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Platform : ‘Make LAX More User-Friendly’

<i> Compiled for The Times by James Blair, Rip Rense and Trin Yarborough</i>

Los Angeles has won the battle with the airlines over landing fees, meaning millions of dollars for capital improvements at LAX. Some frequent users of the airport have their own ideas as to how the new revenue should be used.

ED TSUJI

President, HKR Hikari Scissor Factory, Gardena

I’ve seen a lot of airports, and I think LAX is one of the best in the country as far as convenience, well-planned access and being able to find your way around. By contrast, a lot of East Coast airports are really confusing.

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If money from increased fees becomes available, I’d like to see it spent on two things: ensuring that LAX has the best security available and encouraging everyone at the airport--baggage handlers, clerks, shuttle drivers--to be consistently friendly and helpful when dealing with the public. The LAX skycaps have a really great attitude, and I’d like to see everyone at the airport develop the same consistently terrific approach.

The Chicago airport has an excellent high-tech security system that includes videotaping everyone who checks in, and maybe LAX could have such a system.

SAMUEL SCHMIDT

Prime Time Shuttle driver, Studio City

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The No. 1 problem that we really see at the airport is the tremendous amount of traffic. It makes a very big hassle for commuters.

I would probably create new shuttles, open up the space more or promote some kind of public transportation services so the people get out of their cars and start using buses and taxis and shuttles. I see this problem every day, and it takes sometimes 15 minutes to get to the terminal after I arrive at the airport! I’ve got a lot of unhappy passengers.

I’m not in favor of banning private cars, but I’m in favor of requiring ride-sharing. You know, like you have to have two or three passengers in a car to drive on the diamond lane? I’d probably do something similar to the airport.

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AL PREGLER

Commercial pilot since 1948; Airline Pilots Assn. safety coordinator, Fullerton They need a full-length lighting system at the ocean end of the airport for night approaches. That involves several million dollars to extend the light piers out there, strobes, and so-forth, and they need them on all four runways. Of course, all the night approaches, or 95% of them, are made from that direction because of the noise situation. They also need--this has been promised for years--a recording anemometer, which tells you what the wind situation is when you’re coming in over the ocean. The max tail wind you can land an airplane with is 10 knots.

RICHARD SMITH

Manager of business development, Turner Construction Co., Marina del Rey

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Our company was the construction manager for the new Terminal 2 at LAX, and we’ve done construction projects for several different airlines there.

The public areas in some of the terminals could be updated. Security could be improved. And a great idea for the airport would be to get a “people-mover” like they have at the Dallas-Ft. Worth airport.

LT. HOWARD WHITEHEAD

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Watch commander, Los Angeles Airport Police Bureau

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Naturally, our main focus would be on things needed by the police bureau. Like any department, normally it’s equipment and training. From my perspective, our bureau (does well) as far as training; but there are areas we could stand more training (in).

We’d all like (newer) equipment. We’re better off than some of the other departments; but there are still upgrades of equipment we’d like to have. Our station is going through an expansion. We would like to see more money to complete the process.

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AL HASSAN

Theatrical road manager, Reseda

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I’ve flown into every major airport (and) honestly, LAX is pretty good. I hate going to the airport, traveling is a pain; but once I get there, the atmosphere is really very nice. If you go from one carrier to another, those buses seem to come every two minutes.

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Security is always there. They haven’t had an incident in some time. If (anyone tries) to double park, there’s (an officer) there in 30 seconds.

What can they do (if they get the money)? It costs $16 a day to park. If they get $46 million from the airlines, they might be able to lower that.

JOANNE OWENS

Travel agent, Santiago Canyon,

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Orange County

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We should update the lighting system there and add some more traffic controllers. They have the most stressful jobs in the world.

Also, I’d like to see them make the arrival area for international travelers look more appealing. It doesn’t have to have a fancy super cosmopolitan ultra-modern design. It just needs to look tasteful.

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I’m from England, and in the London airport as soon as you clear customs you see a tourist booth with maps and pamphlets about hotels and stores and tourist attractions. It would be beneficial to Los Angeles to give out pamphlets like that to people arriving. And it could persuade people who come on business to come back again on their next vacation.


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