here for previous news reports
NEWS BLOG - LATEST
May 13 - May 19, 2013
Mid-size airports suffer biggest cuts in airline service -
Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana,
LA/Ontario International Airport and other mid-size airports lost an
average of 26.2% of their flights from 2007 to 2012, according to a new
study by Massachusetts Institute of Technology's International Center
for Air Transportation.
The cuts are a result of airlines eliminating less-profitable routes
and focusing on more popular, high-profit routes, the report said. Many
airlines have also replaced multiple flights of small, 50-seat planes
with one or two flights using larger, 76-seat planes, the report noted.
Large airports such as Los Angeles International Airport have lost 8.8%
of their flights, while small airports such as Long Beach and Santa
Barbara municipal airports lost 18.2% in the six-year period, the study
The biggest drop has been at mid-size airports such as Bob Hope
Airport, where airline departures dropped 24.8% in the six-year period.
Website Editor: JWA statistics
show 20.9% fewer flights in the air carrier, commuter and air taxi
categories in 2012 compared to 2007.
May 6 - May 12, 2013
L.A. board seeks to halt decline at Ontario airport
- LA Times
Los Angeles airport commissioners took additional steps Tuesday to halt
a dramatic decline in passengers at LA/Ontario International Airport,
including potential cost reductions for airlines and incentives that
might encourage them to add service.
Inland Empire officials, who are trying to wrest control of Ontario
from Los Angeles, immediately criticized the measures, saying that they
were too little and too late to lure flights back to what used to be
one of the fastest-growing regional airports in the nation.
The commission unanimously approved a marketing program to reimburse
carriers for half of what they spend to advertise and promote new and
existing flights that serve Ontario.
Commissioners also passed measures designed to lower expenses for
carriers to operate at Ontario, which has some of the highest costs for
airlines in the nation for a mid-sized airport.
Passenger count changes direction at Bob Hope Airport -
But predictions for future business remain flat, officials say.
For the first time in more than three years, the number of passengers
at Bob Hope Airport increased in March — even if it was by only a
A total of 333,647 passengers passed through the airport in March, a
0.27% increase from 332,740 from the same time last year.
The bump is due to a strong performance by Southwest Airlines, which
has the lion's share of the flights at the airport.
During the first three months of 2013, the airport handled 909,364
passengers, a 6.8% decline from 975,529 passengers reported during the
same period last year.
Meanwhile, other local airports reported varying passenger tallies in
March. Los Angeles International
Airport and John Wayne Airport
saw 5.5% and 6% passenger growth, respectively. However, Ontario Airport reported a 5.4%
decline, and Long Beach Airport
saw a 12.6% slide.
What's wrong with Los Angeles
International Airport? - LA
President Obama recently groused that no U.S. airport ranked among the
world’s top 25 airports.
If you’re a regular traveler to or from Los Angeles, you may be even
more disappointed to learn that Los Angeles International Airport
didn’t even make the top 100.
Obama was referring to a ranking released in April — the Skytrax World Airport Awards
— that is based on a survey of 12.1 million travelers around the world.
Out of 395 airports worldwide, LAX ranked 109th. It came in at 24th
among 50 airports in North America.
Passengers surveyed for Skytrax gave LAX low scores for the long time
it takes to get through security and immigration and customs, said
Peter Miller, a spokesman for the aviation research group.
The airport’s check-in and screening process, baggage handling, staff
communication and terminal cleanliness were cited as lacking last year
by Travel & Leisure Magazine, which rated LAX the nation’s
Seating at the airport is limited, security staff are rude, signage is
poor, bathrooms are in poor condition and travel between terminals is
difficult and confusing, according to Donna McSherry, who operates The
Budget Travelers' Guide to Sleeping in Airports website, which rates
LAX among the world’s 10 worst.
LAX could climb the ranking by improving its signage, cleanliness,
ambience and connections to mass transit.
The Los Angeles City Council last week approved $4.76 billion in
improvements to LAX passenger facilities and a transportation center,
as well as light rail links, new parking areas and a consolidated car
April 29 - May 5, 2013
Change in tack for battling JWA noise -
Newport residents hoping technological advances will do what politics
and a ballot measure failed to accomplish.
When voters chose to turn the Marine El Toro base into parkland instead
of an airport, Newport's leadership turned away from politics and
toward technology in its quest for quieter skies.
"The airport is the No. 1 quality-of-life issue in Newport Beach," said
Mayor Keith Curry. "We'll do anything we can to reduce the impact and
noise to our residents."
The city's latest effort, the result of a $75,000 report by GE Aviation
Systems division Naverus, would have John Wayne as the site of a pilot
program for the regular use of a departure procedure now reserved
stateside for especially difficult take-offs surrounded by tough
Pilots departing from Juneau, Alaska, for example, have special
permission to use the more-precise form of GPS navigation to help
departing aircraft avoid mountains.
In Orange County, the procedure known as a Required Navigation
Performance (RNP) departure, would guide airplanes through an extra
curve to stay along the middle of the bay as it snakes toward the sea.
That way, neither the west nor the east side of Newport's Back Bay,
which is home to wildlife and lined by homes and on both sides, would
bear the brunt of direct flyovers.
Of course, officials warn, this is all subject to Federal Aviation
Town Hall Meeting Planned in Opposition of LAX Expansion -
Local residents plan to meet this weekend to express their disapproval
with plans to expand LAX.
The Los Angeles City Council voted on Tuesday in favor of a $4.8
billion plan to expand the airport and also modernize it. The project
would move the airport’s north runway 260 feet closer to Westchester
and Playa del Rey.
Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who described himself as
"very disappointed" with Tuesday's vote, said the focus should be on
“regionalism” and employing the use of the LA/Ontario International
“It’s better for everybody if we spread out where planes land,”
Rosendahl said. “It’s insane to clog up LAX and clog up Westchester and
Playa del Rey when, in fact, the jumbo jets belong in Ontario. So it’s
not over yet.”
Denny Schneider, president of the Alliance for a Regional Solution to
Airport Congestion, or ARSAC, agreed. ARSAC, who is joining forces with
the SEIU and other organizations at this weekend’s town hall meeting,
now plans to file a lawsuit, according to Schneider. He said they have
Website Editor: Prior to the Navy
selling the former Marine Corps Air Station at El Toro to private
developers, opponents of LAX expansion tried
to take over the Orange County property in order to regionalize air
traffic to "LAX South".
Los Angeles Approves $5 Billion Airport Modernization -
Wall Street Journal.
The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday approved a politically divisive
modernization and safety-enhancement plan for Los Angeles International
Airport that is expected to cost nearly $5 billion.
Following a rowdy meeting punctuated by a split among council members
and emotional opposition from some neighborhood groups that were
worried about increased noise and pollution, the vote provided the
green light to revamp and expand LAX's often cramped, 1960s-era
The plan, which is still subject to environmental studies and could
face court challenges, seeks to comply with repeated demands by the
Federal Aviation Administration to relocate the northernmost runway as
a safety enhancement. One major goal is to make room to construct a
taxiway between that runway and a parallel landing strip. Safety
advocates have long argued that having such a taxiway—running the
entire length of both runways—is essential to prevent pilots from
mistakenly blundering into the path of other aircraft while landing or
Aviation experts and regulators for many years have highlighted LAX as
a prime example of collision hazards posed by parallel runways located
too close to each other.
The council's vote capped years of debate over how to make the airport
more competitive with hubs in San Francisco and elsewhere, particularly
in attracting the largest planes serving fast-growing trans-Pacific
Knabe says LAX has not done enough for airport regionalization -
A county report released Monday added fuel to the debate over whether
the operator of Los Angeles International Airport is adequately trying
to spread the growth of commercial flights to other airports in the
Requested by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in February,
the study reviewed the efforts of Los Angeles World Airports to
regionalize air traffic, a key requirement of a 2006 court settlement
that ended a legal challenge to modernization plans at LAX.
"I'm somewhat disappointed. The report needs a more in-depth analysis
of the regionalization issue," said Supervisor Don Knabe, who requested
the review. "But in its own little way, it shows that there has not
been a good faith effort by LAWA or any visible results at this point."
Knabe cited the severe decline of LA/Ontario International Airport
while under the control of Los Angeles. On Tuesday, the supervisors are
scheduled to vote on an endorsement of the effort -- a move Knabe says
Researchers added that Los Angeles officials have considered various
management alternatives at Ontario and tried unsuccessfully to bring
service to LA/Palmdale Regional Airport,
the control of which is being transferred to the city of Palmdale.
April 22 -April 28, 2013
passenger traffic at John Wayne Airport increased in March 2013 as
compared to March 2012. In March 2013, the Airport served 771,554
passengers, an increase of 6.0% when compared to the 727,841 passenger
traffic count of March 2012.
aircraft operations increased 3.4%, while Commuter aircraft operations
increased 3.5% when compared to the levels recorded in March 2012.
Long Beach Airport reconfiguration studied -
Long Beach Airport, owned and operated by the city of Long Beach, has
five runways (each of them bidirectional), a host of flight schools and
FBOs, and more than 250,000 operations a year including general
aviation and commercial flights. All that activity on a layout that
includes six runway intersections and a complex network of taxiways has
propelled Long Beach near the top of the FAA list of airports with the
highest number of incursions and surface incidents in the
country—involving a mix of commercial, general aviation, and corporate
With a $136 million terminal overhaul (including preservation of the
historic original) now complete, attention is being focused on
improving the movement areas in a cost-effective manner, making use of
existing runways and taxiways where possible. Consultants hired by the
city have developed four design options to mitigate the current safety
issues, and the city has made a concerted and consistent effort to
include operators—including local FBOs and flight schools, airlines,
and AOPA—in the decision-making process. AOPA Vice President of Airport
Advocacy Bill Dunn was invited to attend a recent meeting organized by
the airport staff and consultants to brief the association on progress
to date, and the options under consideration.
One of the four main alternative designs—each involving the
consolidation of existing runways and taxiways or other strategies to
reduce the number and complexity of intersections—will be chosen in the
April 15 - April 21, 2013
JWA limits move forward
Efforts have moved
forward to extend limits on John Wayne Airport's
flights, passengers and passenger loading bridges
by an additional 15 years, to 2030. The curfew is to be extended until
On April 16, the Orange County Board of Supervisors approved
a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the city of Newport Beach, the
Airport Working Group (AWG) and Stop Polluting Our Newport (SPON)
regarding the limitations. The MOU outlines
several alternatives for utilizing JWA that will be studied in an
Environmental Impact Report.
The MOU embodies the results of confidential negotiations between
Orange County officials and the Newport Beach groups. Discussions were
conducted out of sight of the media, the
flying public and the business community.
secrecy of these negotiations stands in stark contrast with the open
debate over the commercial aviation reuse of the Marine Corps Air
Station at El Toro which played out under intense public
Attributes of an El Toro airport were reviewed and shaped by input from
citizens countywide, business leaders, airlines, the air pilots'
associations, interest groups at LAX, and local, state and federal
John Wayne negotiations were cloaked in confidentiality under an
exemption from a state public disclosure law that allows, but does not
require, secrecy about active litigatiion. The litigation cited
in this situation was the case of County of Orange vs. Air California
which ended with a 1985 Settlement Agreement.
John Mosier, a resident of Newport Beach, chided his city council
recently over limiting discussion of the negotiations to closed
sessions of the council from which the public and media were
excluded. "Characterization of this as active litigation," he
said, "is just a ruse to keep the public in the dark."
"It appears to be an affront to my idea of proper civics that matters
of public policy between public agencies should be debated, deliberated
and decided upon entirely out of the public eye," he said.
The MOU, previously executed by the city, AWG and SPON, defines roles
and responsibilities with respect to preparation of an environmental
impact report (EIR) pursuant to the California Environmental Quality
Act (CEQA). The passenger, flight and facility restrictions
negotiated by the parties for inclusion in the "proposed project" are
likely to become the "preferred alternative" selected in the EIR.
While the public has an opportunity to comment on EIR's, their comments
have little practical weight. So long as the EIR adequately
describes the enviromental impacts of the project being studied, there
is no requirement that the County select the alternative that makes the
best use of the airport facility or best serves the public need for air
JWA Airport Manager Alan Murphy and his Deputy Courtney Wiercioch
traveled to Washington on March 14 of last year, and again on January
30, 2013 to brief federal officials on the proposal that finally saw
public daylight on March 21. The FAA review is necessary to
insure legal compliance with the Airport Noise and Capacity Act.
Current restrictions, which expire in 2015, were the preferred
alternative in EIR 582 which
was completed and approved by the Board of Supervisors in 2002. That
EIR was subsequently amended as a result of pressure from the air
In the latest round of negotiations, it was noted that the "carriers at
JWA have been consulted on the proposal, but have not agreed to
everything in it." There again could be changes to the airport
restrictions after the formality of the EIR is completed.
Needs of Bob Hope Airport, airlines
Different equations for success mean that the facility suffers.
It's been a rough two years for Bob Hope Airport, where a precipitous
drop in the number of passengers using the regional airfield has meant
a worrying drop in revenues.
Fewer passengers mean fewer receipts at parking lots, concessions and
other revenue-generating enterprises that fund operations and pay for
badly needed infrastructure upgrades.
"If the airlines reduced their rates at Burbank and made it more
competitive, there would be more passengers and we'd be in better
shape; there's no mystery to this," said Terry Tornek, a member of the
Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority.
The problem is, it's not that simple.
In a discouraging fact of life highlighted this week by a report
commissioned by the airport authority, what's good for the airlines
isn't necessarily good for Bob Hope Airport, and in fact, what's good
for the airlines can put the two parties on two very different business
For the airport, the goal is to simply attract as many passengers as
possible — more people using paid parking garages, more occupied seat
fees to charge airlines, more concessions sales at the terminal.
For airlines, however, the most important goal is to deliver the
highest return for shareholders, said Jack Penning, director of market
analysis at Sixel Consulting Group, which compiled the report.
"They're trying to drive the highest amount of revenue per flight
versus the lowest cost per flight," Penning said. "That balance doesn't
always lie in accordance with what's best for an airport."
That means flying fewer, fuller flights in smaller planes — not good
for an airport trying to get more passengers through its terminal.
Higher fares in Burbank are driving fliers to Los Angeles International
Airport. For example, on March 31, a flight to Las Vegas was $120
out of LAX on multiple carriers. That same flight on the same carriers
out of Burbank was $230.
Another constraint is Bob Hope's voluntary curfew, which stipulates
that morning flights shouldn't leave until 7 a.m. Since carriers
generally plan their first flights for 6 a.m., Burbank passengers can't
make the first slate of connecting flights at hubs such as Seattle and
April 8 - April 14, 2013
Ontario pursues claim for return of airport to local control
Asserting it would be too devastating for Los Angeles to continue to
mismanage an airport nearly 60 miles from LAX, the City of Ontario
submitted an administrative claim to the City of Los Angeles relating
to L.A.'s control over Ontario International Airport. The claim seeks
the termination of a Joint Powers Agreement between the two cities and
the transfer of ONT to the Ontario International Airport Authority,
among other remedies.
The filing of the claim came one day after Ontario formally rejected a
counter offer by Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) to divest ONT for
A study by the consulting firm Oliver Wyman released last week by the
Ontario International Airport Authority calculated that ONT's valuation
range currently is a range from negative $78 million to negative $104
million. Ontario officials noted none of the eight U.S. airports that
shifted ownership from one government agency to another over the last
20 years involved a sale like that demanded by LAWA.
John Wayne passengers may get
new thrill in zigzag takeoff -
In addition to that famously steep takeoff from John Wayne Airport,
passengers aboard some departing jets in Orange County might be asked
to endure multiple turns as pilots take a zigzag course as they lift
off over Newport Beach.
The zigzag takeoff pattern – meant to reduce jet noise in the beach
city – would be a first in the continental U.S.
Over the decades, the city has fought and sued in an effort to tame
noise from the commercial airport, and flights in and out of John Wayne
are now some of the most strictly controlled in the country.
Now the city is asking the Federal Aviation Administration to go a step
further by requiring commercial jet pilots to make several turns during
departure in order to stay over the Upper Newport Bay rather than
“fanning out” over the neighborhoods near the bay.
The zigzag course would add another challenge for pilots and another
potential thrill element for passengers.
Departing jets currently lift off with an abrupt and steep climb and
then reduce power as the plane glides over Newport Beach toward the
ocean. Under the proposal from the city, pilots also would be required
to turn “two or more times” during takeoff in order to avoid drifting
April 1- April 7, 2013
Tough time landing airport -
Inland Empire officials seeking control of LA/Ontario International
Airport are balking at an unprecedented demand by Los Angeles that they
buy the struggling operation for hundreds of millions of dollars.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the agency that operates
Ontario have insisted that the once-thriving aviation hub be sold at a
price that helps recover the cost of improvements made over the years.
Their studies estimate Ontario's fair market value at $243 million to
Bad news continues for Bob Hope
Airport - Burbank Leader
The number of passengers traveling through Bob Hope Airport fell by
double digits for the second straight month in February, dropping 11.6%.
The airport handled 282,073 passengers in February, down from 309,259
in February 2012.
The latest decline follows a 12% nosedive in January. That drop, which
surprised airport staff, came after a year that saw a steady slide in
So far this year, the airport has seen 642,789 passengers, a 10.4% drop
from 642,789 passengers during the first two months of 2012.
The airport has been facing challenges with airline changes during the
past 14 months.
In February 2012, American Airlines halted its operations at Bob Hope,
a factor that has been cited repeatedly by staff to explain some of the
This past January, JetBlue Airways eliminated all daytime flights at
the airport. There were 6,874 JetBlue passengers in February, compared
to 21,075 in February 2012, a 67% drop.
In contrast, passenger numbers at other airports in the region didn't
show a similar drop, increasing 6.1% at John Wayne Airport and
basically holding steady with a 0.4% increase at Los Angeles
International Airport. However, Ontario Airport, which has also been
struggling with dwindling numbers of passengers, saw an 8.2% decline.
Website Editor: Passenger
traffic also was down by 8.7% at Long Beach for the month and 6.4% for
the year to date as airports compete with each other for a limited
number of passengers.
non-stop O.C.-Calgary flights -
WestJet said Monday it would not resume flying non-stop between Orange
County and Calgary in Canada this summer.
The seasonal route had "not performed to expectations," said Robert
Palmer, a WestJet spokesman at the airline's headquarters in Calgary.
The Canadian airline will continue to fly non-stop to Vancouver.
John Wayne Airport officials are disappointed by the Calgary decision,
said airport spokeswoman Jenny Wedge. WestJet’s primary focus on the
Calgary route was bringing Canadian visitors to Orange County for
visits to local theme parks and beaches. The airport worked with
Canadian tourist officials to tout the service in Calgary and also did
some public relations outreach to increase visibility of the service in
Alternatives revealed in JWA negotiations
negotiations between the City of Newport Beach, AWG, SPON, the County
and possibly other unnamed parties have produced a "proposed project"
and a minimum of
three other alternatives to be studied in an environmental impact
Alternative A, based on the FAA's demand forecast dated January 2013,
would have the airport expand service to 12.8 MAP by 2026 with 135
Class A ADD's (average daily departures).
Alternative B, based on input from JWA's commercial air service
providers, would have the airport expand service to 15.0 MAP by 2026
with 115 Class A ADD's.
Alternative C, based on assumptions about the physical capacity of the
JWA's airfield, would have the airport serve 16.9 MAP with 228 Class A
The negotiated "proposed project" calls for 12.2 or 12.5 MAP by 2026
with only 95 Class A ADD's. See report below for more details.
Eventually the air carriers and the FAA may have a final say on the
County's choice. In 2002, the
air carriers pressed the County to accept more loading bridges
than EIR 582 initially preferred.