Wow! A really interesting projection of the number of air travelers through SoCal airports over the next 20 years just came out via a South California Association of Governments planning committee. The LA Times has a story on this just as we are about to head out through the new International Terminal tomorrow for the start of our Cook Islands trip. Read that story and see how you feel after we get through security. Would you like to be flying with almost 50% more people moving in, out, and around you?
The forecast represents at least a 55% increase in air travelers since 2013, but the estimate is significantly less than the prediction of 170 million annual passengers by 2030 that the association made more than a decade ago….
…The projections for other major airports in the region indicate that the Burbank Airport will have 6.3 million to 7.3 million passengers a year by 2040; Long Beach 5 million to 6.2 million; LA/Ontario International 7.2 million to 19 million; and John Wayne Airport in Orange County 9.6 million to 13.8 million….
[SCAG] Committee members were particularly interested in how long Los Angeles World Airports, which operates LAX, would honor the 2006 court settlement with airport neighbors that set a cap of 78.9 million annual passengers but expires in 2020. The agreement stemmed from a lawsuit challenging the airport redevelopment plan of former Mayor James Hahn.
Airport officials declined to comment in detail about the forecast, but said they would develop LAX in an “environmentally friendly” manner.
Another meeting to approve the forecasts could be scheduled for as early as Aug. 20.
The 100-million-travelers forecast is important for LAX, which has surpassed its previous record of 67.3 million passengers set in 2000. The growth combined with new airport construction is already causing heavy traffic congestion in the terminal area during peak travel times and has raised concerns that surrounding city streets will become inadequate in the future.
Trips around the terminal area can take up to 30 minutes, and traffic on the westbound 105 Freeway often backs up from the 405 Freeway to Sepulveda Boulevard, one of the main roads to the airport.
“Lately, LAX has been handling 70,000 to 80,000 cars a day in the central terminal area. There were 200,000 cars a day on Thanksgiving,” Robert Acherman, vice president of the Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion, told the committee. “If the airport is expanded, every day will be like Thanksgiving Day.”
LAX officials say that congestion will be reduced in the future by proposed modernization projects such as an automated people-mover, a light-rail line to the airport and a transportation center to be used by shuttles and buses that will no longer be allowed to go into the terminal area.