Airport officials say roomier taxiways are needed to accommodate the next generation of behemoth jetliners, such as the Airbus A380.

Plans also call for relocating an electrical vault and all affected taxiway lights and signs, according to an airport report.

"We want to make sure the airplanes can safely get around on the ground," Airport Commissioner Valeria Velasco said. "We're all really worried about safety."

Quixote
Jun 25, 2008, 2:14 AM
LAX Runways Get Safer (http://www.dailybreeze.com/ci_9677788?IADID=Search-www.dailybreeze.com-www.dailybreeze.com)

AVIATION: The $83 million taxiway project is expected to eliminate incursions the FAA blames on airfield layout

By Art Marroquin, Staff Writer
June 24, 2008

The south airfield at Los Angeles International Airport will get an added measure of safety when a new $83 million centerline taxiway opens today.

The 10,000-foot-long strip will provide a buffer zone for airplanes maneuvering between the southern runways at LAX, which have long been considered a danger zone.

"This is an incredibly important project because the center taxiway greatly reduces the chance that a serious incident will occur on the south airfield," said Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration.

For years, the FAA had blamed the layout of LAX's south airfield for being a major cause of serious runway incursions.

LAX logged more runway incursions than any other airport in the country from 2000 to 2003, with most of the problems reported on the southern runways. In 2006 and 2007, 16 close calls were reported between aircraft maneuvering on the ground, nine of which were on the south airfield, according to the FAA.

However, no serious runway incursions have been reported on the south airfield since officials opened portions of the new center taxiway last August, according to Gregor.

"The new taxiway eliminated the circumstances that led to many of the runway incidents on the south airfield," Gregor said. "The high-speed taxiways were the culprit in most of the serious runway incursions on the south airfield."

Under the old system, airplanes landing on the southernmost runway at LAX had to use short, high-speed taxiways to cross the inner runway to reach the airport's terminals.

Some airplanes occasionally failed to stop and wait for clearance before crossing onto the second runway, putting them in the path of another jet taking off or landing.

The precarious situation prompted airport officials to draw up a plan to separate the parallel southern runways by 55 feet, making room for the center aisle.

The addition of a centerline taxiway will force the airplanes to slow down by taking them into a series of turns. It will also give planes a place to wait for clearance before crossing the inner runway.

"The runway incursions that typically happen on the south airfield are exactly the kind that the centerline taxiway are meant to address," said Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, whose 11th District includes LAX.

"Obviously we're really happy because the project is completed and it will significantly enhance safety on the south airfield," he said. "This new taxiway will significantly reduce runway incursions, and we're all for improving safety at LAX."

The entire southern runway improvement project marks the completion of the first element of the massive LAX Master Plan, and serves as the first hint of modernization at the airport since several terminals were built for the 1984 Summer Olympics.

The project took nearly two years to complete, but was done within a $333 million budget and delivered four days early, according to Darryl Ryan, a spokesman for Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

"LAX is the West Coast's gateway to the world," Ryan said. "With projects like the south airfield improvements LAX is reshaping Southern California's regional aviation network and maintaining a stronghold on its position as a world-class facility, technological leader and one of the world's safest airports."

A legal settlement reached in December 2005 with the county, three cities and a community group cleared all the legal challenges that had nearly thwarted the project.

The city of El Segundo had initially fought against moving the southernmost runway amid concerns over increased noise from the jets, coupled with the fact that planes would be landing closer to the city's border.

But under the settlement, El Segundo and other airport-area neighborhoods received millions of dollars to insulate homes against airport noise.

By July 2006, construction crews began the demolition of the southernmost runway and rebuilt it about 55 feet closer to El Segundo, clearing the way for the new center taxiway.

"There was more noise from the project's construction than what we expect to hear from the airplanes coming in," said El Segundo Mayor Kelly McDowell. "When everything gets back to what passes for normal around here, I think we will be very happy with the fact that we have improved safety at the airport's south airfield."

However, debate continues on how to improve safety for two runways on the north side of LAX, which have the same layout as the old south airfield.

Westchester and Playa del Rey residents are opposed to any plans that call for shifting the northernmost runway up to 340 feet toward their homes and businesses.

Three years ago, the FAA supported a plan that called for moving the inner runway about 340 feet south to make room for a centerline taxiway. Such a move would lead to the demolition of Terminals 1, 2 and 3.

For now, the north airfield's fate remains in limbo as a series of studies move ahead.

"Do we need a centerline taxiway on the north side?" Rosendahl asked. "That's what the studies will decide."

Quixote
Jul 8, 2008, 11:25 PM
New Old Look for LAX Structure (http://www.dailybreeze.com/ci_9813563?IADID=Search-www.dailybreeze.com-www.dailybreeze.com)

By Art Marroquin, Staff Writer
June 7, 2008

The iconic Theme Building at LAX is about to grow a thicker skin.

Months after the building's metal skeleton was exposed and its sides surrounded in scaffolding, the Board of Airport Commissioners has approved a $9.3 million contract to replace the plaster exterior of the 1960s-era landmark.

Los Angeles-based Tower General Contractors was selected Monday to restore the white stucco skin on all four arches, which will finally bring the Theme Building back to the historic look made famous in movies and television shows.

The entire construction and restoration project has cost the airport nearly $15 million since troubles first popped up at the Theme Building more than a year ago.

"It doesn't seem as if we're getting much benefit from spending $15 million, other than the fact that we're preserving something that only serves as a historic site," said Airport Commissioner Walter Zifkin. "I hope it doesn't go over what we're already spending because it seems like a lot of money for a building that does not have much of a function."

A stucco slab fell from one of the upper arches and crashed into the structure's main platform, just a few feet from the roof of the Space Age-style Encounter Restaurant, on Feb. 24, 2007.

Airport engineers had discovered that rust had spread throughout the building's metal support system, likely caused by water that seeped past the plaster seams.

Less than two weeks later, the Theme Building and Encounter Restaurant were closed as a precaution.

Since then, CSA Constructors Inc. removed the stucco from the building under a $1.8 million contract. Gin Wong Associates was paid $1.5 million to oversee the emergency demolition and hazardous abatement of the Theme Building, and an additional $2.6 million to draw up plans to rebuild the structure's exterior.

Encounter Restaurant, situated in the middle of the building, reopened last November.

The Theme Building was constructed during the late 1950s at a cost of $2.2 million, finally opening in 1961. The Los Angeles City Council designated the structure a cultural and historic monument in 1992, which means it cannot be significantly altered.

The Theme Building was last renovated in 1999, when the platform's underside and the bottom of the restaurant were shored up at a cost of $3 million.

"We have kind of a boring-looking airport," said Airport Commissioner Valeria Velasco. "The Theme Building gives us some character."

Quixote
Jul 8, 2008, 11:26 PM
Putting the L.A. in LAX Designs (http://www.dailybreeze.com/ci_9813560?IADID=Search-www.dailybreeze.com-www.dailybreeze.com)

By Art Marroquin, Staff Writer
June 7, 2008

Los Angeles International Airport is destined for a makeover - one that pays tribute to Southern California's laid-back attitude, sunny weather and wide pristine beaches.

The Board of Airport Commissioners agreed Monday that architectural designs for a new terminal and airline gates at LAX should reflect those qualities and more, including the region's history, culture and diversity.

"I really want when people get off the plane to know that they're in Los Angeles," said Airport Commissioner Valeria Velasco.

"We have so much to offer," she said. "We have the ocean and waves right outside our door practically."

Plans call for building six new gates on the west side of the Tom Bradley International Terminal to accommodate the next generation of large jetliners, including the Airbus A380.

The $1.56 billion project, now dubbed as "Bradley West," is expected to be completed sometime in 2010. About $950 million worth of airport bonds will go up for sale July 23 to help pay for the project.

"This is really the initial stages of trying to get your ideas and thoughts on how we should be putting together Bradley West," said Gina Marie Lindsey, executive director of LAX.

Earlier this year, Denver-based Fentress Architects was awarded a $41.5 million, three-year contract to come up with a series of designs for the extended Bradley terminal. Fentress is also expected to come up with designs for the $1.3 billion Midfield Satellite Concourse, which will be equipped with eight to 10 new airline gates.

Among his more notable projects, architect Curtis Fentress designed Denver International Airport, where the roof is adorned with white peaks made of fiberglass that evoke the Rocky Mountains. His firm also designed the new National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, Va., where a beam extending from the roof is meant to evoke the flag raisers at Iwo Jima.

"Our work is really about taking the best of what is in a place and working that into a project," Fentress said. "We'd like to take your vision and goals and weave that into all the bricks and mortar and steel and glass put together, along with all the functional things that we need to make the airport work better."

Despite the push for an impressive exterior design, airport commission President Alan Rothenberg said he was more concerned with what travelers saw while walking through the new terminals.

"While I want a dramatic exterior, I think I would focus more attention on what it looks like once you get inside and how you feel when you get off the plane," Rothenberg said.

Fentress said he hoped to gather city, business and community leaders for several more meetings before he unveils a series of final designs in October. Airport officials are expected to gather input during a community meeting set for 6 p.m. today at the LAX Flight Path Museum.

In the meantime, airport officials are still trying to figure out how to make the expanded Bradley terminal into a structure that not only gives a good impression, but also serves its purpose in an efficient manner.

For example, airport staffers are recommending that three passenger boarding bridges be built for each of the new airline gates to accommodate the trio of doors on the double-decker Airbus A380 jetliners.

Similar provisions are being made at airports in San Francisco, Paris, Sydney and New York's John F. Kennedy, according to Airbus officials.

For now, airport officials agree that two passenger loading bridges are needed at each gate. A cost analysis will be drawn up later this year to determine whether to build a third bridge at each of the new gates.

"What we have here is a 1960s airport, so whatever you're going to design shouldn't look totally out of sync with what's around it," said Airport Commissioner Walter Zifkin. "I think we have an opportunity here to do something extraordinary."

Quixote
Jul 16, 2008, 11:50 PM
A380 to Be Tested at LAX (http://www.dailybreeze.com/ci_9882640?IADID=Search-www.dailybreeze.com-www.dailybreeze.com)

By Art Marroquin, Staff Writer
July 14, 2008

Emirates Airlines will fly the massive Airbus A380 to Los Angeles International Airport on Aug. 5 to conduct a series of ground and flight tests, officials said Monday.

The so-called familiarization flight will come two days after Emirates launches commercial service aboard the Airbus A380 between Dubai and New York's John F. Kennedy Airport. A similar test flight is scheduled for Aug. 4 at San Francisco International Airport.

"The A380 familiarization flights will give guests from San Francisco and Los Angeles a chance to feel and experience the new aircraft, as well as learn more about Emirates' world-class amenities and comforts," said Nigel Page, Emirates' senior vice president of commercial operations for the Americas.

"We are very proud to be the first airline to bring the A380 to North America as a commercial service and consider this a milestone for the aviation industry," he said. "We are also delighted to be able to offer access to the aircraft on both the East and West coasts of the United States."

The super-jumbo jet will be stocked with showers, a full-service bar and two lounge areas where passengers can mingle during a demonstration flight up and down the West Coast.

Although the Airbus A380 can hold more than 800 passengers, the aircraft scheduled for testing by Emirates will be configured to seat 489 people in first, business and economy classes, according to airline officials.

Emirates will launch service between LAX and Dubai beginning Oct. 1, using the Boeing 777-200LR aircraft. Airline officials said they hope to eventually use the Airbus A380 for the 8,339-mile flight, which lasts about 17 hours.

In the meantime, Qantas Airlines is expected to be the first airline to launch regular flights aboard the Airbus A380 out of LAX beginning in October.

Airport officials are planning to build six new gates capable of accommodating the Airbus A380 on the back of the Tom Bradley International Terminal by 2010 at a cost of more than $1.5 billion.

BrighamYen
Jul 17, 2008, 10:30 PM
^ So in the meantime, are passengers supposed to disembark from the A380s by using outdoor passenger stairs?

Quixote
Jul 17, 2008, 10:58 PM
^ Gates 101 and 123 were demolished and reconstructed. Both are now ready to accommodate the new A380.

BrighamYen
Jul 18, 2008, 9:17 AM
So I guess they'll look like this right?

http://www.nancarrow-webdesk.com/warehouse/storage2/2007-w42/img.36989_t.jpg
nancarrow-webdesk.com

Quixote
Jul 30, 2008, 3:35 AM
The July 2008 issue of LAXpectation's Capital Improvement Projects Update can be viewed here (http://www.lawa.org/lax/pdf/LAXpect%20Update%202008%2007.pdf).

Quixote
Aug 8, 2008, 10:26 PM
Rosendahl Pushes for LAX Upgrade Despite Cuts (http://www.dailybreeze.com/ci_10134722?IADID=Search-www.dailybreeze.com-www.dailybreeze.com)

By Art Marroquin, Staff Writer
August 8, 2008

Even as domestic airlines plan to dramatically cut flights at Los Angeles International Airport this fall, City Councilman Bill Rosendahl said Thursday that he supports efforts to move ahead with a $10 billion plan to upgrade the aging airport over the next decade.

Airport officials are making administrative cuts and plan to impose new fees to pay for construction of additional gates in the back of the Tom Bradley International Terminal, a consolidated car rental office, a people mover and a new airline terminal.

"LAX really is an international gateway, but it doesn't have to look like a Third World shambles of an old airport," Rosendahl told about 50 people gathered for a luncheon hosted by the Los Angeles Current Affairs Forum.

Rosendahl stuck with his mantra that "modernization is the key to regionalism," and said the city will be able to charge higher rents and landing fees to airlines after LAX gets a face-lift. The increased charges at LAX, he believes, will prompt air carriers to shift flights to LA/Ontario International Airport.

"We know the market is there in the Inland Empire," Rosendahl said. "The market will become real in a regional setting after we modernize LAX and pass the cost on to the airlines."

Critics say air carriers would more likely cope with the fee hikes at LAX, or take their business to other large West Coast airports before settling on Ontario.

Rosendahl also said he's concerned about safety on LAX's north airfield as several studies are under way to determine whether the runways should be separated.

Two years ago, aviation consultants suggested moving the northernmost runway about 340 feet north toward the communities of Westchester and Playa del Rey - a plan publicly opposed by Rosendahl and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Although he called the proposal a "dumb idea," Rosendahl moved away from previous statements that the runway would move "over my dead body."

Before considering such a plan, Rosendahl said he wants to install a runway stoplight system by early next year and hire more air traffic controllers. "If moving north is the only option - then we'll take a deep breath and consider it in a serious manner," he said.

The Westside councilman also said he would like to see a portion of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's proposed half-cent sales tax fund the Metro Green Line extension to LAX.

"I don't want to just see the Green Line go to LAX, I want to see it down at Hermosa Beach so folks in the South Bay will use it, too," he said.

In the meantime, Rosendahl said he's working with Los Angeles Public Works Commissioner Valerie Shaw on three bond proposals aimed at fixing the city's infrastructure. The first calls for repairing city streets and could appear on the ballot next year.

"The only way we can get our streets all done in this city is through a series of bond measures," he said.

Quixote
Sep 17, 2008, 1:22 AM
The September 2008 issue of LAXTEC's TBIT Construction News can be viewed here (http://www.laxtec.com/tbit_construction_news/september2008.pdf).

Quixote
Sep 17, 2008, 1:26 AM
LAX Taxiways Get New Status Light System (http://www.dailybreeze.com/ci_10474506)

September 16, 2008

Construction crews on Monday began installing a $6 million runway stoplight system at Los Angeles International Airport.

The runway status lights system is expected to start working by the beginning of next year on four taxiway intersections and the inner runway on the north airfield. The south airfield will have lights at three taxiways.

The red lights will be embedded in pavement and switch on anytime it's unsafe for a pilot to cross a runway or take off from the airport, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The lighting system is expected to help decrease the number of close calls between aircraft maneuvering on the ground at LAX.

Airport officials warned that those living near LAX may hear noise caused by construction and by jetliners using a different flight path from midnight to 6:30 a.m.

Quixote
Sep 20, 2008, 9:19 PM
LAX Retools Bradley Terminal Plans (http://www.dailybreeze.com/ci_10514455)

By Art Marroquin, Staff Writer
September 19, 2008

It's back to the drawing board for Los Angeles International Airport.

Rather than renovate the concourse areas of the Tom Bradley International Terminal, airport officials now want to build two new concourses on either side of the structure. The old concourse area would be demolished, but the terminal's ticketing lobby would remain in place, while the two security-screening areas would be consolidated into a single checkpoint.

"Building a new concourse gives you a better product and makes it easier to complete while we're still operating," said Gina Marie Lindsey, executive director of Los Angeles World Airports, the city agency that operates LAX.

Airport officials have spent the past year trying to come up with ways to accommodate the Airbus A380 by the start of 2012, a self-imposed deadline that was promised to the airlines.

Initially, plans called for building the new Midfield Satellite Concourse next door to the Bradley terminal, but that project would have been too expensive and time-consuming.

Airport officials then shifted their attention to the quick-fix solution of simply adding larger airline gates on the back of the Bradley terminal while making major renovations to the building, which was completed in 1984.

However, seismic code upgrades to the old concourse proved to be too expensive. Concerns were also raised about overburdening existing electrical and plumbing fixtures by connecting them to new utilities needed for the new gates. Additionally, working around travelers in a construction zone had posed a challenge.

The airport stands to save $70 million to $110million in construction costs by building a pair of new concourses, rather than renovating the old space. Airport officials still hope to have two new airline gates opened on the back of the Bradley terminal by 2012, with the entire project completed by the following year.

"It was a no-brainer for me, so I support this concept," said Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, whose district includes LAX.

"As we got our hands around the project, we found that it would cost more to renovate Bradley and eventually create an operational nightmare," he said. "If we're going to do this job, then we should do it right."

The new concourses will also offer passengers more space to eat and shop. In turn, officials hope the move encourages passengers to spend more money, according to Frank Clark, executive director of LAXTEC, the agency that represents the international airlines housed in the Bradley terminal.

"You're going to end up with a new structure with new utilities and more space for traveler shopping," Clark said. "Given the history of LAX over the last decade, with lots of money already spent in planning, this change in plans shows that the airport is not locked into a single idea that might not be good. I give the airport credit for taking a step back and looking at these issues."

For now, LAX offers significantly less space for stores and restaurants than most major airports across the country. The airport offers only 5.1 square feet of concession space for every 1,000 people passing through the airport with an average spending of $7.85 per passenger.

Some concessionaires operating shops and eateries inside the Bradley terminal said they trusted airport officials to fix up the concourse areas, noting that the improvements might boost sagging sales.

"Hudson is committed to continue to provide the first modern and exciting retail shops at LAX, helping the airport to realize its potential as a world-class shopping experience," said Laura Samuels, a spokeswoman for the Hudson Group, which operates 13 stores in the Bradley terminal.

The airport is expected to modify its concession contracts later this year. Food and retail agreements will be awarded in 2011 for the Bradley terminal, just one year before the new concourses are scheduled to open. In the meantime, current tenants will have the option to extend their leases in November.

Quixote
Nov 5, 2008, 12:42 PM
In Downturn, LAX in Tough Fix on Improvements (http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-airport5-2008nov05,0,6069556.story)

Executives say tighter borrowing costs and a drop in passenger and cargo volume in the near term won't halt crucial upgrades. Mayor Villaraigosa is expected to unveil designs this month.

By Dan Weikel
November 5, 2008

Amid one of the worst economic downturns in the history of the airline industry, Los Angeles International Airport is shedding passengers faster than its peers across the country, threatening the revenue stream needed to modernize its aging facilities.

In September, international and domestic travel through LAX declined 7.3% compared with the same time last year. Cargo plummeted about 17%. This is the biggest monthly drop in traffic this year, and even more declines are expected.

If the airline prophets are correct, LAX could see between 53 and 55 million travelers next year, down from 62.4 million in 2007 and 67.3 million in 2000. One prominent aviation consultant predicts that by 2014, LAX will have 10.5% fewer passengers than today, largely because it is not a home base for any airline.

Yet airport leaders are confident they can deliver needed improvements to the Tom Bradley International Terminal by 2012 and set the stage for the overall modernization of LAX, which has been planned for 11 years under three mayoral administrations.

"We can afford to do this. The downturn is not going to slow our progress," said Gina Marie Lindsey, director of Los Angeles World Airports, which operates LAX, Ontario International Airport and Palmdale Regional Airport. "In the near term, we are doing worse than other airports, but that will not be the case long-term."

The downturn has caused airports across the country to postpone building terminals, gates and runways. Some airline executives have come out against new construction, and projects that are under way have run into financing problems. Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, for example, has been unable to sell bonds to help finance an $8-billion realignment of its runways.

"It is time for all airports and airlines to sharpen their pencils," said John Heimlich, chief economist for the Air Transport Assn., the industry's lobbying arm. "They need to revisit and rethink what projects will pay off, the ones that won't and the ones that should be deferred."

How LAX proceeds is critical. With tens of millions of business and leisure travelers a year, LAX is an economic engine for the region. If officials raise fees too much to fund a modernization effort, it could drive carriers to airports with lower costs, such as San Francisco International.

Aer Lingus and Air India have discontinued service to LAX, partly because of cost concerns, airport sources say, but have kept their San Francisco operations.

Among the highest priorities is the aging Bradley complex, which serves international travelers and has not undergone a major remodeling since it opened just before the 1984 summer Olympics.

Plans call for rebuilt concourses, a center taxiway, a million additional square feet that would double the size of the building, and new gates on the west side to handle large aircraft, such as the Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The work might cost between $3 billion and $3.5 billion, according to estimates.

Lindsey said LAWA would continue planning other parts of the modernization, but those projects would probably have to wait until the economy and the airlines recover. The projects include a midfield concourse, a consolidated rental car facility, a people mover, improvements to the north runways and a passenger processing facility.

The airlines caution, however, that the improvements must be cost-effective and enhance operations without significantly raising landing fees and rents when high fuel costs and a slowing economy have pummeled their bottom lines.

They also say they will resist the desires of city leaders to create a bold architectural statement at LAX if it adds hundreds of millions of dollars to the cost of modernization without substantially improving airport efficiency.

"The Bradley building and the airport need to be modernized, but not at any cost," said Frank Clark, who represents a trade association of international carriers at LAX. "It must be done in a way so that LAX remains competitive with other major airports. With the next generation of long-range aircraft, airlines can locate almost anywhere."

Clark cautioned that as the industry recovers from the downturn, carriers will pay close attention to airport fees and their operational needs in deciding where to restore flights. The potential for LAX to lose out to other airports, he said, "is not a hypothetical."

So far, planning the modernization has cost LAWA almost $260 million in consulting contracts for engineering and architectural designs -- work that has produced several plans dating to Mayor Richard Riordan's administration.

Lindsey, appointed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in June 2007, has advanced the effort, though the project and its cost have yet to be defined. She has vowed to provide new gates at the Bradley terminal by early 2012, an aggressive time frame by her own admission.

The latest concepts are set to be unveiled by Villaraigosa during a ceremony Nov. 17. On display will be an 8-by-12-foot model of the improvements and renderings of proposed building interiors.

"The mayor wants a world-class experience for air travelers and to make a long-term investment in the future of the airport," said Jaime de la Vega, who works on aviation issues for the mayor's office. "LAX will eventually fare well among airports globally."

Everything is hush-hush. Lindsey, who has viewed the model and architectural renderings, declined to comment except to say, "They're lovely."

Though the modernization effort is progressing, it has run up against a steep decline in the airline industry and a global economic crisis that has stifled the demand for air travel at home and abroad.

To cope, airlines are dramatically cutting flights and seats, a trend that will extend into 2009, analysts say, threatening airport revenues from landing fees, terminal rents, parking and concessions -- money that would have helped pay for improvements.

At LAX, airlines expect to reduce available seats by more than 11% during the fourth quarter, compared with the fourth quarter of 2007, according to the Air Transport Assn.

During the first quarter of 2009, the airlines plan to offer almost 10% fewer seats than in the first quarter of 2007.

Michael Boyd, an airline consultant and president of Boyd Group International in Colorado, predicts that LAX will have about 10.5% fewer passengers from 2008 to 2014, despite some recovery in the industry starting in 2010.

"I don't see anyone moving flights back into LAX right way," said Jack Keady, an aviation consultant in Playa del Rey. The downturn "is not a short-term trend in the industry. It will take a long time to recover."

Airport officials say fees from airlines, concession and parking revenue, seed money from an $853-million bond issue this summer and future bond issues worth several billion dollars could be used to pay for the proposed Bradley projects. Lindsey said LAWA might have to "get creative" with financing, but she declined to provide details.

She also disputed the dire forecasts for LAX, which she described as speculative. Lindsey says she relies more on an analysis for the $853-million bond issue, which was released by underwriters months ago. It predicts passenger volumes will increase about 2% a year until 2014.

Alan Rothenberg, chairman of the Airport Commission, said it would be several years before the airport might have to tap the credit markets. By that time, he said, financing would probably be more available than today.

Despite the economy and recent declines in passengers, Rothenberg said the airport must proceed with improvements.

"We are trying to modernize for the next generation, not for today," he said. "Three, four or five years doesn't matter. For us to stop in our tracks would be foolish."

Quixote
Nov 17, 2008, 4:59 AM
Bradley International Terminal Designs to Be Unveiled (http://www.dailybreeze.com/ci_10997199)

By Art Marroquin, Staff Writer
November 15, 2008

Southern California's beach culture will play a prominent role in proposed designs for the revamped Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX, set to be unveiled on Monday.

While the "official" concept has been kept under wraps, some people have said the undulating rooftop resembled "crashing waves."

Others have described the architectural concept as a set of "billowing sails" passing through Los Angeles International Airport.

One skeptic said the design looked like fish scales.

"We're looking at one of the most exciting new ways to make the Bradley terminal the true gateway to America," said Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, whose district includes LAX. "I think the design is futuristic and projects the kind of image that Los Angeles should project."

City and airport officials will hold a news conference Monday to unveil a series of renderings designed by Denver-based Fentress Architects, which was awarded a $41.5 million, three-year contract earlier this year.

Fentress also designed Denver International Airport, where the roof is adorned with white fiberglass peaks meant to evoke the Rocky Mountains.

"I'm hopeful that everybody likes it because, I have to admit, it is very impressive," said Gina Marie Lindsey, executive director of Los Angeles World Airports, the city agency that operates LAX.

While the striking exterior will help change the face of LAX, the terminal's interior will also undergo a major face-lift, with the entire project's costs estimated at $2 billion to $3 billion.

Designers capitalized on the region's famous sunny weather by including large windows and skylights to provide natural light for the terminal.

The old concourse areas will be demolished to make way for two entirely new concourses on either side of the terminal, adding about 1 million square feet of space. Travelers will be given more options for dining and shopping, while the airport's two security-screening areas will be consolidated into a single checkpoint.

The most important part of the project calls for building two new airline gates capable of handling superjumbo jets by the start of 2012, with four additional airline gates set to open the following year.

"This will be the largest public works project in the city of Los Angeles, and it will be happening at a time when our country is struggling through a recession," Rosendahl said. "I think it's perfect timing because it will create jobs and it will stimulate other economic engines in the area. The timing couldn't be better."

Despite Rosendahl's optimism, LAX's capital improvement project comes at a time when the recession has forced other airports nationwide to scale back, postpone or cancel similar projects.

To get the airlines to agree to foot the massive bill, LAX must keep construction costs down and mend relations that have frayed due to protracted negotiations over disputed rental rates, according to Frank Clark, executive director of LAXTEC, the agency that represents the international airlines housed in the Bradley terminal.

"We need to do this, but I don't think it should be done at any cost," Clark said. "While we have to be competitive from a city standpoint, we also have to be competitive from a cost standpoint."

The Bradley terminal and second-level roadway were the last major changes made at LAX, completed just before the 1984 Summer Olympics were held in Los Angeles. Airport officials said at the time that the renovation was meant to be an interim fix, not a long-range improvement.

LAX, designed to handle 40 million passengers, served nearly 68 million at its peak in 2000, and handled about 62 million last year. While the two previous plans for LAX were based on projections of a significant increase in travelers and flights, airport officials now say the upgrades are needed to improve a long-neglected, dilapidated facility.

"This is in no way related to expansion or additional passenger traffic," Lindsey said. "It's about getting our customer level up to where we can compete with other gateway airports and replacing facilities that need it. We want people to be glad they came to L.A."

The city of Los Angeles has spent more than $250 million over the past 15 years developing airport modernization plans backed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and two of his predecessors, according to Roger Johnson, a deputy executive director at LAX.

Efforts to modernize LAX date back to 1993, when former Mayor Richard Riordan proposed expanding the airport's capacity to 100 million annual passengers. Airport neighbors rejected Riordan's $12 billion proposal because it would have resulted in the demolition of scores of homes and businesses to make room for additional runways.

The plan was revised by former Mayor James Hahn after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to address several security concerns. Hahn's $11 billion plan called for an off-site ground transportation center in Manchester Square, where all passengers and baggage would be screened. Security experts said the plan increased the potential for terrorism because the facility concentrated airline passengers in a single location.

Then, Villaraigosa took office in 2005 after pledging to scrap most of Hahn's proposal, winning him much-needed support from those living in the LAX-area communities of Westchester and Playa del Rey.

Villaraigosa agreed to cap the airport at 78.9 million annual passengers and seek out ways to divert air traffic to other local airports, under the terms of a settlement reached with the county, three cities surrounding LAX and a community group opposed to airport expansion.

The settlement also allowed city officials to move ahead with so-called "green light elements," including ongoing improvements to the Bradley terminal and the recently completed south runway improvement project.

With all the starts and stops from the two previous mayoral administrations, airport and city officials said they are confident that their latest plan will actually go from concept to reality.

"Now is the time to do this if we're going to survive," Rosendahl said. "We have to get rid of the past and think about the airport's present and its future."

BrighamYen
Nov 17, 2008, 6:51 PM
^ It's nice to see Angelenos demand better for LA instead of always being complacent with the status quo, which is a constant deteriorating city. Wanting to be presentable not only to its residents but to visitors to LA as well is very important as LA's economy depends much on tourism.

Quixote
Nov 17, 2008, 7:59 PM
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Unveils Modernization Plan for LAX (http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-airport18-2008nov18,0,5997118.story)

The plan, which could cost $5 billion to $6 billion, focuses on rebuilding the Tom Bradley International Terminal.

By Dan Weikel
November 17, 2008

For the third time in less than a decade, a Los Angeles mayor and airport officials today unveiled a grand design for modernizing Los Angeles International Airport, which has not been substantially remodeled since 1984.

The centerpiece of the plan and its highest priority is the rebuilding of the Tom Bradley International Terminal, including new gates for large aircraft on the west side and a grand central hall offering passengers restaurants and shopping.

Other parts of the plan call for a midfield concourse with new gates west of the Bradley terminal. It will be connected to the Bradley by a sky bridge allowing travelers to view the ocean, mountains and L.A. cityscape.

In addition, the plan calls for a people mover around the airport, new taxiways and a new passenger processing center immediately east of the Bradley terminal.

According to estimates, the cost of all the work would cost $5 billion to $6 billion. A completion date has been set for 2013.

"Today marks a milestone in our effort to modernize the hub of the region's air transportation system and restore it to the premier international gateway the airlines need and the City of Angels deserves," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said in a news conference.

The design concepts for the airport were unveiled during a ceremony at the airport's Flight Path Learning Center. The event was attended by airport contractors, airport commissioners and local dignitaries.

The first master plan for the airport was unveiled during Mayor Richard Riordan's administration. Mayor James K. Hahn announced another version of the plan in 2004. But both were stalled by lawsuits and opposition by airport-area residents and elected officials.

Quixote
Nov 17, 2008, 8:09 PM
^ It's good to know that plans for a midfield satellite concourse are still in the works. I previously read that they'd been shelved. Also, it looks like they've opted to build a sky bridge instead of an underground people mover to connect it with the Tom Bradley terminal.

I'm also excited about the people mover (long overdue) and the passenger processing center, a component of the 2004 LAX Master Plan.

LosAngelesSportsFan
Nov 17, 2008, 8:53 PM
great news all around. lets get this going ASAP! any pics of this?

KarLarRec1
Nov 17, 2008, 9:03 PM
I've been looking all over the internet today for pictures of the models and renderings. I'm so anxious to see them! The design has gotten high praise from lots of folks.

Anyone got any pics?

LosAngelesSportsFan
Nov 17, 2008, 9:09 PM
ya me too. i cant find it anywhere! im dying to see what this looks like. By the way, i may have missed it in the articles, but is financing identified and ready to go? when will they start on this?

Steve2726
Nov 17, 2008, 9:34 PM
The "financing" will almost certainly be system revenue bonds and not dependent on bank lending (thankfully). Here is a link to the architects who are designing the projects-

http://www.fentressarchitects.com/

They don't show any renders yet, but you can get a feel for their style.

Quixote
Nov 18, 2008, 12:43 AM
^ While their work may not be as impressive as that of Foster + Partners, they've designed some excellent airports as well.

Quixote
Nov 18, 2008, 12:53 AM
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dragonsky
Nov 18, 2008, 6:05 AM
L.A. airport officials aim to spread growth beyond LAX
With United planning to drop its Palmdale flights, officials at Los Angeles World Airports say they plan to create an Office of Regionalism to promote passenger growth at Ontario, Burbank, elsewhere.
By Dan Weikel
November 18, 2008

Reacting to United Airlines' decision to pull out of the L.A./Palmdale Regional Airport in December, officials for Los Angeles World Airports on Monday reiterated their support for spreading some of the future growth in air travel to other airports in the region instead of busy LAX.

L.A. airport officials told the Board of Airport Commissioners that they would create an Office of Regionalism, answerable to agency director Gina Marie Lindsey, and continue marketing efforts to encourage airlines to expand flights at other airports, such as L.A/Ontario International, John Wayne in Orange County and Bob Hope in Burbank.

They also said they would support improvements to ground transportation serving those airports, including bus routes, commuter rail lines and high-speed trains, such as the longstanding proposal to build a maglev train to Ontario International.

Los Angeles World Airports owns and operates Los Angeles International Airport, Ontario International Airport, Van Nuys Airport and L.A./Palmdale Regional Airport, which has been struggling for years to retain airline service. Since 1971, eight carriers have come and gone from Palmdale.

In September, United announced that it would discontinue its four flights a day from Palmdale to San Francisco starting Dec. 7. Flights have been less than a third full since operations started in June 2007.

Ontario International, which has been a showcase of regionalism for the airport agency, is suffering some of the worst passenger declines in the nation for an airport its size due to the economic recession and a major downturn in the airline industry.

This fall, airlines are expected to cut available seats at Ontario by roughly a third, a trend that is expected to continue into next year.

The airport agency's action coincides with a recent announcement by the city of Palmdale that it would assume the leases for Palmdale airport facilities and take primary responsibility for attracting passenger service to the airport. Los Angeles World Airports has leased the land for Palmdale's terminal, parking lot and taxiways from the U.S. Air Force and has had an agreement to use the Air Force runway for commercial flights.

Airport Commissioner Walter Zifkin cautioned that the policy to regionalize air travel needs to be balanced to allow for growth at LAX as well as the regional airports.

LAX served about 62 million passengers last year, but is forecast to handle less than 55 million next year. The airport's unofficial cap is 78.5 million passengers.

"I want to make sure that LAX is supported," he said. "It's a major economic engine for the region and needs to be preserved."

Zifkin also defended the airport agency, saying that recent complaints from L.A. County Supervisor Michael Antonovich and Palmdale officials that the agency had not done enough to promote regionalism are misplaced. "We have made every effort to get air service at Palmdale, but it just hasn't happened," he said.

Weikel is a Times staff writer.

dragonsky
Nov 18, 2008, 6:18 AM
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa unveils modernization plan for LAX
The plan, which could cost $5 billion to $6 billion, focuses on rebuilding the Tom Bradley International Terminal.
By Dan Weikel
November 18, 2008

For the third time in less than a decade, a Los Angeles mayor and airport leaders on Monday unveiled a grand architectural plan for the expansion and modernization of Los Angeles International Airport, which has not been significantly remodeled since 1984.

City officials say the projects, which include a major face-lift for the Tom Bradley International Terminal, are needed to enhance the travel experience for passengers and preserve one of the region's main economic engines.

"Today marks a milestone in our effort to modernize the hub of the region's air transportation system and restore it to the premier international gateway the airlines need and the City of Angels deserves," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said.

The plan's architectural models and renderings were unveiled during a ceremony at the airport's Flight Path Learning Center attended by airline executives, elected officials and business leaders.

The conceptual plans were designed by Fentress Associates, a Denver-based architectural firm perhaps best known in this country for its work on the national museum of the U.S. Marine Corps in Quantico, Va., and Denver International Airport, which has a peaked roof that evokes the image of the Rocky Mountains.

Using the region's natural landscape as inspiration, Curt Fentress said, the concepts for LAX capture the city's sense of place. The sloping roof lines of the glass-and-steel terminals, for example, are evocative of breaking waves at the beach.

"We want to change LAX into L.A. wow," Fentress said.

Highlighted on Monday were conceptual plans for the Bradley terminal, a cross-field taxiway, a midfield concourse for domestic and international flights and a passenger processing facility immediately across from the Bradley.

According to the dramatic renderings, the Bradley and midfield concourse will be linked by a soaring sky bridge over the cross-field taxiway, giving passengers panoramic views of the ocean, mountains and city skyline.

Airport officials say they expect to finish the projects by 2013 at a cost of $5 billion to $6 billion, though that could go substantially higher.

The centerpiece of the modernization and its priority is the overhaul of the Bradley, including the reconstruction of two concourses, new gates on the west to accommodate large commercial aircraft (such as the Airbus A-380) and a central hall offering shopping, restaurants and lounges.

Gina Marie Lindsey, director of Los Angeles World Airports, estimated that the taxiway and Bradley improvements will cost roughly $2 billion, though she acknowledged they could go higher depending on the final design. Some estimates have been as high as $4 billion.

Lindsey said the gates on the north side of the Bradley terminal should be finished by January 2012, while those on the south side should be completed by September of that year.

"We are one step closer to making L.A. the home of a world-class international airport," said Los Angeles Councilwoman Janice Hahn. "We haven't done anything at this airport since 1984."

The modernization plan does face substantial hurdles, including declining passenger volumes. Airlines, which have been dramatically cutting service, are increasingly concerned about airports' raising their fees to help finance improvements. The nation's credit crisis also has made it difficult for major airports to pay for new terminals and runways.

In the most recent example, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has been unable to sell $600 million in municipal bonds for a new terminal. At LAX, the number of passengers is projected to fall below 55 million next year, down at least 13 million since 2000.

Lindsey said the airport will finance the modernization with higher landing fees, bonds, revenue from airport concessions and seed money from a portion of $850 million in bonds sold by LAWA earlier this year. She said she was confident LAWA can afford the projects.

But Frank Clark, executive director of LAXTEC, an organization that represents international airlines at LAX, said the projects need to be cost-effective and that LAWA must settle its protracted dispute with the airlines over rental rates.

"It's a good vision. You just can't have a substandard experience as a passenger," Clark said of the conceptual plans. "But we remain concerned about costs."

Assuming the Bradley improvements run $2 billion, the cost for each of the 12 new gates is about $167 million, high for gate construction today, according to consultants.

The last major remodeling of LAX occurred just before L.A. hosted the 1984 Summer Olympics. The Bradley terminal was built along with an elevated roadway to serve departing passengers. Over the years, passengers have given low ratings to the facility in consumer surveys.

The first major renovation and modernization plan was proposed during Mayor Richard Riordan's administration. Plans revealed in 2000 called for accommodating up to 100 million passengers a year.

Four years later, Mayor James K. Hahn unveiled an $11-billion plan that included a ground transportation center outside the airport boundaries and a tram system to get travelers to and from the airport. Lawsuits and opposition from elected officials and community activists stalled both plans.

Weikel is a Times staff writer.

http://www.latimes.com/media/photo/2008-11/43433350.jpg

Quixote
Nov 18, 2008, 6:45 AM
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sopas ej
Nov 19, 2008, 4:26 AM
I'm really excited about this. LAX has been such an embarrassment. I'm really creaming my pants about the people-mover! Hopefully all will go well and this really will all be built within 5 years. Too bad it can't already exist!

Quixote
Nov 19, 2008, 8:12 AM
LAX Modernization Unveiled (http://www.dailybreeze.com/ci_11010607)

The plan includes 32 new gates that could accommodate newer, super-wide jetliners.

By Art Marroquin, Staff Writer
November 17, 2008

City officials on Monday unveiled a modernization plan for Los Angeles International Airport that would cost an estimated $5 billion to $7 billion and pay homage to the Pacific Ocean.

Plans call for a dramatic remodeling of the Tom Bradley International Terminal and a new Midfield Satellite Concourse, resulting in the addition of 32 new airline gates capable of accommodating newer, wide-bodied jetliners.

"Today marks a major milestone in our effort to modernize this hub of the region's transportation system and to restore its status as an international gateway during a challenging era of aviation," Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said during a news conference at LAX.

"It's an eye-opening vision," he said. "It's truly a vision to behold, representing the best of Los Angeles."

The first phase, set for completion in mid-2013, calls for remodeling the Bradley terminal and building six new aircraft gates capable of handling super-jumbo jets, such as the Airbus A380 and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. By 2012, LAX is expected to serve more A380 flights than any other airport in North America.

Plans also call for building a new passenger processing center, several taxiways and a people mover tram that winds its way around the entire airport.

While a timeline remains unclear, construction of the proposed Midfield Satellite Concourse would begin sometime after the Bradley project, according to airport officials.

"We are finally one step closer to realizing our dream of making Los Angeles, once again, the home of a world-class international airport, an airport that not only meets the needs of the airlines, but exceeds the expectations of air travelers," said Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn, who chairs the council committee that oversees LAX.

The proposed exterior design celebrates the airport's proximity to the beach. Curved stainless steel panels give the appearance of waves lapping at the terminal's rooftop. Large windows and skylights allow natural sunlight to pour into the passenger walkways.

Tall, white parabolic arches - similar to those of the iconic Theme Building - are incorporated into a two-level bridge connecting the Bradley terminal to the new midfield terminal. Travelers can opt to ride a train on the bridge's lower level, or stroll along an automated pedestrian walkway on the upper level. Viewing lounges at each end of the bridge provide views of downtown, the Santa Monica Mountains and the Pacific Ocean.

The modernistic, beach- themed concept was based on comments gathered during a series of community meetings, according to Denver-based architect Curtis Fentress, who was awarded a $41.5 million, three-year design contract earlier this year.

"One of the things people really wanted was a modern building, they wanted an experience for the passenger that would be dramatic and exciting, something that people would go home and tell their friends about," Fentress said. "They wanted it to be emblematic of L.A."

The city of Los Angeles has spent more than $250 million over the past 15 years developing airport modernization plans backed by Villaraigosa and two of his predecessors. Construction of the Bradley terminal and the second-level roadway were the last major changes made at LAX, completed just before the 1984 Summer Olympics were held in Los Angeles.

Airport and city officials said they remain optimistic about completing the Bradley terminal renovations within a tight, self-imposed five-year deadline.

The national recession has forced other airports across the country to scale back, postpone or completely scrub similar capital improvement projects. The project also comes as fewer travelers are passing through LAX.

The airport served nearly 68 million passengers at its peak in 2000, but is projected to handle about 59 million by the end of this year - the lowest level in 12 years.

If the airport isn't quickly modernized, then international carriers might move flights to other airports, resulting in more passenger losses and a potential hit to the regional economy, said Samuel Garrison, vice president of public policy for the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.

"This is absolutely vital to ensuring Los Angeles' position as a world-class destination and a global economic leader," Garrison said. "We don't really have any options if we want to keep flights and money coming in, so making sure this is done the right way is going to be a win for the entire region."

ocman
Nov 19, 2008, 10:52 AM
I'm amazed that the people in charge weren't overreaching, which LA tends to do, and which often leads to things that are iconically ridiculous. But this project looks like something that might actually stay within budget. It seems to have a very clear focus which is to make the travel experience more pleasant. It has a simple, connected layout and large, wide, full-view interior spaces. It's a project that's actually for the people rather than for anyone's ego. Very good job.

LivingInExile
Nov 19, 2008, 10:38 PM
I love the new plan!

Used to go to school in Culver City, but not anymore, I'm never over there anymore. :(

BrighamYen
Nov 19, 2008, 10:43 PM
The new terminal is actually nicer in the models/renderings than even T5 in London. Hopefully it starts construction very soon.

dragonsky
Jan 4, 2009, 2:42 AM
Is Long Beach airport for sale?

There is something intriguing going on at Long Beach City Hall over potentially big plans for the city's airport. Faced with a deficit, the City Council on Monday will consider what City Manager Pat West would describe only as "some lease opportunities." The closed-session item on the council's itinerary mentions a "lease or acquisition" of the airport. One councilwoman says she worries that the city is trying to sell the airport to investors. More from the Press-Telegram:

West said Friday that the city had been contacted by a slew of financial companies interested in an airport deal, including notable potential investors such as Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley, according to the meeting agenda. When asked whether the airport's sale is on the table, West said only that the meeting is about "leasing opportunities," but wouldn't explicitly say that it isn't about selling the airport. City officials aren't allowed to discuss the details of closed session items. "We have an opportunity to investigate some lease opportunities at the airport," West said. "We want to gauge the City Council's interest before we spend any time looking at these opportunities."

LB Report has more on possible "privatization" of the airport -- and urges the city to hold the discussion in public.

-- Shelby Grad
5:36 PM, January 3, 2009

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/bottleneck/index.html

dragonsky
Jan 7, 2009, 5:56 AM
Long Beach council plans hearing on airport privatization
Members had intended to discuss the possibility of leasing the field to private investors in closed session but got complaints about lack of transparency.
By Dan Weikel
7:51 PM PST, January 6, 2009

The Long Beach City Council will hold a public hearing on whether or not to lease its commercial airport to private investors after critics called for greater "transparency" in the important policy discussion.

The council had planned to discuss the matter in closed session Tuesday, but the officials voted instead to hold a public workshop after three council members and four citizens protested. The hearing will occur at a later date.

"I object to the closed session," said William Pearl, editor and publisher of LBReport.com, a local news website. "This is designed to keep a major policy decision secret."

Late last year, the city received unsolicited inquiries about the sale or lease of Long Beach Airport assets from major banks and Wall Street firms, including Citigroup, J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, and Morgan Stanley.

Supporters of airport privatization say it is a good way for local governments to raise substantial amounts of money. Long Beach is facing a $15.7-million revenue shortfall this year.

At Tuesday's council meeting, citizens questioned the excuse from city officials that real estate transactions were going to be addressed, hence the discussion could be closed to the public under the Ralph M. Brown Act, the state's open meetings law.

"This is not a real estate transaction," said Melinda Cotton, a Long Beach citizen who addressed the council. "I don't like the lack of transparency. The airport is the most controversial and litigious issue to come before this city."

Much of the controversy has involved the expansion of flight operations and an airport noise ordinance, which resulted after a 12-year court battle between community groups and the city.

Quixote
Jan 23, 2009, 7:03 AM
LAX Chief Says Bring Trains to Airport (http://www.dailybreeze.com/ci_11476660)

By Art Marroquin, Staff Writer
January 16, 2009

The head of Los Angeles International Airport said she supports efforts to extend the Metro Green Line but remained frustrated that the train won't directly connect with airline terminals.

"The plans for bringing it into the airport sound better than they are because they don't actually bring the Green Line into the central terminal area," Gina Marie Lindsey, executive director of LAX, said Thursday during a luncheon hosted by the Los Angeles Current Affairs Forum.

For now, the Green Line ends about two miles from LAX, forcing commuters to take a brief bus ride to the airport.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority's plan calls for extending the Green Line to nearby Manchester Square. From there, travelers would board a people mover to gain access to the airport terminals.

"That's fine, because it certainly gets you a lot closer to the airport, and that's a good thing, but you still need to get off the Green Line and onto some other conveyance to get into the central terminal area," she said. "We're in support of it, but let's understand it's not as perfect as if we did this from scratch."

MTA spokesman Rick Jager did not return repeated phone calls seeking comment about Lindsey's statements.

The Green Line opened in 1995 at a cost of $700 million, running 20 miles from Norwalk to Redondo Beach, but bypassing LAX by about two miles.

Initial plans called for extending the Green Line to LAX as soon as 2015, but a revised report from the MTA notes that the project won't be completed until sometime from 2018 to 2022 at an estimated cost of $400 million.

LAX officials said the airport's current layout would make it difficult to extend the Green Line directly into the central terminal area. Lindsey lamented that her predecessors should have had the foresight to allow for better access to public transportation. Most large cities have rail lines that directly connect to their airports.

"As a general rule, I think mass transit as a connection to major airports is an absolute must," she said. "If you were building an airport today, you would want a rail line to make it efficient."

dragonsky
Feb 14, 2009, 5:05 AM
Edit

202_Cyclist
Mar 1, 2009, 2:24 AM
As this article notes, Continuous Descent Approaches (CDA) have been proven to reduce fuel consumption, reduce the amount of carbon and air pollution, and reduce engine noise. According to this article, continuous descent approaches in Atlanta reduce noise from arrivals by 3-6 decibels. One report (http://econ.la.psu.edu/papers/nelson_metanoise31.pdf) suggests that each decibel increase in noise reduces home values by nearly $1,200, so CDA has great potential to benefit homeowners living near airports.

-Ben


Landings at LAX are growing safer, quieter

Up to half the aircraft there are using a new approach technique that also cuts pollution and uses less fuel.

LA Times
By Dan Weikel
February 28, 2009

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-landings28-2009feb28,0,3228490.story

Up to half the aircraft that land at Los Angeles International Airport each day now use an arrival technique that saves fuel and reduces noise and air pollution in neighborhoods along the eastern approaches to the nation's fourth-largest airport, the Federal Aviation Administration has announced.

Officials said Thursday that the technique also increases the safety of landings, one of the most critical phases of a flight.

The procedure, known as continuous descent approaches, allows airplanes to glide into LAX under minimum power instead of making a string of stair-step descents that require pilots to rely on their engines to repeatedly speed up and then slow down to level off. The FAA estimates that on average, about 300 to 400 of the 800 aircraft that land daily at LAX use continuous descent.

"It's like taking your foot off the gas at the top of a hill and just gliding straight into the airport from 18,000 feet on a smooth, controlled path to touchdown," said Walter White, an FAA manager who headed a team that developed the procedure.

Although more study is required, FAA officials conservatively estimate that use of the technique at LAX alone saves airlines at least 1 million gallons of fuel annually and reduces carbon dioxide emissions, which have been linked to global warming, by about 18 million pounds a year.

In addition, there are indications that the procedure reduces noise in the communities beneath the flight paths. At Louisville International Airport in Kentucky, United Parcel Service has reported a 30% reduction in aircraft noise within 15 miles of the airport.

During flight trials in May 2008, Delta Airlines officials said that noise reductions of 3 to 6 decibels were achieved within 25 miles of Hartsfield-Jackson airport in Atlanta. Depending on the aircraft, Delta also reported that it cut carbon dioxide emissions by 200 pounds to 1,250 pounds and saved 10 to 60 gallons of fuel per arrival.

"For everyone in the L.A. Basin, this is a help, a total win-win. You've got the fuel savings, the noise reductions and the attendant reduction in contamination. That in itself is important because airplanes are a major source of pollution," said Denny Schneider, an airport activist and member of the Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion.

In addition to carbon dioxide, jet engines emit harmful nitrous oxides, a major cause of smog, and fine particles of soot, a health-threatening pollutant that is largely uncontrolled. The emissions have become a concern in airport communities worldwide, including those around LAX, where an air pollution study is underway.

After more than a decade of research, the FAA implemented continuous descents at LAX in December 2007 on one of the eastern approaches. Since then, the agency has converted the other two eastern routes to the procedure, making LAX the only airport in the nation to have such a broad application of the technique.

The routes follow the same flight paths as the conventional approaches and pass over San Bernardino, Ontario, Chino, Diamond Bar, Whittier, Bell Gardens, South Gate, Los Angeles and Inglewood, communities that have long been concerned about overflights.

Inbound planes reduce power and begin their glide about 60 to 80 miles east of LAX. FAA officials say that onboard computers calculate the best path of descent based on the aircraft's performance abilities. No special equipment is required, so virtually any aircraft can use continuous descent.

The next step is to develop the procedure for the southern and northern approaches to LAX, which has become a model for other airports around the country that are exploring the technique. Ultimately, White said, the FAA wants to use the procedure for all flights coming into Los Angeles.

In addition to fuel savings and environmental benefits, airline industry officials say continuous descents can improve safety during landings. Approaches are simpler because pilots no longer have to descend and level off repeatedly and they don't need to communicate as much with air traffic control to obtain clearances and directions.

"You've got the ability to stabilize the airplane because you don't have the stop-and-go procedures. Less radio communication is required, which eliminates chatter and the confusion that can go with it," said Basil Barimo, vice president of operations and safety at the Air Transport Assn., a national trade organization that represents carriers.

Compared with standard arrival procedures, continuous descent approaches require about half the radio communications between pilots and air traffic controllers, FAA officials say.

Eventually, Barimo said, continuous descent will be used across the country.

BrighamYen
Mar 2, 2009, 7:59 AM
^ Very good to hear. I haven't experienced - at least to my knowledge - flying into LAX with the CDA procedure. It's always been more of the "jerking" experience. And improving safety is always a major plus as well!

osirisboy
Mar 3, 2009, 2:14 PM
WOW!! the expansion looks amazing and massive. I hope everything goes smoothly and this all gets built as planned.

dragonsky
May 20, 2009, 5:14 AM
LAX operator said to be negotiating to buy parking lot
The 21-acre property known as Park One -- which is adjacent to the Southwest Airlines terminal -- is a cash cow, according to industry observers.
By Roger Vincent
From the Los Angeles Times
May 20, 2009

In what could be the largest commercial real estate transaction of the year in Los Angeles County, Los Angeles World Airports is negotiating to acquire a 21-acre parking lot on the east edge of LAX, brokers said Tuesday.

It is being offered for sale by AMB Properties Corp., a San Francisco industrial landlord that has owned the lot called Park One since 2002.

The potential sale price is confidential, but "several purchasers have indicated interest in buying the property at prices well in excess of $100 million," said broker David Hasbrouck, an executive vice president at Cushman & Wakefield who represents AMB Properties. "Our goal is to finalize the deal over the next several weeks," he said.

Los Angeles World Airports declined to comment on the potential sale, but the public agency is likely to operate the property next to Terminal 1 as a parking facility for the foreseeable future, Hasbrouck said.

With investment financing hard to come by since the national credit crunch began, large transactions have been rare in Southern California for almost a year. The largest sale in Los Angeles County in 2008 was the $275-million purchase of Citibank Center, a 48-story downtown Los Angeles skyscraper, according to Cushman & Wakefield.

But with many office, retail and industrial tenants having difficulty paying their rents in this recessionary economy, parking lots may be among the least risky investments. Park One, which is adjacent to the Southwest Airlines terminal, is a cash cow, industry observers said.

"It's one of the best private off-airport facilities in the nation because of its proximity to a large commuter airline terminal," said broker Richard Plummer, who also represents the seller.

Exact revenue figures are confidential, the brokers said, but the lot at the northwest corner of Sepulveda and Century boulevards has 2,720 parking spaces rented at rates starting at about $15 a day and is believed to generate profits of millions of dollars annually.

The lot has an assessed value of more than $83 million, according to public records.

Los Angeles World Airports spokeswoman Nancy Castles declined to confirm that the agency plans to buy Park One. Purchases over $150,000 must be approved by the agency's board of commissioners and the Los Angeles City Council.

The agency has multibillion-dollar plans to upgrade facilities at Los Angeles International Airport, she said, but the Park One site is not included in any designs for that work.

The lot was formerly home to one of the region's premier military contractors, Garrett Airesearch, which made airplane engines, turbochargers and other aerospace products.

The Times reported in 1941 that then Airesearch Manufacturing Co. had moved into its new "ultramodern structure of steel and concrete" at Sepulveda and Century. The company went on to make several products for World War II airplanes there, including cabin pressure systems for bombers.

The site was converted to a parking lot in the early 1990s.

BrighamYen
May 30, 2009, 6:14 PM
http://www.latimes.com/media/photo/2009-05/47156959.jpg
Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles International Airport made about $280 million from concessions last year, with the typical traveler spending almost $8.


TRAVEL

LAX aims to put shopping, eating on more flight plans
Officials hope to lift the airport's image of having mediocre offerings. Plans call for renovating the bars, fast-food outlets, restaurants, newsstands and retail shops inside eight terminals.
By Dan Weikel

May 28, 2009

When Clifton Moore ran the Los Angeles airport system from 1968 to 1993, there wasn't much emphasis on dining and shopping for people waiting for their planes at LAX. About all they could get were the basics: a newspaper, a cup of coffee, cafeteria fare and a preflight libation.

The mantra was "We are an airport, not a shopping mall," and people on the staff were proud that Los Angeles International Airport had the least concession space of any major airport in the United States.

Not anymore. Although the room devoted to beverage, food and retail services at the nation's third-busiest airport remains comparatively small, LAX officials say they now want to offer the traveling public more than they ever have from concessions.

Los Angeles World Airports has launched an ambitious effort -- the first since 1995 -- to renovate the bars, fast-food outlets, restaurants, newsstands and shops inside eight terminals, which handled about 50.7 million passengers last year.

This month, the Board of Airport Commissioners requested bids for services at 42 sites in Terminals 4, 5, 7 and 8 as well as a commuter airline facility. Proposals are due in September.

Another round of bidding for Terminals 1, 3 and 6 is expected by year's end. Concessions at the Tom Bradley International Terminal will be addressed later during a planned expansion and modernization.

"We want more variety, more dining and beverage opportunities, and better-quality food and service," said Gina Marie Lindsey, executive director of the airport agency. "We need more cutting-edge, more contemporary and more L.A.-centric approaches."

The airport now has well-known brands such as Wolfgang Puck, Karl Strauss and California Pizza Kitchen, but those concessions, officials say, are almost 15 years old and need updating.

Airport officials also want to reduce their reliance on a handful of master concessionaires, such as HMS Host Corp., Delaware North Cos. and Hudson Group, which have been hired on long-term contracts to manage nearly all the beverage, food, retail services and bookstores at the airport.

Their idea is to break the umbrella contracts into individual packages for beverages, fast-food, casual dining, newsstands and shopping. Although large concessionaires can compete for those packages, officials say, the change in philosophy should create opportunities for smaller local businesses to bid on contracts, which could result in better quality, more variety and lower prices for travelers.

"The plan is to get people out of their seats at the gates and into the restaurants and retail stores," said Amy Shaw, who is directing the renovation of concessions.

Food and retail services at LAX have repeatedly received average and below-average marks from passengers interviewed for audits and consumer surveys, such as those conducted by J.D. Power & Associates. The preliminary results of a current in-house survey of travelers are equally downbeat.

"It's average at best," said Michael Young, 35, of Los Angeles, who travels regularly out of LAX. "Even when they try to do nice, like at Wolfgang Puck, it is still average. Change would be good. The concessions lack freshness all the way around."

Although they like such mainstays as Starbucks and McDonald's, passengers also complain that prices are too high, there are not enough choices for food and beverages, and the concessions don't reflect Los Angeles.

"There's some good stuff in the airport. But with the ocean and Venice nearby, you'd think there would be something 'beachy,' like a skate shop or surf-related company," said Elan Crews, 38, of Oakland, who flew to Los Angeles this month to visit friends.

Airport officials say another reason concessions have not lived up to their potential is the lack of space compared with 16 other major airports in the U.S. As such, retail shops and restaurants at LAX can become crowded quickly or develop long lines at sales counters, which can deter shoppers.

The conditions led auditors for K.H. Consulting Group to conclude last year that the planned renovation would give airport officials a chance "to replace a dated and uninteresting drag on LAX's image and transform the airport into a modern, first-class facility."

LAX concessions "are not where they need to be," said Craig Banikowski, president of the Los Angeles Business Travel Assn. "You must invest capital to make improvements and address changing tastes and styles. Business travelers are not what they were 20 years ago."

If successful, the overhaul could boost revenue for LAX, which has been stung by one of the worst downturns in the history of the airline industry. Although hit hard by the economy, concessions remain big business at major airports at home and abroad, generating 40% to 50% of their revenue. Last year, LAX made about $280 million from concessions, more than half from parking and rental cars.

There is considerable room to improve, however. As of last July, eight other major U.S. airports, including those in San Francisco, Seattle-Tacoma and Miami, had higher sales per passenger. The average passenger at San Francisco International spent the most -- almost $11 -- while the typical traveler at LAX spent almost $8.

The go-local approach to concessions has been relatively successful at Denver International Airport, where businesses bid on each of more than 100 concession sites. The result provided travelers with a variety of concessions, including popular national franchises such as Starbucks and McDonald's and recognizable local brands such as Boulder Beer and the Denver ChopHouse & Brewery.

Patrick Heck, a deputy manager in charge of revenue development at the Denver airport, said concession earnings had grown faster than inflation and the increase in passengers. The airport took in about $250 million in concession revenue last year.

"It's been fairly well received. People seem satisfied with it," Heck said. "Our concession programs have done OK in terms of revenue, though we are not blowing it away."

Denver, however, received below-average ratings for food and retail services in last year's J.D. Power consumer survey, representing a slow decline over several years. Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, which also used the go-local approach, has received marks similar to those of LAX.

Heck said that many of Denver's concessions, like LAX's, are almost 15 years old and "a little dated," but he does not fault the philosophy of attracting popular local brands. "I would take this approach again," Heck said.

dan.weikel@latimes.com

Quixote
Jun 23, 2009, 7:42 AM
JetBlue Taxis in at LAX (http://www.dailybreeze.com/ci_12603794)

By Art Marroquin, Staff Writer
June 16, 2009

After a yearlong delay, JetBlue Airways will finally launch service today from Los Angeles International Airport to a pair of East Coast cities.

The low-cost carrier will offer two daily nonstop flights between LAX and New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, and two additional flights from LAX to Logan International Airport in Boston aboard Airbus A-320 jetliners.

To mark the new service, JetBlue passengers flying from LAX to New York or Boston from Sept. 8 to Nov. 11 can purchase tickets this week for $109 each way.

JetBlue executives and airport officials are scheduled to tout the new flights during a news conference scheduled for this morning at LAX.

"We greatly welcome the start of JetBlue's new cross-country service, which is sure to be welcomed by air travelers looking for more service options and great value in today's economic environment," said Gina Marie Lindsey, LAX's executive director.

Record-high fuel prices prompted JetBlue to scrub the East Coast itineraries last year, but the New York-based carrier never gave up on its plan to someday fly out of LAX.

"We would have been operating at a loss right out of the gate if we started last year," said Sebastian White, a JetBlue spokesman.

"It was a bad time to start a long-haul service like that, which requires a lot of fuel, along with the high costs of starting service at a new airport," he said. "Fuel has come down quite a bit since then, so the fares can now cover more of the expenses of flying these routes."

JetBlue took to the skies in 1999, offering passengers reduced fares on airplanes equipped with leather seats, free in-flight television programs and free snacks.

The airline entered the Southern California market a year later, when it offered flights out of LA/Ontario International Airport, which is owned by the same agency that operates LAX. The sole daily flight linking Ontario and New York was canceled last year due to rising fuel prices.

JetBlue executives have said they hope to make LAX part of the company's Southern California strategy, after launching flights out of Long Beach Airport in 2001 and Burbank's Bob Hope Airport in 2005.

JetBlue CEO Dave Barger said he was "excited to give the L.A. Basin even more options, whether you prefer Long Beach, Burbank or our newest bicoastal service from LAX."

In April, Barger said he had considered leaving Long Beach due to a lack of terminal improvements, but quickly backed off that stance when airport officials unveiled plans to improve the terminal and build part of a parking garage.

JetBlue is set to slightly reduce its schedule at Long Beach from 209 to 203 weekly flights in July, compared with a year ago, according to an airline scheduling database.

The airline also will eliminate 18 weekly flights connecting Burbank to New York and Washington, D.C., according to the database.

Jet Blue's most famous flight into LAX was on Sept. 21, 2005, when sparks flew from the crippled nose gear of Flight 292 as it made an emergency landing on the south airfield. No injuries were reported.

dragonsky
Jul 31, 2009, 6:17 AM
Pink's Hot Dogs to open at LAX