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Airport Plan Elicits Praise, Expansion Fears

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A proposed new terminal for Burbank Airport was praised by some speakers at a public hearing Thursday as essential for safety, but others complained that it will bring more aircraft traffic and noise.

The hearing in Burbank was called to gather information from the public on whether a new terminal should be built, how big it should be and where it should be located.

KPMG Peat Marwick, a San Francisco-based airport consulting firm, will use the results in preparing an environmental impact report on the proposed terminal. The report is expected to be completed in about a year.

Opposition to airport expansion came largely from Burbank residents south of the airport and from North Hollywood residents west of the runways.

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“There should be a cap on this airport,” said Wally Berns of Burbank, president of the Burbank Flatlanders, complaining that airport noise is “tough to live with now.”

Margie Gee, a longtime airport critic and former member of the airport’s governing board--the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority--scoffed at suggestions by airport officials that a new terminal would make the airport safer.

“When you add cars to the freeway, does that make a highway safer?” she said.

In a statement read by an aide, Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-Panorama City) said he supports a new terminal because “the existing facility is both inadequate and unsafe.” But, Berman’s statement said, the terminal alternatives under study demonstrate a desire by airport officials to “expand to a size detrimental to the community’s well-being.”

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The leading candidate among sites under consideration appears to be the airport’s northeast corner, where Lockheed Corp. is selling off a large chunk of land as part of its move out of Burbank.

Also being studied are two split-terminal plans under which parking and ticket sales areas would be located on one side of the airport and passengers would travel underground to board airliners.

The Federal Aviation Administration has been pressuring the airport authority, which owns the airport, to construct a new terminal because the present building, opened in 1930, is closer to runways than modern safety regulations allow.

In a preliminary report in November, Peat Marwick predicted that a massive new terminal will be needed to handle passenger volume that will double within 15 years and double again by 2015.

The airport, served by six airlines, had a record 3.4 million passengers in 1990, largely because of a fare war triggered in April by Southwest Airlines. To meet the expected demand, the consultants said, the airport will need a new $250-million terminal with 34 boarding gates, more than twice the present 15. They also said it will need more than 17,000 parking spaces, almost five times the current 3,500.


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