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Audit finds improvements at L.A. airports

December 16, 2008 |  2:53 pm

Lax2 A new audit of Los Angeles World Airports found that its management and operations have improved during the last decade, but significant challenges remain related to emergency preparedness, spreading the future growth in air travel from busy LAX to regional airports, and Van Nuys Airport, which has lost money for more than a decade.

The 525-page report, which was released today, states that Los Angeles World Airports needs to work with airlines and other airports to place more flights at regional airports, such as Ontario International Airport, Bob Hope in Burbank, Long Beach Airport, and John Wayne Airport in Orange County.

Such a regionalization policy is designed to relieve congestion at LAX and reduce environmental impacts around the airport.

Auditors concluded that LAWA needs to develop a comprehensive emergency preparedness plan that coordinates the response of police, airport operations, the airlines and federal security agencies, especially at LAX, which has been identified as a potential target for terrorists. In addition, the report recommends that emergency operations centers be installed at LAX, Ontario and Van Nuys, because the current police dispatching system does not meet the intent of federal guidelines.

The audit found that Van Nuys Airport receives millions of dollars in subsidies every year from Los Angeles World Airports, although it is the busiest general aviation facility in the world. Researchers recommended that landing fees be charged at the airport and that contracting out airport management to a private company be considered. Los Angeles World Airports has 3,800 employees and operates Los Angeles International Airport, Ontario International Airport, Palmdale Regional Airport and Van Nuys Airport.

The audit by KH Consulting Group based in Los Angeles cost almost $700,000 and surveyed thousands of employees, stakeholders and citizens interested in local airports. The review addressed a vast range of issues involving aviation trends, airport operations, planning, financial management, environmental policies, emergency preparedness and public safety.

-- Dan Weikel