Palmdale Regional Airport
Los Angeles World Airports
Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) is the owner of four Airports in Los Angeles County: Los Angeles International, Ontario, Van Nuys, and Palmdale Regional. In the 1960's, as the Los Angeles area began to grow very rapidly, LAWA began to plan for the future. In 1970, LAWA began to purchase raw land in the east Palmdale area, with the long term goal of someday building an international airport. Aware, that in congested cities, there is strong opposition to airport building and expansion, LAWA viewed the Palmdale area as the airport location of the future: plenty of affordable land, with little or no resistance to an airport. Today, LAWA owns over 17,000 acres in the east Palmdale area, which is located on Plant 42 grounds.
LAWA and Plant 42
History of Palmdale Regional Airport
In 1971, LAWA opened up the existing Palmdale Regional Airport terminal.Over the years, commercial air service has been intermittent, with the last carrier, United Express, shutting down air service at Palmdale, due to a lack of market demand, in April of 1998. In 1989, LAWA and the US Air Force entered into a Joint Use Agreement allowing for commercial air service from Plant 42. The Agreement, which is in force until the year 2017, allows for 50 operations per day, with an operation being one landing or one take off If warranted, this Agreement has provisions in it which allow for up to 400 operations per day. If and when a commercial air carrier wants to utilize Palmdale Regional, they could do so almost immediately.
LAWA's Plan for Regional AirportsLAWA's Marketing Efforts
LAWA officials are well aware of the growth problems faced at LAX. Southern California air traffic is expected to double over the next 20 years. It is the plan of LAWA and Los Angeles city officials, to take current LAX air traffic, and over time, disperse it to other regional airports, i.e. Ontario and Palmdale. This will not only reduce air traffic, but also traffic on the ground in and around the LAX area. This strategy is represented in the current (2003) LAX Master Plan, which also involves several changes and upgrades to LAX. One strategy to begin the dispersal of air traffic, is to redirect air cargo traffic from LAX to regional airports. This is already being done to the Ontario Airport. Although it will be many years away, LAWA does have the necessary acreage in east Palmdale to some day build an international airport. The reopening of Palmdale Regional Airport, and the building of a new larger international airport, will be based upon planning and market forces.
LAWA is engaged in marketing and actively seeking an air carrier to reinstate passenger service at Palmdale Regional Airport. LAWA has already spent $1M on rehabbing Palmdale Regional Airport in anticipation of the return of commercial air service. The events of Sept 11th, 2001 were a major set back to marketing efforts that were ongoing at the time. At airports around the world, priorities shifted from growth to security. Commercial airlines around the world lost billions of dollars, as the talk of growth changed to survival. The events of September 11th, on a global basis, caused the worst down turn in the history of commercial aviation.
In November of 2002, the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners hired URS Corp. of San Francisco, to draw up a master plan of the area in and around the Palmdale Regional Airport. This master plan will be specific to the ongoing development of Palmdale Regional Airport and will chart it's course over the next 25 years.
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