Airport Director Decrees Nearly 22% Increase In Large Aircraft Flight Slots, Says Noise Data Compel It Under Airport Ordinance; See Mgm't Memo is reader and advertiser supported. Support independent news in LB similar to the way people support NPR and PBS stations. We're not non-profit so it's not tax deductible but $49.95 (less than an annual dollar a week) helps keep us online.

(December 1, 2015) -- Following up on a story was first (again) to report last week, LB Airport management says it will authorize a nearly 22% increase in available flight slots -- nine more flight slots added to the current daily 41 for a total of up to 50 large commercial take offs and landings per day -- for large commercial aircraft (over 75,000 pounds), citing noise data it says compel the change.

Airport management and the City Attorney's office have agendized a Dec. 8 City Council "study session" to discuss the change...but management's action doesn't require Council voted approval; management cites its authority to increase flight slots under LB's Airport ordinance when collective noise has decreased. LB's Airport ordinance is considered one of the most progressive in the country for allowing flights to increase as collective noise decreases. hasn't had an opportunity to fully review the memo; we provide it in full as breaking.

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Long Beach Airport management re increased flight slots

From the ordinance's inception in 1995 until now, Airport management determined that noise data allowed 41 slots for aircraft over 75,000 pounds...but Airport new management's calculations indicate the number offered should now be 50. The memo leaves open the possibilities of adding more slots...or reducing them. "The assumptions [used] are very conservative; however, if the assumptions made regarding aircraft type require modification based on the airline/aircraft type requesting the additional flight slots, the number of flight slots available for allocation will be adjusted accordingly. In addition, in the event the Airport Director determines that the allocation of additional flights has resulted in Air Carrier cumulative noise in excess of the Air Carrier noise budget, and that overall aircraft noise exceeds the level allowed by the Noise Ordinance, the Director will revoke the flight slots allocated in order to achieve compliance with the Air Carrier noise budget."

Airport management's memo doesn't mention, and its action is technically independent of, a July 2015 Council action (6-3, Supernaw, Uranga and Austin dissenting) that authorized Airport and City management to hire a firm(s) of their choosing to produce a report on the feasibility of adding a federal inspection (customs) facility that would allow international operations. Internal Airport documents obtained and reported by in mid-2014 using the CA Public Records Act show that during 2013, LB's former Airport Director actively pursued the possibility of adding a customs facility, working closely with JetBlue Airways.

If the City Council were ultimately to allow such a federal inspection facility, it couldn't be limited only to JetBlue...and could allow any number of international operators -- passenger and cargo -- to seek LB's limited flight slots. Until Airport management's latest action, LB had 41 large aircraft flight slots, all of which are currently filled, mainly by JetBlue (which reduced its 2015 LB Airport operations for what it says were economic and scheduling reasons.)



Internal Airport documents show that in June and November 2013, Airport management advised now-former Mayor Foster, then-Councilmembers (including now-Mayor Garcia) and city management of activities regarding a federal customs facility via non-public memos; entering the 2014 election cycle, the actions weren't publicly disclosed by any incumbents. JetBlue reps were more candid, publicly indicating in response to media inquiries in early 2014 that they'd like to see international flights. After a new Mayor and new Council took office, JetBlue made a formal request in February 2015 that the City and Airport seek a federal customs facility, a discretionary policy action on the Council's part.

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In February 2015, former LB Airport Advisory Commission member (and current City Prosecutor) Doug Haubert testified to the Airport Advisory Commission that in his view, enabling international flights could create an entirely new category of risk to the City's protective ordinance. Any operator within an entirely new category of potential LB Airport operators -- international cargo or passenger -- might seek flight slots that might not be available. If so, a dissatisfied operator might sue to strike down the protective ordinance.

The City's Airport ordinance protects the City and its neighborhoods from unlimited numbers of flights at all hours on all runways. if a court were to strike down the ordinance, the City would lose its current ability to protect itself and its neighborhoods from unlimited flights at all hours of the day and night on all runways at its Airport.



Recent Airport-developments related coverage:

  • July, 2015: Includes ON-DEMAND Quick Launch AUDIO: HEAR IT: Council Votes 6-3 (Austin, Supernaw, Uranga dissenting) To Authorize City Mgr. To Proceed With Work Necessary [Mgt Memo Said Hire "Industry Expert"] To Determine Feasibility Of Fed'l Customs Facility At LB Airport; Fed'l Facility Would Allow Int'l Flights, Couldn't Be Limited To One Operator
  • Speakers opposed outnumbered supporters roughly two to one; half of speakers in support worked for or were associated with JetBlue
  • Councilwoman Mungo tells residents who voiced concern about their home values: "I want all of you to stay in the homes you're in, but quite frankly if you moved, the city would actually increase its property tax revenue" (hear audio)
  • Opponents cite Airport management-commissioned 2013 Economic Feasibility Study, performed without voted Council authority, charge City is pursuing new study because it didn't like results of first study

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