LAX officials to present north field safety report in January

Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles airport officials agreed Monday to report to the city’s Board of Airport Commissioners in January about whether they can expedite an environmental study on how to reconfigure the north airfield at LAX to reduce close calls between planes on the ground.

Referring to a federal report released this month that found that Los Angeles International Airport led the nation in such incidents this decade, commissioners voiced frustration at the delay in determining how to improve the two parallel runways on the airport’s north side.

Pilots land on the outer runways and sometimes violate the safety zone around the inner runway, where planes take off, as they make their way to the terminals on taxiways. Some community activists have suggested having planes land on the inner runway and take off on the outer one, but airport officials presented findings Monday that such a change probably would not help improve safety but would increase noise and pollution in neighboring communities.

Commissioners also suggested that airport staff members determine whether they can conduct engineering work and other construction-preparation activities while the environmental study is underway. They also suggested working with the FAA to speed the hiring of more air traffic controllers and the installation of lights on runways to alert pilots when runways are occupied.