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    Guest Opinion

    Jensen: Too Big, Too Risky

    Terry Jensen describes himself as "an 8th Council district resident concerned about maintaining an appropriate balance between business growth and the quality of life for neighborhoods." He is among the appellants who met for roughly six months with city staff in an effort to find common ground after five then-Councilmembers voted in June 2006 (against the advice of Mayor-elect Bob Foster) to certify a City Hall-proffered Environmental Impact Report (EIR) now serving as management's basis for expansion of LB Airport's permanent terminal area facilities. LBUSD and LB's PTA have separately challenged the EIR in court (the latter, prompting City Hall to break off negotiations with other appellants such as Mr. Jensen who didn't sue). Mr. Jensen says he plans to speak at the April 24 Council hearing at which Councilmembers are expected to vote on how large to make the expanded facility. His opinions are stated in his individual capacity, not presuming to speak for other appellants.

    (April 23, 2007) -- By any objective standard, the City of LB's consultants HOK and HNTB have programmed post security hold rooms, concessions and security and other terminal spaces, gates and parking positions with excess capacity.

    The assumptions used in their modeling and the resulting size recommendations could program a facility that will easily accommodate far more passengers and aircraft than the 4.2 MAP (million annual passengers) contained in the EIR. For example:

  • HOK and HNTB are increasing post security holdrooms and concessions by almost 40% when the additional commuter flights will only increase passenger counts by 20%

  • HOK and HNTB advocate doubling the size of the terminal despite indications the commuter flights will only increase passenger counts by 20%.

  • HOKs "EIR Design Day Departures" model forecasts from 890 to 1,250 which overstates need from 18% to 44%. Add three commuter flights per hour over five hours you add 120 actual passengers which indicates you only need to accommodate from 620 to 753 actual passengers in the peak hour when all 66 flights are taken.

  • HOK and HNTB overstate passenger counts by using a 90% load factor and state peak months have 95% to 100% load factors when LGB monthly reports for the busy months of June, July and August 2006 indicate a load factor of only 83%. LGB monthly reports and airline financial reports indicate the airlines struggle to maintain an 80% load factor.

  • The HOK and HNTB model uses 757 Aircraft with a seating capacity of 176 despite the fact the largest airplane currently used at LGB has a seating capacity of only 150.

  • The HOK and HNTB model overstate JetBlue passenger counts as the A320s flown by JetBlue have a 150 seat capacity NOT the 156 seat capacity used in their model.

  • The HOK and HNTB model overstates design day departures as they use 70 seat commuter aircraft when the CRJ2 which is used by the LGB tenants have a capacity of 50 passengers or 43% fewer than they assumed.

  • There are currently eight aircraft parking positions that could, in theory, accommodate an additional 30 flights. Adding two more positions could increase the capacity to 50 more flights. We do not need more parking positions!

    So, given our existing runway number and configuration, what happens if you build a terminal sized as HOK and HNTD wish? How many passengers could the new facility accommodate? How many flights could the runway and terminal accommodate?

    If you double the size of the terminal, as HOK and HNDB continue to advocate, one could easily extrapolate that their desired terminal could easily accommodate more than 3,000,000 enplaning passengers or over 6,000,000 total annual passengers.

    Such a capacity would be catastrophic to the maintenance of the integrity of our noise ordinance and the quality of life in our neighborhoods.

    It is my hope our City Council will realize if they approve a facility that contains overcapacity they will be making an irreversible, bad decision that has the potential of causing cause irreversible harm to the city for decades.

    It is my desire the Council will direct staff to place a reasonable cap on the size of the facility. We firmly believe a cap of 27,000 square feet for a common holdroom, post security concessions and security screening is more than adequate to provide suitable post security environment for our passengers.

    HOK is a talented firm and, without question, can design a facility that caps the post security to a maximum of 27,000 square feet while providing a beautiful, safe and efficient terminal for our tenants and passengers.

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