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Residents Angry as Airport Adds a Flight : Should Have Been Told of Federal Express Talks, Neighbors Say

Times Staff Writer

Some neighbors of Burbank Airport are angry that the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority has granted Federal Express permission to operate one flight per day from the airport beginning Aug. 7.

Tom Paterson of the Valley Village Homeowners Assn. in North Hollywood said the public should have been made aware of negotiations between the airport and Federal Express.

“It’s been kept very quiet,” Paterson said of the negotiations, adding that Federal Express “could have been kept out if there been public discussion about this from the beginning.”

Federal Express’ application to fly from the airport was unanimously approved by the authority on Monday. Company officials said that beginning Aug. 7 the carrier will dispatch a Boeing 727 each weeknight at 7 p.m. from Burbank to Memphis, Tenn., where packages handled by the carrier are sorted and forwarded.

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The airport handles a daily average of 65 jetliner departures.

Airport officials acknowledged that they had been negotiating with Federal Express for more than a year, but said they had no legal obligation to inform the public.

“We’re not operating in some park,” said Thomas Greer, director of Airport Services. “This is part of the national air transportation system. If Federal Express complies with the noise rules instituted by the authority, there’s no way the authority can keep them out.”

Burbank City Councilwoman Mary Lou Howard, who is on the airport board, said she was unconcerned by one daily flight by Federal Express, as long as the package carrier does not add more.

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Paterson said he plans to send a letter to Federal Express officials inviting them to meet with area homeowners next week to discuss flight patterns, aircraft safety and future plans.

“We want to find out what they’re up to, what their long-term plans are for Burbank,” Paterson said.

Richard Close of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Assn. said his group also would like to meet with Federal Express officials.

“At this point in time there’s no way we can keep them out,” Close said. “We don’t have the power to keep them out. We just want to work with them to be good neighbors because the fact is, every new airline at the airport creates new problems and safety risks.”

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Federal Express officials declined to comment on whether they would meet with the homeowners. “We’ve been approved by the airport authority, and that’s about all we can say,” said Armand Schneider, corporate spokesman for Federal Express.


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