Airport Holiday Parking Crisis Averted

Times Staff Writer

The threatened holiday parking shortage at the Burbank Airport ended before it began.

The start of construction work on parking aprons for jetliners, which it was feared would eliminate 617 automotive parking spaces, has been postponed until at least January, an airport spokesman said Monday. In addition, the airport's directors approved the purchase of land for more parking spaces.

The airport still will lose about 300 to 350 parking spaces, due to safety changes mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration. But the shortage will occur next spring, not during the holiday travel crush between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, said airport spokesman Victor J. Gill.

The airport is under orders from the FAA to change its layout because its 55-year-old terminal building is too close to the runways to meet modern safety regulations. As a temporary measure--until a new passenger terminal with a parking structure for 4,000 to 5,000 cars can be constructed in three to five years--the airport must build new aprons for jetliners, moving them away from the eastern end of the east-west runway.

617 Parking Spaces Lost

The eight aprons, where jetliners will park while loading and unloading passengers, will be built at a cost of $4.9 million on land now used for 617 parking spaces between the terminal and Hollywood Way.

"Seeing that we were coming up on Christmas, that was an additional factor," Gill said.

The Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority also voted unanimously to approve purchase from the Lockheed Corp. for $2 million of a 4.4-acre lot across Hollywood Way from the airport entrance. Gill said Lockheed and airport administrators had agreed on the sale in principle and the papers would probably be signed within a week.

Part of the lot has about 250 parking spaces, now used by the airport for employee parking and for public parking when all airport-owned lots are filled. In purchasing the lot, the airport also will acquire space for an additional 250 cars. Although about 150 to 200 spaces will probably still be used by employees, the rest of the 500-car lot will help offset the loss of the 617 spaces which will be converted to jetliner aprons during the early part of next year, Gill said.

The projected loss of parking spaces is a serious financial matter for Burbank Airport, which makes more money from passenger parking than from any other single source. Of last year's revenues of $11 million, $4.2 million came from fees paid for the airport's 3,100 parking spaces.

Income Loss Feared

When the elimination of 617 parking spaces was first announced, airport administrators estimated they would lose about $1.5 million in annual income.

With the new lot--located close enough to the terminal to command top fees--"we might possibly get more than a million of that back," Gill said.

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