LAX Chief Gina Marie Lindsey was right. Airlines don’t want expensive ground transportation

Last week, I quoted LAX director Gina Marie Lindsey as saying airlines have little interest in two ground transportation projects important to L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti — an intermodal transportation center and an automated people mover.

But I didn’t want to take Lindsey’s word for it. So for a story published over the weekend, I asked the airlines. Do they want these projects? Instead of responding directly, the carriers directed their trade group – Airlines 4 America – to answer for them.

And guess what? The airline’s DON’T want these projects. Lindsey was blunt — but she was also right. Here’s the quote from Airlines 4 American spokeswoman Katie Connell:

“In order to continue providing our customers with affordable air travel, airlines must evaluate the best use of their financial resources,” she said. “Transit links are capital intensive and divert revenues away from necessary airport projects.”

I still think these projects will get done in some form, but let’s not pretend everyone is on board.

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L.A. Councilman Mike Bonin: Airlines may not want it, but LAX must be connected to rail

Better ground transporeation may not be a pirority for airlines at LAX. But Mike Bonin said it must improve no matter what. Wikimedia Commons photo.

Better ground transportation may not be a priority for airlines at LAX. But L.A. council member Mike Bonin said it must improve no matter what. Wikimedia Commons photo.

It was news earlier this week when LAX airport director Gina Marie Lindsey said airlines might push back against two ambitious ground transportation projects important to L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and other city and counter officials.

The comments, which you can read here, were a somewhat rare expression of honesty by a public official. Lindsey said airlines — her tenants — don’t necessary want an Automated People Mover or a Ground Transportation Center, mainly because they’ll have to pay for them, either directly or indirectly. Our friends at CurbedLA picked up on this, and the commenters have been pretty harsh to Lindsey.

But L.A. councilman Mike Bonin, whose district includes the airport, told me what Lindsey said isn’t really a big deal. Whether airlines want it or or not, he suggested, the city will build what it needs.

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L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti wants better LAX ground transportation. But do airlines?

ground

A new LAX ground transportation center could look like this. But do airlines even want it? Rendering courtesy of L.A. World Airports.

Los Angeles International Airport executive director Gina Marie Lindsey says airlines have little interest in two projects favored by L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti — an intermodal transportation center and an automated people mover.

She made the comments at Monday’s Board of Airport Commissioners meeting. Several members suggested to Lindsey that more efficient ground transportation — and thus less terminal area congestion –would make for happier airlines, but Lindsey pushed back against that assertion.

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LAX director says the ‘New American’ likely will remain strong in L.A.

What will the American/US Airways merger mean for Los Angeles.

What will the American/US Airways merger mean for Los Angeles.

Apparently no one at the U.S. Department of Justice asked Los Angeles World Airports executive director Gina Marie Lindsey her opinion before the Feds reached a settlement with American and US Airways.

The settlement agreement the carriers agreed to this week requires the combined airline to give up two gates in LAX’s Terminal 3. US Airways was to take those gates next year when it moves out of Terminal 1. The L.A. Airport Commission asked Lindsey on Thursday about those gates, and I think I sensed some sarcasm in her answer.

“US Airways is supposed to give up two gates,” she said. “Interestingly enough, it’s two gates they didn’t really have.”

Board members asked Lindsey if she was concerned the merger might hurt LAX. She said she is not worried.

“I think we have a pretty good sense from American that L.A. is very important to them,” she said. “We don’t see any pulling back on their commitment to L.A.”

Brett Snyder, who knows the Southern California market better than anyone, wrote this week on his crankyflier.com blog that American probably only will pull back on some of its marginal routes. It’s hard to know exactly what those routes would be, but your mid-level U.S. cities might be targets — Indianapolis, Hartford, Columbus. (Apologies to residents of those cities, but I don’t believe your yields can match Miami, Chicago and New York.)

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Source: LAX airport director Gina Marie Lindsey will keep job

In case you have not seen my story from our main website, I reported last night that Gina Marie Lindsey, executive director of Los Angeles World Airports, will remain on the job under new Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Garcetti, who celebrates his 100th day in office today, had asked the heads of all Los Angeles city departments to reapply for their jobs.

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