Representatives of airlines using Burbank airport responded quickly and negatively Wednesday to the city’s proposal to end a bitter, long-running battle over airport growth.
The proposal, unveiled Tuesday by city officials, would provide for a new passenger terminal with only two more gates than the existing facility and would increase flights by just 10%.
“The plan is not acceptable to Southwest Airlines,” said John Chaussee, a senior manager for Southwest and chairman of an airport and airline affairs committee. “You need to plan a facility that’s large enough or expandable enough to meet future demand.”
Dennis E. Olson, director of properties for Alaska Airlines, was similarly unimpressed.
“You would almost be better off doing nothing if you’re going to have those limits,” Olson said.
Together, Southwest and Alaska account for about 70% of all commercial airline flights to and from Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport.
Burbank Mayor Bill Wiggins maintained that the city proposal will work because, in addition to allowing the increase in flights, it calls for major terminal improvements that would increase the airport’s efficiency.
The city plan calls for increasing the number of gates to 16--far fewer than the 19 to 27 gates in the airport’s expansion plan--in return for a nighttime curfew and the 10% cap on additional flights.
Airport officials defended their proposal, saying that a new terminal is needed for safety reasons and that more travelers already are using the facility.