Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl has won unanimous support from the Los Angeles City Council to move forward with a new airport study that will consider safety on the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) north airfield and identify alternatives to moving runways north into the communities of Westchester and Playa del Rey.
The Los Angeles City Council voted 11-0 to approve Rosendahl’s motion that called for a new airport study to be conducted by an independent firm, with community input.
“The community deserves to know if there is truly a safety issue on the northern runways,” Rosendahl said. “If there is a real runway safety issue, I want to deal with it. And, in order to do so, I need an independent study with objective, concrete data. I am pleased that my council colleagues support this motion.”
Rosendahl submitted a council motion calling previous safety studies “highly suspect,” and requested that the city airport agency, Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), work with a panel of community representatives to select an objective firm to conduct a more comprehensive study that examines alternatives to runway movement.
The study is required to focus only on safety issues, recommend a range of potential solutions to any identified problems and specifically examine the feasibility of an “end-around” taxiway system.
Rosendahl has also called for consideration of a “one-runway” option that would eliminate runway incursions by replacing the two existing runways on the north with one wider runway, capable of seamlessly handling the larger aircraft of the future, such as the Airbus A380.
While that would reduce the total number of LAX runways to three, Rosendahl noted that London Heathrow Airport handles 69 million annual passengers, more than LAX, on only two runways.
Rosendahl, who submitted his motion June 6th, a day after moderating a town hall meeting attended by several hundred Westchester and Playa del Rey community members, said that he was pleased to see the swift approval of the motion.
“This new study needs to happen right now,” Rosendahl said. “LAWA has made bogus arguments about the need to move runways into our communities and we need a real study that examines healthy alternatives. I am very happy to see that we are able to get a new study under way and can move forward with disproving the myth that safety issues necessitate north runway movement.”
The motion calls on the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners to hire an independent firm or organization to conduct a comprehensive, objective study and analysis of north airfield safety issues, and examine the results of the study before releasing formal proposals for LAX modernization.
The motion says that the new safety study should be shaped by a community advisory group — the North Runway Safety Advisory Committee, to include representatives of the Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion (ARSAC); the Neighborhood Council of Westchester/ Playa del Rey; City Council District 11; Council District 8; Los Angeles County; the City of Inglewood; airport area congressional representatives; the greater Los Angeles business community; and the Airline Airport Affairs Committee.
Last month, Los Angeles World Airports released five reports discussing safety and operational efficiency on the LAX north airfield. Each concluded that the runways need to be moved at least 340 feet closer to the surrounding community.
Rosendahl condemned the airport-funded studies as “ludicrous, biased and unfounded.”