The Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners approved a contract Monday, June 2nd, to purchase nine compressed-natural-gas-fueled buses for use on additional routes that are currently under development in the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) FlyAway Program.

The $4.8 million contract was awarded to North American Bus Industries of Anniston, Alabama.

By purchasing the buses at this time, Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) will have the flexibility to quickly and efficiently provide new FlyAway Program service when routes presently under development become viable, airport officials said.

Delays would likely occur when starting up new service with contractor-provided buses. LAWA, the city agency that operates LAX, has applied for federal and state grants totaling $2.8 million to offset part of the cost of the vehicles.

There are currently three FlyAway routes in service — Van Nuys, Westwood and Union Station. The new buses will operate 20 to 24 hours per day, seven days a week and have a projected service-use life of approximately 12 years. Last year 1.3 million passengers used the service across the three routes.

LAWA continues to convert its vehicle fleets at LAX, LA/Ontario International, LA/Palmdale Regional and Van Nuys airports to alternative-fuel use. There are presently more than 600 alternative-fuel vehicles, or more than 60 percent, in the airport department’s vehicle fleet.

In a related matter, the Airport Commission approved a request for proposals to solicit for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of a public-access compressed natural gas fuel station. It would be located on airport-owned property near the intersection of Airport Boulevard and Arbor Vitae Street in Westchester.