(Sept. 3, 2004) -- A late arriving JetBlue flight made three attempts to land on shorter alternate runway 25R starting at approximately 11:01 p.m. on Sept. 2 (used because main diagonal runway was closed at 11:00 p.m. to accommodate LB Airport's ongoing rehab work) before ultimately diverting to LAX due to fog related visibility issues.
Alternate runway 25R, which aligns roughly with Monlaco Rd. in ELB on approach, is roughly 3/4 of a mile shorter than LB's main runway 30/12.
LB Airport spokeswoman Sharon Diggs-Jackson said safety is the paramount, overriding factor in whether an aircraft completes an approach and the decision is made by the pilot in consultation with the FAA tower.
"It's a good thing for everyone, in the air and on the ground, because the pilot makes the call and needs to be comfortable and the decision. The decision is out of concern for safety," Ms. Diggs-Jackson told LBReport.com. Ms. Diggs-Jackson added that the three approaches and subsequent circling to land are not considered unsafe maneuvers and did not involve sudden, last-moment steep ascents.
The reason for the late arrival is unclear, Ms. Diggs-Jackson said. Commercial carrier flights after 10:00 p.m. can be deemed violations of LB Airport's ordinance, and a trigger fine unless the carrier can cite specific excusable grounds (such as weather, unforeseeable mechanical reasons). Arrivals after 11:00 p.m. are automatic violations...but since the thrice-approaching flight didn't land (it was diverted), it's not immediately clear how it will be handled, Ms. Diggs-Jackson said.
As previously reported by LBreport.com, earlier on Sept. 2 at approximately 9:00 a.m., an American Airlines flight on approach to LB Airport's main runway 30 pulled up, ascended and made a second approach due in part to reduced visibility from fog. For safety reasons, it circled and rejoined the pattern for landing on the main runway.
The unusual late night-early morning summer fog on Sept. 2 gave way to reversed winds on the morning of Sept. 3, resulting in reversed operations on the main diagonal runway: large jet take-offs over Los Altos and at least one arriving flight over Bixby Knolls. Smaller aircraft takeoffs used reversed runway 25R (designated 7L).
On August 28, a JetBlue flight approaching over Los Altos pulled up and circled around for a second approach because some other aircraft downwind was experiencing radio failure, a precautionary action for safety purposes the FAA told LBReport.com. That action was precautionary and not related to any problem involving the JetBlue aircraft. That JetBlue flight landed without incident at LGB about five minutes later.