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Airport OKs 10th Airline; Gee Revives Veto Debate

Times Staff Writer

The Burbank Airport Authority on Monday approved a request by a 10th airline to begin service from the airport amid a continuing squabble over the authority’s power to expand airport services.

The commissioners accepted a request by Aero West Airlines Inc. of Las Vegas, operating as Royal West Airlines, to begin flying between Burbank and Las Vegas on May 29. The airline plans 50 landings and takeoffs a week, flying 91-passenger British Aerospace 146 jets, which airport spokesman Victor Gill called the quietest jetliners in existence.

Commissioner Margie Gee on Monday continued to protest an earlier agreement allowing United Airlines to operate from the airport. That led Robert Garcin, president of the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority, to challenge the City of Burbank to file a lawsuit against the authority.

Gee, a commissioner who backs anti-noise groups, questioned whether the authority should accept another airline. The authority’s legal counsel has ruled that, to avoid a conflict of interest, Gee should not vote on issues affecting airport noise, since she is a plaintiff in a noise suit against the airport.

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Says Vote Is Needed

Gee has conducted a running battle against the authority’s decision allowing United service, which will begin May 1.

Gee protested Monday that the authority had never taken a vote on admitting United. Garcin said such a vote would be pointless because the authority is bound by federal court rulings to accept as a tenant any airline meeting aircraft noise and safety standards.

Gee tried to revive a claim that, on some issues, including those that would increase aircraft noise, the authority’s actions must be approved by a majority of nine commissioners--three from each of the founding cities--and a majority of commissioners within each city’s delegation.

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Gee’s interpretation of the 1977 act by the state Legislature that established the authority would in effect give each delegation a veto over the decisions of the authority.

Garcin noted that the authority’s legal counsel had already rejected Gee’s interpretation of the act. But the Burbank city attorney’s office, at the request of the Burbank delegation--Gee, Leland Ayers and Mayor Mary Lou Howard--has upheld the existence of the “city veto.”

Challenges City to File Suit

Pressed by Gee on Monday, Garcin continued to refuse to recognize the validity of the veto, but asked the other two members of the Burbank delegation if they wanted to record objections to the agreement with United.

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Howard objected.

“Fine. I anticipate the necessary lawsuit to follow it up,” Garcin replied, continuing to reject the “city veto” interpretation and challenging Burbank to sue the authority to enforce its view.

Ayers then joined Howard and Gee, saying a lawsuit may be needed to settle the issue “once and for all.”

Howard said Burbank favors further study of the issue and has “no desire to get into a lawsuit.” After the meeting, Howard said she would place the issue before the Burbank City Council.

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