$6.4bil investment programme at LAX adds to attractiveness for Gulf carriers

Published October 13th, 2010 - 09:37 GMT
Los Angeles International Airport
Los Angeles International Airport

A $6.4 billion program of investment in new facilities, including a new terminal opening in 2012, adds to Los Angeles International Airport's (LAX) increasing attraction as a destination for international airlines, including the fast-growing Gulf carriers, said Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) officials at a media briefing in Dubai today.

The airport is already experiencing significant growth, adding nearly 150 international weekly flights during the last three years, including Emirates' daily nonstop service from Dubai, which goes to twice-daily from 31 October. International passenger traffic at LAX is up almost 760,000 passengers during the last 12 months.

LAWA officials said the airport offered many benefits to Gulf carriers, including access to one of America's strongest State economies, one of the world's largest inbound tourism markets and a large Arab-American population.

Gina Marie Lindsey, Executive Director, Los Angeles World Airports, said: "We believe these are compelling reasons to increase the number of flights from the Gulf. The success of Emirates' flights so far shows the strength of this market and we look forward to welcoming more carriers from this region in the future.

"Our investment in the new Bradley West Terminal, which opens in 2012, adds to those attractions. Sixteen new gates, nine of which are 'new generation' able to handle the new Airbus A380, will boost our capacity, with fantastic facilities for arriving and departing passengers."

LAWA, the Los Angeles City department that owns and operates LAX and two other Southern California airports, hosted the media briefing during a delegation visit to the Gulf, during which it is meeting with representatives of the region's major airlines.

"We continuously engage in dialogue with current and potential airline partners from around the world, updating them on developments at our airports. The Gulf is obviously one of the most exciting regions in aviation today, with some of the fastest-growing airlines in the world," said Ms Lindsey.

"It is also fantastic to see the investment plans of the airports here and to have the chance to compare notes with the region's operators."

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is the seventh busiest airport in the world, offering more than 565 daily flights to 81 destinations in the U.S. and over 1,000 weekly nonstop flights to 66 international destinations on over 75 carriers. LAX is part of a system of three Southern California airports – along with LA/Ontario International and Van Nuys general aviation – that are owned and operated by Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), a department of the City of Los Angeles.

Since 2007, LAX has seen more new international flights than any other U.S. airport, except for New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK).

Emirates introduced nonstop service between Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and LAX in November 2008, with three weekly flights utilizing 266-seat Boeing 777-LR (long range) aircraft. Within seven months, Emirates began daily departures and, 24 months later, the airline announced its intention to offer twice daily service starting Oct. 31.

During the past three years, 12 airlines, including four carriers that had not served LAX before (Airberlin, Emirates, Volaris and V Australia) began nonstop service to overseas destinations. In addition to Emirates, this list included Air New Zealand, Airberlin, Alitalia, Copa Airlines, Delta Airlines, Korean Airlines, Volaris Airlines, United Airlines, V Australia,, Virgin America and West Jet.

Five additional airlines (including Turkish Airlines that has not served LAX before) announced they will begin daily services from Los Angeles to new markets during the next few months or will increase service on existing route, including All Nippon Airways, Delta Airlines, Emirates, Turkish Airlines and Iberia.

Possible new international service includes American Airlines, which has applied to the U.S. Department of Transportation to operate daily nonstop flights to Shanghai, China, beginning April 5, 2011.

Excluding the flights to Shanghai, these airlines represent an increase of 148 weekly international flights at LAX since 2007, of which 82 weekly flights serve transoceanic routes using wide-body aircraft.

According to a 2007 study by the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation -- an organization responsible for attracting, retaining and increasing businesses and jobs in Los Angeles County -- one daily, transoceanic wide-body flight to/from LAX generates an estimated $623 million in economic output annually, and sustains 3,120 direct and indirect jobs in Southern California with annual wages of $156 million. According to officials, the international air service introduced during the past three years now generates $10.7 billion annually in economic benefits to the Southern California region. 


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