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LAEDC Urges ALUC to Support North Airfield Configuration that Best Handles Larger Aircraft

By September 6, 2013 No Comments

LOS ANGELES, CA – The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Allen released the following statement for record at the Los Angeles County Airport Land Use Commission (ALUC) hearing on September 11, 2013:

“As the ALUC fulfills its critically important mission ‘to protect public health, safety, and welfare by ensuring the orderly expansion of airports and the adoption of land use measures that minimize the public’s exposure to excessive noise and safety hazards within areas around public airports,’ the LAEDC respectfully urges the Commission to support a fully functional Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) land use plan with a North Airfield configuration that can efficiently and safely handle the forecasted increase in air cargo and passenger traffic expected in the coming years with the expanded rollout and increased prevalence of bigger and larger Group VI aircraft, which cannot be reasonably accommodated at LAX currently.

The current North Airfield configuration remains a significant impediment to our collective goal of having a safe, clean and efficient airport – one that reflects and can support the future travel, tourism and commerce needs of our world-class region in 10, 25 and 50 years. Quite literally, the North Airfield was designed to handle piston-engine aircraft of the 1960s and was certainly not planned for the Group VI – Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-8 – in use today and projected to increase markedly in the future.

While the airspace in and around LAX is being revised to accommodate all the latest navigation technologies, and while we continue to build and modernize LAX’s terminals with new contact gates to house and support Group VI aircraft, for nearly 20 years we have ignored and failed to act on the advice of aviation planning, land use and safety experts to convert these same efficiency gains to LAX’s ground infrastructure and land use compatibility planning efforts by increasing separation between the North Airfield’s runways and building a centerline taxiway to accommodate the new, quieter and cleaner aircraft that are also longer and wider than most of the planes in today’s fleet. The Federal Aviation Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board, airport planners from around the nation and the Air Line Pilots Association all agree that more must be done to minimize the public’s exposure to safety hazards and reduce the chance for runway incursions and minimize the potential for accidents in neighboring communities

Delay and inaction are wholly unacceptable at any airport where safety must be the top concern, especially at one of the world’s busiest hub airports serving more than 60 million annual passengers and a Southern California catchment area of about 20 million people. Delaying thoroughly-vetted proposed options to address the North Airfield’s inherent and potentially life-threatening hazards will demonstrably increase the near-term health and noise pollution risks experienced by residents in abutting communities due to increased engine noise and noxious emissions spewed from idling planes and reduce overall levels of safety at LAX and in neighboring communities with a higher chance of runway incursions and crashes.

Considering what’s at stake, any further postponement of sensible, balanced and orderly runway fixes cannot be an option. We urge the Commission to make the right decision.”

Download the full statement here.