Rep. Henry Waxman says LAX can handle more air traffic

Congressman Henry Waxman dropped by the Los Angeles News Group’s Torrance office on Monday for a chat with the editorial board. Among the topic covered was whether — and how — to promote a network of airports in Southern California.

Many residents who live near Los Angeles International Airport say it’s vital that the region promote alternatives like L.A./Ontario International Airport, Long Beach Airport and Burbank Bob Hope Airport. The idea is that LAX will soon become too congested, and many ¬†other airports have excess capacity.

But Waxman told the editorial board it makes sense to continue promoting LAX. He said he is in favor of a LAX plan, which passed the L.A. City Council this spring, to increase the distance between two parallel runways on the north side of the airfield. The goal, airport officials say, is to improve safety and operational efficiency.

“I know Bill Rosendahl, the former city councilman now, was very much against it,” Waxman said. “He argued to me that we ought to send more of the air transportation to some of the satellite airports. Well, I don’t know why. If LA can accommodate it by separating runways and making it safer, we ought to have the business right here.”

Most residents living near LAX say the runway move is unnecessary and that it will bring extra noise and pollution to their neighborhoods. But Waxman said he disagrees.

“I was at a community meeting where someone from Westchester said: ‘It’s safe enough,'” Waxman said. “Well, you say it’s safe enough because you worried about the consequences. But I’m told the consequences are not going to be all that you feared. And I take the word of all the people who are involved on safety.

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LAX runway move: An airline pilot says it’s needed

A couple of weeks ago, I asked if any airline pilots would give their opinion on whether LAX should move its northern-most runway 260 feet closer to homes and businesses in the Westchester community of Los Angeles.

Neighbors say the move is unnecessary.¬† But airport officials say increasing the space between two parallel runways — and building a new taxiway between them — is vital for safety. The airport already completed a similar project on two runways on the south side of LAX.

Jeff, a captain at a major airline who runs his own website, was kind enough to respond. (Jeff can’t say his employer, but if you go his site, you can likely guess). Here’s his take:

“Having flown in and out of LAX many times in the last two decades, I can readily confirm the hazard faced shortly after landing. Slowing the big jet to a safe taxiing speed is demanding enough, but you are faced with holding short of another active runway used for take-offs in a surprisingly short space.

The added room between runways with the associated parallel taxiway has definitely reduced the high number of runway incursions on the south runway complex. If safety is “Priority One” at LAX, then I’d say most airline pilots would be in favor of doing the same on the north side. I know I am.”

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