Los Angeles approves $4.76b airport expansion

Washington DC
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The Los Angeles city council approved a $4.76 billion improvement programme for Los Angeles International airport (LAX), including a controversial relocation of the airport's northernmost runway.

The multi-year investment programme includes relocating runway 6L/24R 79.2m (260ft) north of its current location, a new terminal and midfield concourse, a metro or people mover connection to the terminals as well as numerous other airside and landside improvements. The council approved the plans on 30 April.

The project is seen as critical to improving safety, especially for large aircraft like the Airbus A380, and access, as well as maintain LAX's competitive edge, according to the final environmental impact report by airport operator Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA).

"Airfield improvements at LAX that support the safe and efficient operation of large aircraft, which are the predominant aircraft type used for international travel, would help maintain LAX's position as the international gateway to Southern California," writes LAWA in the report. "Ground access improvements are also considered to be supportive of this objective."

The programme is not without opposition. The local Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion, which opposes the project, says that it will go to court to stop the expansion, according to local reports.

Previous LAX expansion projects have been halted by lawsuits, delaying expansion and improvements to the airport for years.

The city of Los Angeles board of commissioners approved the expansion plan in February.