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The LAX Question? Should It Be Expanded?

Tue Jan 15, 2002 2:10 pm

Courtesy of the NY Times.
January 14, 2002

Growing Pains for Los Angeles' Airport


LOS ANGELES, Jan. 13 — The inauguration of a flight connecting a distant Los Angeles suburb with Hermosillo, a provincial city in Mexico, would not seem cause for toasts and speeches. But Mayor James K. Hahn himself led the festivities recently at the Ontario, Calif., airport, saying he was making a point about the future.

The Los Angeles mayor used the event to kick-start his plan for resolving what many experts regard as a kind of slow-motion air travel crisis. With Los Angeles International Airport badly overburdened and the communities around it fighting its expansion, the mayor is pushing new routes to the area's smaller airports, like Ontario's.

But the real symbolism of the ceremony there may have come when that first Aeromexico flight prepared to depart: only 11 passengers showed up, a clear sign that this airport, about 30 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, is far from popular.

Even before Sept. 11, the Los Angeles region was facing enormous political and logistical problems with air travel, which is critical to its economic vigor. The terrorism crisis has only made the issue knottier. The sudden need for increased security has made any solution far more expensive. And the number of passengers has plunged since the attacks, creating uncertainty about just what the future needs will be.

Perhaps worse, the concerns over terrorism appear to have sapped whatever will may have existed to face up to local opposition and take the step that many planners prefer, a major expansion of Los Angeles International Airport, known as LAX.

To some, the mayor of a metropolis as sprawling as this one is wise to promote far-flung airports. But the airlines and many people in business say Mr. Hahn's plan is doomed to failure because few want to fly out of the more remote airports like Ontario's. They accuse the mayor of wishfully thinking that other communities will accept what those around LAX are rejecting.

The region around Ontario, an area far to the east known as the Inland Empire, supports expansion as an economic boon. But the linchpin of the mayor's plan is the construction of a big international airport at what was once a major Air Force base at El Toro, in the middle of Orange County.

That plan faces rigid opposition, too, and in March residents will vote for the third time in recent years on a referendum on whether to turn the old base into an airport or a public park. Polls indicate that the park plan will win, potentially leaving the mayor without space for handling the 30 million passengers a year intended for El Toro.

"The pre-Sept. 11 environment wasn't encouraging," said Jack Weiss, a member of the Los Angeles City Council who favors expanding the main airport. "Post-Sept. 11, I think there has been, properly, a shift with the focus on security, not expansion. But the two should not be mutually exclusive."

The mayor's aides say it is a matter of social equity.

"LAX has had to shoulder the bulk of the region's air traffic," said Troy Edwards, a deputy mayor in charge of the airport planning. "It's not fair for the people who live around there, and it's also not economically efficient."

Asked what the city had planned if the El Toro airport is not built, he said nothing.

"The big drop in traffic after September has just made the problem more dangerous," said Steven P. Erie, a professor of urban planning at the University of California at San Diego. "It lulls us into a sense of complacency, a feeling that we won't have to deal with this for another 5 or 10 years. And that just isn't true."

He added: "The problem is air traffic is going to come back. This is a real crisis and it won't go away that easily."

The Southern California Association of Governments, a regional planning body, has said that long-term travel projections should remain largely the same, despite the decline after Sept. 11.

The Los Angeles airport underwent its last major expansion in 1984, for the Olympics. Its capacity then was 40 million passengers a year. In 2001 it handled an estimated 62 million passengers. Under the mayor's plan, it is intended to handle 78 million passengers in 2025.

Even that goal will involve a step- by-step tearing down and rebuilding of most of the terminals. In addition, because the airport is one of the country's most dangerous as measured by near-misses by planes, runways will have to be reconfigured.

Los Angeles' previous mayor, Richard J. Riordan, had proposed expanding LAX to handle nearly 100 million passengers a year. But in the face of local opposition he stopped pressing the issue. In October, Mayor Hahn officially announced that his focus would be on security rather than expansion.

The real growth in regional capacity is expected to come at Ontario and El Toro, under the mayor's proposal. Ontario's current traffic of about 6 million passengers a year is expected to grow to 30 million a year by 2025. El Toro would also be built to handle 30 million passengers a year.

The benefit, proponents say, is that it would move the airport capacity closer to places where the population is shifting, particularly the Inland Empire.

Airline executives dismiss this notion as fanciful. They argue that travelers prefer large hubs because they offer more flights and more airlines.

"At the end of the day, people fly where they want to fly," said Michael Whitaker, a vice president for governmental affairs at United Airlines, the biggest carrier at Los Angeles. If the airport congestion in Los Angeles gets worse and routes get pushed to the more remote airports, he added, many flyers will go to San Francisco, Phoenix or even Denver.

Many here hope that the El Toro vote in March will settle the issue. But there are already signs that the planning headaches may not end then. Opponents of that airport have vowed to fight in the courts as long as it takes to kill it.

"If the vote fails?" asked Larry Agran, the mayor of Irvine and one of the staunchest opponents of El Toro. "I think we'd be in trench warfare for another 20 years."

What do you think? I think that LAX should be expanded, I have seen copies of the 5 draft masterplans for LAX (in a magazine!) & think that the addition of a new runway & terminals/roadways to the West would be a great start. Not that this is probably what will happen, however the city planners need to understand that most pax prefer LAX it would seem!

Your thoughts?

Cheers - BZF

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RE: The LAX Question? Should It Be Expanded?

Tue Jan 15, 2002 3:42 pm

Dear BZF,

You are correct....LAX should be expanded. Mayor Hahn sounds like he knows very, very little about airline economics. His proposals could do a great deal of harm to the Los Angeles region's economy and put many jobs at risk.

The hard fact is that LAX is the only major airport for the Los Angeles region, whether Hahn and Inglewood NIMBY's like it or not. There is no feasible way to move large amounts of air traffic out of LAX, because there is no site anywhere near practical for a new Los Angeles Airport.

Note that I said "Los Angeles." This is a basic geographic fact Mayor Hahn doesn't seem to grasp. All of his proposals would do *nothing* to serve the millions who live in the *Los Angeles* catchment area--LA, Santa Monica, Pasadena, Downey, San Fernando Valley, Burbank, Glendale, and Simi Valley.

Orange County is an hour away on congested highways. A new El Toro airport would not serve the LA catchment area, and would not be used by LA travelers. Orange County rightly doesn't want to develop El Toro. They just spent $400 million on more-convenient John Wayne, which would have to be closed to make El Toro an economically feasible proposition. So Mayor Hahn can cross off that option.

Ontario is also an hour away on congested highways. Los Angeles travelers *will not* use it unless they're headed out there for low fares (eg jetBlue). Mayor Hahn can forget about that one.

Mayor Hahn did not mention Burbank as an option, which is wise. Burbank Airport is very convenient to the LA catchment area. But BUR is surrounded by NIMBY's as psychotic as the Orcs in "Lord of the Rings." The same goes for Long Beach, which is at least close to the south side of the LA catchment area. And JetBlue just bought all the slots at LGB so no one else can develop there.

And there isn't any flat, vacant real estate anywhere remotely close to convenient to the LA catchment area. Scratch that option. Finally, Mayor Hahn might consider building an offshore airport--but that would have the same NIMBY problems as LAX and probably interfere with its airspace. And of course, as Osaka can tell us, offshore airports are hellaciously expensive. A bad idea when airport operating costs are rising due to terrorism security measures.

So that leaves LAX. The future needs of the LA catchment area will flow through that airport whether Hahn likes it or not.

Adding new runways at LAX isn't practical; it would require too much demolition in surrounding neighborhoods. However, moving LAX's four existing runways further apart, so that 744's and 777's could finally taxi around the airport safely and efficiently, would only require minimal land acquisition. This step alone would greatly improve LAX's efficiency.

Hahn proposed building a remote landside building with a people mover to the terminals. Bad idea. LAX is for better or worse primarily an O & D airport, and such an arrangement would be very inefficient for O & D pax. So rebuilding and expanding the existing terminals, with a new terminal on the west end, is the way to go.

Also....there's no reason that airline maintenance facilities need to be at LAX. Airlines have lots of facilities at non-major airports. Those could be moved to ONT to make room for passenter terminal space at LAX. Also, much of the LAX south-side cargo park could be moved to ONT in order to make room for spreading out existing runways.

Hahn sounds like a real space cadet when it comes to aviation. Unless he changes his tune and adopts measures like I discuss above, the Los Angeles region can expect air travel to become increasingly expensive and inconvenent in comming years. And the all-important tourism industry will suffer.


Need a new airline paint scheme? Better call Saul! (Bass that is)
Matt D
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RE: The LAX Question? Should It Be Expanded?

Tue Jan 15, 2002 3:56 pm

First of all, I think that mayor Hahn is an idiot. His approach to this issue is clearly indicative of that.

First of all, he is placing all of his eggs (the wrong eggs I might add-namely security) into one basket.

Security is a one time fix that if done correctly, can be effective. Plus, these overzealous measures will not be able to last indefinitely. He brags about all of the traffic returning to pre-Sept 11 levels.

I wouldn't hold my breath. Not in the short term anyway. Just too many people are or will be fed up with being treated like criminals.

Anyway, getting back on topic.

I don't know that rebuilding LAX is the answer. Former mayor Riordan was correct in his belief that LAX alone should not bear the brunt of the burden of traffic that comes from eastern LA, as well as Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and even Kern Counties. Maybe a complete rebuilding isn't necessary. But a rennovation is. The terminals are just too close to each other to operate efficiently. You have to wonder what they were thinking when the original "round satellites" were joined to the main buildings. Probably a couple of new terminals on the west end of the field would be a good idea as well.

ONT is a classic case of the age old "chicken or egg" quandry: people shy away from ONT due to a lack of choices. But if more people came, there would be more choices.

ONT has the POTENTIAL to get up to at least the capacity and volume of a LAS, LGA, or even PHX. The space is available. Build a third new terminal between the two new ones, and build two or three more between terms 2 and the original (now closed) terminal (and maybe rebuild the original). Build a third runway on the southern end of the airport, and you could see tremendous relief from LAX. There is so much growth out in the Inland Empire. LAX expansion or not, ONT will eventually come into its own as a major airport. The commute to LAX will get so bad (the freeways are already a joke) that people will start using ONT just to maintain their sanity. Too bad ONT has always played second fiddle to LAX and even SNA.

Now looking south to Orange County. I've always believed that OC is the airhead, crybaby, and NIMBY Capitol of the world. The El Toro mess (and the SNA noise abatement rules) prove that fairly conclusively. After all, only the good folks of Newport Beach would buy a house that is under the takeoff path of an EXISTING airport and THEN complain about the noise.
But as long as OC is divided about El Toro (the North County residents favor it and the South County residents oppose it), it will be like that 7 mile stretch of the 710 freeway between Pasadena and Monterey Park that has been debated for 30 years: it will NEVER be built.

I think that they should break ground on El Toro and be done with it. End of discussion. If not, then send the residents of OC an ultimatum: either we build El Toro, or we're going to start tracking who comes into LAX. If you have an OC address on your drivers license, we're going to stick you with a $50 surcharge for using LAX. Will there be some people that cheat and abuse that system? Of course there will. But most people won't go through that kind of trouble if they only fly a handful of times a year. But collectively, they will get tired of that and "demand action" (and the surcharge won't be repealed).

Just my opening $02. I want to get this posted before my connection times out.
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RE: The LAX Question? Should It Be Expanded?

Tue Jan 15, 2002 7:11 pm

Well it sounds to me as if you guys (DCA-ROCguy & Matt D) know what you are talking about! I agree with you that a re-alignment of the runways & a new terminal complex at the western end of the field is the sensible way to go. One of the drafts that was in the magazine I saw, had a set up similar to Atlanta/Denver (ie. rows of terminals out from a 'home base' terminal). Also they had rwys 24L & 25R extending east over (is it Sepulveda Blvd or the S.Monica Fwy?????) which would allow for max weight take-off from both sides of the field, for B747-400/A340-500/600 aircraft, which is important for LR services to Australia & SE Asia.

This Mayor Hahn, seems like he's out for vote catching or smoking some serious stuff, to try to expand outside the LAX basin!

Cheers - BZF
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RE: The LAX Question? Should It Be Expanded?

Wed Jan 16, 2002 2:22 am

Though I think Mayor Hahn's ideas for a remote terminal are quite absurd I think that LAX expansion as planned by the master plan is dead. There is too much opposition to expansion by the surrounding communities. I agree with the above posters, new terminals on the west end to replace the existing terminals would be the best bet and I think that's what will likely happen. You can check out the master plan with illustrations of the alternatives at www.lawa.org
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RE: The LAX Question? Should It Be Expanded?

Wed Jan 16, 2002 4:10 pm

All i can say is that atleast he is trying to advocate something of a quick fix. He has put out a plan, and thats one that maybe has some down sides, but airports all have their physical limits. Some other plan is needed. Sydney has a similar problem, and some say that Melbourne will also have the same problems soon.

Keep up the good analysis of the issues people

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RE: The LAX Question? Should It Be Expanded?

Wed Jan 16, 2002 5:15 pm

Ahhh the LA airport mess..

I'll start with El Toro. Matt... building an airport at El Toro would be a gigantic waste of money. Not only the money to get everything going (last I hear, the runways have to be rebuilt.. if you have information to the contrary, I'd love to know), but also the money spent to turn SNA into what it is and the money spent on the crazy train system between the two. The reason why it'd be a waste - ONT Syndrome. People will be complaining about the lack of service from the new Orange County airport, just like they complain about service from ONT simply because nothing will change. Who's going to serve El Toro that doesn't already serve SNA? MAYBE jetBlue.. and Southwest would be able to increase service as well, probably UPS and FedEx too. Otherwise, everything will be exactly as it is at SNA. The airlines have proven to us that range is not a problem from SNA. Aloha's got the HNL and OGG service.. TWA had JFK service, CO flies to EWR a few times a day and UA was going to start SNA-IAD. Sure, they may take limits that they wouldn't at El Toro.. or would they? I'm sure you've been down to the El Toro area.. those hills (and then mountains) a couple of miles from the end of the runway sure are going to affect limits, especially on hot days. El Toro won't get any new international service either. Alaska's just now starting SNA-YVR.. if YYZ or Mexican destinations were even in demand, Air Canada or Aeromexico would be banging down the door. You can forget about Asian or European service.. especially when some of the carriers can't even serve both SFO and LAX.

I remember going to an SNA commisioner's meeting and actually getting up and saying all these things, but no one wants to hear it because they assume that a big, shiny new airport (far away from Newport Beach) will be the impressive way to fix Orange County's air transportation problems.

So, the reality of airline economics is the big problem for El Toro. Safety is a big concern too. If an engine quits at V1, give me the noise abatement procedure over Newport Beach any day over pointing an airplane towards those mountains.. especially on an IFR day.

What fixes the Orange County problem? Expanding what's already there. Tunnel the 405, and build the runway over the freeway (or at least the clearway). You can imagine how popular this idea was at the aforementioned meeting. I've seen the plans, but I forgot how long that actually makes the runway.. somewhere right around 8000 ft. That'll safely handle the 767-300s that people think are suddenly going to be landing there. It'll also quell the NIMBY folks as just that couple extra thousand feet can mean a higher altitude as aircraft pass over Newport.

As for LA.. Forget expanding LAX, forget LGB, forget ONT.. they need to go out to Palmdale or somewhere else out in the desert and just build something new. Connect it to the Valley, the west side/LAX, downtown, and ONT with high speed rail that'll get people there in less than an hour. Really, a sort of better-planned Tokyo model. LAX can be LA's Haneda and the desert airport, Narita. Not only would it solve the NIMBY problems and the question of what happens when the expansion they want to do now is out of date, but it would also stimulate growth away from the Basin. People thought planners were crazy for building IAD so far from DC, but now it's developed all the way into town. I think the reality is that inevitably, such an airport is going to be built sometime in the next 20 years.. they might as well just roll up their sleeves and get started now.
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RE: The LAX Question? Should It Be Expanded?

Thu Jan 17, 2002 1:51 am

Hahn and also the other candidates promised no expansion in their campaigns. They will simply defer the matter to the next mayor, who will have to take the very unpopular step of doing something drastic about it. Hahn is a decent administrator, but has no vision, and it shows here.

I agree with Kohflot that the only truly feasible thing would be to build something out at Palmdale and connect to LA with a high speed, non street-dependent rail, but given the city's ineptitude in the recent subway debacle (1 billion dollars spent per mile!), I have no hopes for it. So expanding LAX directly (and expanding the other airports at the same time!) is the only way to keep a healthy traffic flow. It is vital to the economic health of the city and the region.

How about moving freight out to ONT and making LAX pax only? Is that feasible or ridiculous?

One comment about the NIMBY's though. Even the staunchest supporters of LAX airport expansion agree that the opposition here is not merely NIMBY ("not in my backyard"). In fact the push to develop regionally away from LAX comes from a coalition headed by the citizens and mayor of El Segundo originally, but involves municipalities all the way out to Riverside. They haven't sought simply to push it out of their backyard, but to find a constructive , alternative solution. They are so organized that they are largely shaping the debate. I think they have some reasons to stand by except for the main one, unfortunately, which is that airports are built to accomodate not merely population concentration, but especially wealth concentration. Many fewer people who live around ONT are likely to fly than around LAX, which is why LAX should still be developed; that is where the demand is.
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RE: The LAX Question? Should It Be Expanded?

Thu Jan 17, 2002 2:03 am

I think that maybe some flights should be moved to El Toro along with some of the flights or all of the flights from Orange County. I think that since OC is expanding with people and business they should utilize El Toro and maybe even move some of the cargo flights from LAX down there.

Matt D
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RE: The LAX Question? Should It Be Expanded?

Thu Jan 17, 2002 2:46 am

Get it through your head people:

Palmdale, Victorville, Mojave, etc. as a relief for LAX:


Oh sure, those areas are still relatively lightly populated, and the space certainly exists.

All of these ideas such as high speed trains and such all still overlook one tiny detail:

The San Gabriel Mountains

In order for a high speed train running between the LA basin and the High Desert to be feasible and workable, at least one entire mountain would have to be levelled.

I mean building a train that snakes around the hills running from Palmdale down to Canyon Country to Valencia, and then backtracking to San Fernando and down into LA might be able to reach a top speed of 40 MPH without jumping the tracks. And even though Palmdale-LAX might have a line of sight distance of only about 70 miles, the actual ground distance via the shortest routing would be at least 150 miles.

You have any idea how much that would cost, not to mention the duration of such a project? And that is to say nothing of the inevitable legal challenges brought on by environmentalist groups.

If and when the High Desert population gets to the point of where there is sufficient O+D demand up there, fine, then build PMD and/or VCV. And the High Desert can be a market unto itself. As a compliment, but not help/replacement to LAX.

Until then, for the remaining 95% of the LA/Orange County/Inland Empire metropolis, the solution MUST be down south, on existing territory.

RE: The LAX Question? Should It Be Expanded?

Thu Jan 17, 2002 2:49 am


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lindy field
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RE: The LAX Question? Should It Be Expanded?

Thu Jan 17, 2002 3:00 am

It's far, but San Diego desperately needs a new airport as well. Plenty of San Diegans drive or fly up to LAX to take advantage of the larger number of destinations offered from LAX. A lot of freight destined for San Diego actually arrives at LAX and is trucked down to San Diego. If San Diego built a decently sized international airport at Miramar or Camp Pendleton (there are various problems with both sites) the need for a new facility at El Toro might be substantially diminished.

In the long run, I think expansion of LAX, ONT, and a new airport for San Diego might be the best options for air travel in Southern California.

I leave further arguments for those more knowledgeable.

RE: The LAX Question? Should It Be Expanded?

Thu Jan 17, 2002 3:00 am

sorry caps lock got stuck
Matt D
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RE: The LAX Question? Should It Be Expanded?

Thu Jan 17, 2002 3:05 am


My last post wasn't aimed at you, so don't get so defensive.

I fully agree with you that OC MUST share at least some of the brunt. After all, I don't know what the statistics are, but I'm sure that OC residents constitute far more than just a negligable amount of LAX traffic. I mean fair is fair.

BTW: with all the pilots screaming about "safety" at El Toro, how come no one ever mentioned the fact that KC-10's and C-141's operated out of there for YEARS without incident? Are the military pilots just lucky or more skilled than commercial pilots, or are they just being lazy?

And if El Toro is not the answer, then we go back to SNA.

For those of you who have not been to SNA, let me rather indignantly point out to you that the airport is landlocked on 3 sides with business parks.

The only way I could see fixing SNA is to draw the line in the sand. Somebody has to get the short end of the stick.

Level all of those flight schools and FBO's that darken the ramp area to the south of the terminal. Build another new passenger terminal or two there. And then, the idea of extending the existing runway past the 405 MIGHT work (it will be a traffic NIGHTMARE for at least 2 years though). So that COULD help.

But one runway isn't going to cut it. Where would you put a second runway? The only space I can think of would be to the west of the existing one, but OOOPs!!! the control tower (and industrial buildings) kind of stand in the way of that.

So by the time all is said and done, SNA will for all intents and purposes be rebuilt.

Why not avoid all that headache and start from scratch at an existing airfield-namely El Toro-where the runways already exist-all we'd have to do is re-pave them?

RE: The LAX Question? Should It Be Expanded?

Thu Jan 17, 2002 3:23 am

Well it seems that everyone in OC wants a new bigger airport, they just don't want it around where they live.

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RE: The LAX Question? Should It Be Expanded?

Thu Jan 17, 2002 3:34 am

Folks, El Toro will not happen.

The voters in Orange County are going to vote it down in the next election. (That is what the polls say...) The North Orange County elected officials who supported El Toro from day one have begun to abandon the fight as they see the writing on the wall.

Ontario will expand in its own right as flights are added and the population in the Inland Empire increases.


The best answer to the problem is to build an international airport in North San Diego County at Camp Pendleton Marine base. Think of all the passengers who fly up (or take ground transportation) to LAX from SAN and Palomar (Carlsbad). This would draw from 3/4 of Orange County and most of San Diego County.

Pendleton is right next to the second busiest rail line in the United States with frequent heavy rail service to San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.

San Diego and Orange County have populations of almost 5 million people. (And we could add an additional 500,000 from South Riverside County as well….)

This new airport would also allow LAX a better chance of being expanded in the future because it would take the wind out of the sails of those who argue that other communities are not contributing to solving the problems of air travel in Southern California.
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RE: The LAX Question? Should It Be Expanded?

Thu Jan 17, 2002 3:56 am

I haven't heard many people discuss Burbank as an alternative. It is closer than ONT and I can't imagine it would be harder to expand than SNA. You will see a new airport on one of those military sites North of San Diego before anything gets done at SNA.

I don't know much about Van Nuys and I hope I don't get attacked for bringing it up, but no one has mentioned it and I wasn't sure if anything could be done with it. All I know is that it has alot of GA and corporate traffic and that the runways are configured alot like SNA except for the fact that they are longer. Is there any hope there or at nearby Burbank?
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RE: The LAX Question? Should It Be Expanded?

Thu Jan 17, 2002 4:05 am

Burbank can't even seem to get a (desperately needed) new terminal built much less an expanded one and a new runway.

Anyone that bets on BUR helping out for LAX might as well bet against the sun coming up tomorrow morning.

AS for Orange County, I'm sick and tired of those snooty @ssholes thinking that they can have it both ways, at the expense of everyone else. They don't want a new airport. They bitch about the drive to LAX. They don't want to expand SNA.

I mean come on people....you have to decide what the priorities are.

Personally I think that if the good folks of OC can't reach a consensus (and they never will) then the State or the Feds should come in, sieze the former El Toro base under Eminent Domain and build the goddammed airport and be done with it. Why should they get to enjoy the benefits of LAX and not have to have some of the "costs"?

If the folks of Lake Forest, Irvine, and RSM don't like it, then they can LEAVE. It's that simple. They peacfully coexisted for years with the military airport there. Why not a commercial airport? After all, let's not forget what was there first:

The base/airport?

Or the out of control cookie cutter housing developments?
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RE: The LAX Question? Should It Be Expanded?

Thu Jan 17, 2002 4:26 am

A possible solution is to “tax” Orange County annually for the El Toro air base land if it not turned into a commercial airport. These “tax” funds would have go to fixing the lack of airport facilities in Southern California. Could use those funds for Pendleton, LAX and Ontario expansion in the future.
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RE: The LAX Question? Should It Be Expanded?

Thu Jan 17, 2002 4:50 am

Though I'd rather see a new airport in Pendleton over no new airport in San Diego, there are a few drawbacks to the site. First, the Marine Corps would have to be willing to allow use of some of the land there. Second, it's quite a long way for San Diego county residents living south of La Jolla, let alone downtown San Diego or to the east in places like La Mesa or El Cajon. Third, the topography of Pendleton is not ideal for east/west facing runways. I've been led to understand that various technical issues come into play if the runways are laid out in a north/south configuration.

However, the location would be of benefit to Orange County and LAX, and it IS very close to interstate 5 and the railroad.
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RE: The LAX Question? Should It Be Expanded?

Thu Jan 17, 2002 5:56 am

I don't know too much about the area, but isn't LAX in a pretty good location? I mean, is there really any more room for a new airport decently close to the bulk of the Los Angeles area? If ONT or SNA are an hour's drive away from LA in heavy traffic, then forcing everyone in LA to drive to ONT or SNA instead of LAX would make the traffic even more congested than it is now, which I don't think is the right answer. I've heard people say that the smaller airports such as BUR, ONT, SNA, and LGB should be expanded as people in those areas use LAX because it offers more destinations. I don't think that would work though, because no matter how much those airports are expanded, they'll never offer what LAX has. That is also why I don't think the new airport at El Toro will work, because it would probably never offer what LAX has. I believe that the best solution is to increase the capacity of the airport that is currently fastest-growing and most popular, which is LAX.

Though I would not call the mayor an idiot either. The LA air traffic problem is one that no one as solved, and a problem that may not even have a viable solution. Although he may not be competent in terms of managing the airport problem, I don't think that makes him an idiot.

One more thing-- Although LAX is very crowded, no doubt, I don't think that, after seeing it, it has been pushed to its limit, yet.
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RE: The LAX Question? Should It Be Expanded?

Thu Jan 17, 2002 10:20 am

ONT doesnt have the land/capacity to expand as some of you have mentioned.

First, there is plans to build a terminal 3, but that is only after ONT gets so many pax a year. Then a terminal 5 will be built, in the empty field between 4, and the car rentals.

As for now, ONT has no plans to tear down the old terminals, so thats out of the picture. The south side of the airport has room to build 2 new terminals, but there is a slight problem there as well - Someone owns that land and lives on it. UPS actually had to pay a high price for their land.

There is also plans for, A) extending a runway or B) adding a new runway parallel to Mission Blvd, that will be at least 6,000 feet.

The population is also increasing by leaps and bound deu in large part by cheap cookie cutter houses being built in the railto/fontana area.

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Topic Author
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RE: The LAX Question? Should It Be Expanded?

Thu Jan 17, 2002 5:50 pm

Would there be anyway of expanding LAX into the ocean? Or is that just not feasable? Sorry I don't live in LAX, I have just used the airport a few times!

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RE: The LAX Question? Should It Be Expanded?

Fri Jan 18, 2002 4:25 am

LAX cant be expanded, since they would have to build somep retty tall piers... it 60 feet above MSL, and they also have PCH in the way.
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Matt D
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RE: The LAX Question? Should It Be Expanded?

Sat Jan 19, 2002 12:31 am

Ahh yes....Hoffer Ranch. That is the privately held land on the southeastern corner of ONT. Who knows. Maybe if LAWA dangles a big enough carrot in front of the owner, they might sell.

But the north end of the airport as TONS of room.

Does anyone remember the old Lockheed facility that was there? That area has been abandoned and could be torn down and a couple of nice new terminals rebuilt.

As for when terminal "3" would be built, last time I heard, it would be when the pax level at ONT reached 10 million for 2 consecutive years.

And why couldn't the original terminal be torn down? It's sitting vacant right now, and I don't think it's a historical landmark.

As for building a runway along Mission Blvd, I don't know if that would be feasible or not. Mission BL does NOT run totally parallel to the runways. Look at a map of the area. Mission actually runs at about a 35 degree angle relative to the runways. The runways run east-west. Mission runs northeast-southeast. So I don't know if that would conflict with the existing runways or not.

As for expanding LAX into the ocean, FORGET IT.

That area, to the west of the airport-between Pershing Drive and the beach, not only is it hilly, but it has been deemed "off limits" to development.

Apparently that area is a protected sanctuary for the El Segundo Blue butterfly.

I'm telling you: ONT has the potential to be BIG. The room is there, and the EXISTING FACILITIES ALONE can handle almost double of what's currently running out of there.

Go to ONT anytime after 9AM until about 9PM:

the place is vacant. Usually, all you will see will be a couple of Southwest 737's, maybe a United 737, and the ubiquitous American MD-80. Plus the occasional AWA, Delta, and others that operate their meager schedules into ONT. The place is a ghost town.

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