April 21 - April 27, 2014

10 big changes coming to LAX
- OC Register

In the 1960s, Los Angeles International Airport epitomized the best in air travel with its then-futuristic Theme Building as a symbol of the modern age of flight.
But with few improvements over the last 30 years, the airport fell from travelers’ grace. In a 2010 J.D. Power and Associates study, LAX ranked second worst in customer satisfaction among the 20 largest North American airports, beating only Newark International.
Yet the crowds keep coming. The sixth busiest airport in the world, LAX, designed for travel circa 1960, topped 66.7 million passengers last year and is on a pace this year to break its record of 67.3 million, set in 2000.
LAX officials acknowledge the shortcomings. Roger Johnson, deputy executive airport director, repeats what he hears from critics: “LAX is eight unrelated buildings connected by a traffic jam.” That is beginning to change. In 2006, LAX embarked on what is now a $7 billion-plus improvement program.

Website Editor: Read the Register report.  Unhappily, what we wanted to hear about most came up listed 10th. Traffic will still be jammed.

JWA traffic up overall in March with despite soft international demand

Airline passenger traffic at John Wayne Airport increased in March 2014 as compared to March 2013. In March 2014, the Airport served 776,360 passengers, an increase of 0.6% when compared to the March 2013 passenger traffic count of 771,554. The year over year traffic was up by 2.1%.

Commercial aircraft operations decreased 5.8%.

International demand was off by 27.5% in March despite an expression of hope last month, from an airport spokesperson, that there might be a seasonal up tick.

Linking the Los Angeles Airport
- NY Times
Los Angeles International Airport has no direct rail lines, only shuttle bus service. But that may change.

With a surge in rail construction in Los Angeles, governing boards from the airport and the county transportation agency are expected to decide in the coming weeks whether to choose from several proposals that would connect the airport to the Crenshaw Line, which began construction in January and is expected to be complete in 2019, and the existing Green Line.

Los Angeles is one of the few major cities that do not offer rail service to its main airport. Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Atlanta and Washington have long had such a link. About 10 years ago, after many delays, New York added one to Kennedy International Airport. Cities like Portland, Minneapolis, Seattle, Newark, Phoenix, Miami and San Francisco have also added rail connections.

From a transportation standpoint, experts say that if there is to be any chance in the long term of relieving traffic delays in one of the region’s most congested areas, a rail link to the airport is necessary.

The current setup is haphazard and halfhearted. Neither the airport nor the county tracks how many people use the rail-bus connection to reach the airport. On Saturday evening, the shuttle buses were overwhelmingly filled with airport employees, perhaps explaining why one of the two luggage racks on most buses has been removed. On Sundays and holidays, only two buses are available to run the loop, sometimes causing 15- to 20-minute waits, said Whitni Lampkin, who commutes to her job at the airport on the Green Line.

There is broad agreement that these types of infrastructure improvements are needed, and because of the 2008 passage of a half-cent county sales tax increase, the money is available. It is expected to raise $40 billion over 30 years for transportation projects.

But just how the connection is made is where the politics lie.

Long Beach Airport Director Mario Rodriguez Announces He Will Move To Indianapolis - Gazettes.com

Long Beach Airport Director Mario Rodriguez has resigned. He has accepted a position as executive director of the Indianapolis Airport Authority.
Rodriguez was hired as the director in February 2009. His previous experience included two decades in both public and private sectors, including serving as the deputy director at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, and in positions at the Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach International Airports.
During his tenure, the Long Beach Airport has experienced a renaissance, completing the $57 million parking garage and the $45 million modernization of the historical Long Beach Terminal. Additionally, the airport has won numerous awards, including recently being listed by Fodor's Travel Guide as one of the top 10 airports in the world. LGB has consistently been listed as one of the lowest cost airports to fly into.

The airport director oversees 125 employees, an annual operating budget of more than $40 million and a five-year capital budget of $165 million. LGB serves more than three million passengers annually.

The city will conduct a nationwide search for his successor, considering both internal and external candidates who choose to apply, according to a release. In the meantime, the city manager will appoint an interim director to lead the airport until the selection process is complete.

April 14 - April 20, 2014

United to debut world's longest non-stop 787 route
- Forbes

United Airlines plans to launch the longest non-stop route with a Boeing 787 when it debuts its Los Angeles-Melbourne service in October. The flight between California and Australia will cover a distance of 7,927 miles. United plans to offer the flight six days a week.

Airport group rejects Newport's plan - OC Register
The Airport Land Use Commission’s vote is 3-2 against allowing more housing and development from being incorporated in the city’s General Plan.

Concerned about safety and noise, [the Airport Land Use Commission] an airport group on Thursday opposed plans for more housing near John Wayne Airport, something Newport Beach is pushing for.
The 3-2 vote by the Airport Land Use Commission won’t necessarily stop more housing and development from being incorporated in the city’s General Plan, a long-range document for growth.
The City Council could override the commission’s vote. Ultimately, the decision will rest with Newport Beach voters to approve or reject changes to the General Plan in November.
On Thursday, airport commissioners called the city’s changes “inconsistent” with airport planning documents.
Kari Rigoni, the commission’s executive officer, said the group, appointed by the Orange County Board of Supervisors among others, has historically expressed concern about new housing in the area bounded by Campus Drive, MacArthur Boulevard, Jamboree Road and Bristol Street.
Rigoni said aircraft noise is one issue. Another is safety, she said, because some housing proposed by the city would sit under the general aviation flight path, a route used by small planes.

April 7- April 13, 2014

John Wayne, LAX passenger traffic rose in February; Long Beach, Ontario declined
- OC Register
John Wayne and Los Angeles International airports reported an increase in passengers in February, but Long Beach and Ontario both saw declines.
In Orange County, nearly 672,000 travelers passed through John Wayne, up 2.9 percent over February 2013. LAX passenger traffic rose to nearly 4.8 million, a 6.3 percent increase.
John Wayne saw its second month of decline in international travel. The four daily flights to Mexico and one to Vancouver, British Columbia, carried just over 20,000 passengers, a 7.3 percent drop from the nearly 22,000 in February of last year.
Domestic passenger traffic, however, remains healthy, which John Wayne spokeswoman Jenny Wedge called an indication of the economic recovery.   She said Mexico demand typically declines in January and February before improving in March. She noted John Wayne had a similar drop-off in Mexico traffic in the first two months of last year.
Nearly 102,000 more international travelers flew through LAX that month, an 8.6 percent year-over-year jump. As an international port of entry, LAX is part of a growing surge in foreign visitors nationwide.
Long Beach Airport and Ontario International Airport continued to have their woes as airlines focus service on major hubs.
February traffic at Long Beach dropped to just under 196,000, a 7.6 percent year-over-year decline. Travel through Ontario fell to 286,000, 2.4 percent below last year.

March 31 - April 6, 2014

JWA and OC move towards locking in limits on travel

The airport is currently preparing an Environmental Impact Report for the proposed Settlement Agreement Amendment.  The next step in the process is the publication of a Draft EIR for public review and comment. 

Following this, the Board of Supervisors will certify the EIR and probably adopt the "Proposed Project" that was negotiated in secret between the County and Newport Beach groups.  This alternative caps the number of passengers and flights that can be served through 2030.  For the proposal and other alternatives click here.

JWA posts positive results for February

John Wayne Airport posts a 2.9% increase in passenger traffic for both the month of February and the first two months of 2014 when compared to the same periods last year.

Click here for previous news reports