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Drought means no water cannons at LAX ceremony for Saudi airline

Drought means no water cannons at LAX ceremony for Saudi airline
Fire department water cannons give a Virgin Australia Airlines Boeing 777 a celebratory shower as it taxis to the terminal after touching down on its inaugural flight from Sydney to Los Angeles in 2009. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Saudi Arabian Airline is scheduled to begin new service from Los Angeles International Airport to Saudi Arabia later this month, an occasion that is customarily celebrated with an elaborate ceremony on the tarmac and in the terminal.

For example, when Emirates Airline debuted in December daily service between LAX and Dubai, the airlines taxied the A380 plane to the gate under a shower of water from the airport fire trucks' water cannons.

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But with California in its worst drought in modern times, LAX officials told Saudi Arabian Airline that they'll have to make do without the water cannons for the celebration of the new service.

Instead, LAX firefighters and their rigs will line up on the tarmac, with the firefighters saluting as the first plane rolls past, officials said.

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