You may have been one of the people inconvenienced by a labor protest that blocked the entrance to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on the day before Thanksgiving, the busiest travel day of the year. This protest was ill-timed, ill-conceived and without merit. Angelenos traveling to be with families and friends were inconvenienced and delayed by protesters who ironically don't earn their living serving the traveling public at the airport. This charade deserves a universal "boo."
The good news is that distractions like this Thanksgiving Eve protest are not taking the eye off the ball as LAX strives for new heights under the leadership of Gina Marie Lindsey, the executive director of Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), which oversees LAX. Under Lindsey's strategic guidance, LAX is halfway through its Capital Budget #1 — an investment of $4.1 billion in this giant economic engine that is key to the future of our region. Improvements already completed include a new taxiway, renovations to Terminal 6 and a new Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting Facility. A new $438 million Central Utility Plant is nearing completion, to replace the current one, which is 50 years old.
The most exciting project underway is the new Tom Bradley International Terminal. Slated for completion in 2013, planes are already arriving at its recently opened Gate 134. This dramatic new international terminal will be L.A.'s new front door to the world as it accommodates the new generation of larger and more environmentally friendly aircraft like the A380 and 747-8.
A new Midfield Satellite Concourse is also being planned, to add more gates for these larger aircraft. And, we will soon see a recommendation from LAWA commissioners on the future of the North Runway, mass transit to the airport and a consolidated rental car facility.
The last time LAX saw this kind of activity was in the early 1980s, when LAX added domestic and international terminals and the second-level roadway in preparation for hosting the 1984 Olympics.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa gets high marks for recruiting Lindsey to LAX. When she was appointed in June 2007, the mayor said he selected someone “…with a vision for moving the area's airports forward.” That vision is now becoming a reality.
Your Chamber is proud to say "three cheers for LAX." The journey is never done, but we are soaring higher every day.
And that's The Business Perspective.
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