Reports are circulating that United will fly between Los Angeles and Melbourne. Photo: United.
United Airlines is expected to announce a new flight from Los Angeles to Melbourne, Australia that will start in October, according to Airchive, an aviation blog. (We have since confirmed it — see below.)
United will fly the route six times per week using a Boeing 787-9 aircraft starting Oct 26, Airchive reported. The news is being warmly greeted on Flyertalk, the message board I profiled in a feature story earlier this week. Posters on the website, who are probably airline employees, are talking like it’s a done deal, though they note the international flight is subject to government approval. (Flyertalk members get this stuff wrong occasionally, but not often.)
I reached out late Thursday to United for a comment, but I have not heard back.
Qantas already files between Los Angeles and Melbourne using an Airbus A380. United for now offers one-stop service to Melbourne. The plane stops in Sydney.
UPDATE: 10 p.m. The flight is now available for purchase on United.com.
Also, the reputable Airlineroute.net website says the flights start on November 3. It starts Oct. 26, as we originally stated.
I came across an unusual entry in the agenda this week for the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners closed session meeting scheduled for Wednesday. It appears the Transportation Security Administration has assessed fines on Los Angeles International Airport.
Here’s what it says:
“Transportation Security Administration Settlement of five (5) Orders assessing Civil Penalties to Los Angeles World Airports for violations at Los Angeles International Airport. [2013LAX0162; 2013LAX0170; 2013LAX0216; 2013LAX0256; 2013LAX0017].”
I’ve reached out to the TSA about what these fines might be for, but I am not optimistic I’ll receive an answer. Usually I’m told this is “security sensitive” data. The meeting in which they will be discussed in closed to the public.
Do any of my readers know why these fines were asessed? If you know and want to say anonymous, you may email me at email@example.com.
American LAX Settlement
American Airlines and the city of Los Angeles apparently got creative in settling their lawsuit over fees the carrier was assessed but did not pay at Los Angeles International Airport, according to a settlement agreement filed in federal court.
As we reported last month, Los Angeles claimed that American had underpaid its rental invoices by $21,556,915.70 since 2011. The money was charged for something called “maintenance and operations,” or M&O, which are fees for services that the airport says are not covered by rental payments.
Every other airline at LAX has been paying these bills, the city noted in court filings. So it always seemed likely that American would pay them too. The question was how the issue would be settled.
I took at a look at the settlement, and below is what I learned. (Of course, I’m no lawyer, so if you see something I have missed, please let me know in the comments section.)
- American is paying Los Angeles $8 million right away. But the city will also reimburse American for a bunch of improvements the carrier made at LAX in recent years.
- LAX will credit American with $2 million in exchange for “apron pavement improvements” the carrier paid for between 2010 and 2012.
- The city will reimburse American almost $4 million for costs related to employee parking. It seems that, at the request of the airport, American switched to an inconvenient parking lot for its employees. The employees must now be bused to American’s operation, and that bus is expensive.
- American claims it has spent a considerable sum on “design plans” for a building that will connect its Terminal 4 to the Tom Bradley International Terminal. American can get up to $375,000 for this project.
- American expanded its security checkpoints at Terminal 4 in 2005 and 2011. The city will reimburse the airline for many of these costs.
- For those unpaid M&O charges from 2011 through 2013, American will pay Los Angeles $14 million.
- Effective Jan. 1, 2014, American will pay LAX $42,000 per month for M&O charges. These will pay for: “fire, life and safety systems, heating, conditioning, ventilation systems,” documents show.
L.A. wants a fair price for L.A/Ontario International Airport, which it has operated since 1967. Staff file photo.
Los Angeles must receive a fair price in order to sell L.A/Ontario International Airport to Ontario, the president of L.A. Board of Airport Commissioners said today in a statement.
“LAWA is willing to consider a transfer of ONT to a qualified entity representing the cities and counties in the service area of the airport,” commission president Sean Burton said. “However, LAWA will only consider such a transfer in exchange for fair compensation for assets transferred and reasonable protections for airport workers, including City of Los Angeles employees.”
Regular readers know that L.A. and Ontario told a judge on Wednesday that they failed to reach a settlement during the roughly two month break in their lawsuit. Ontario had filed suit against Los Angeles in June, accusing L.A. of mismanaging the airport. L.A. has operated the Ontario field since 1967 and Ontario wants it back.
This is a very important issue for Ontario politicians and voters, who are concerned that that Ontario airport had fewer than 4 million passengers in 2013 for the first time in nearly 30 years. I don’t hear much about the issue, however, from anyone in L.A.
We’ll have more about Ontario’s lawsuit as it moves forward. Stay tuned.
UPDATE: Noon, Wednesday. As expected, lawyers for Ontario told a judge this morning that they will proceed with their lawsuit after they failed to reach a deal with Los Angeles. “LA only cares about building up LAX and is watching as Ontario continues its demise,” attorney Roy Goldberg, who represents Ontario, said afterward. My colleagues Grace Wong and Liset Marquez are on the story and will update all day.
Los Angeles and Ontario will tell a judge Wednesday that they have not reached a deal to transfer control of L.A/Ontario International Airport to the city of Ontario, a source familiar with the matter told me tonight.
The sides had put the lawsuit on hold in early December in hopes that they could reach a settlement. But as my colleague Liset Marquez reported over the weekend, it was never clear how seriously or often the sides were working to reach a deal. Now, my source said, the lawsuit filed by Ontario against Los Angeles will proceed.
Ontario filed suit in state court in June in an attempt to wrest control of the airport from Los Angeles, which has operated since 1967 under agreement between the two entities. Ontario says Los Angeles has breached the contract by failing to properly market the airport and failing to bring in and retain service there. Ontario say it can do a better job operating the facility.
Los Angeles has countered that the market nationwide for airports similar to Ontario is weak, as airlines have retrenched into larger urban airports where they feel they can make more money. Los Angeles has signaled it might be willing to turn over control of Ontario’s airport, but only at a fair price.
Last year, Ontario served about 3.9 million passengers — fewer than it has served in any year since 1985.