Council panel may monitor safety issues in LAX terminal expansion


Reacting to the concerns of air traffic controllers, Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl said Tuesday that he wants a council committee to monitor the efforts to resolve any safety issues that might arise from the new design of the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX.

Rosendahl presented a motion at the City Council meeting, requesting that Los Angeles World Airports report to the Trade, Commerce and Tourism Committee, which oversees Los Angeles International Airport.

“Safety is our No. 1 concern at LAX all the time,” said Rosendahl, who is the committee’s vice chairman and whose district includes the airport. “I respect the people in the control tower. Their issues need to be discussed.”


The LAX chapter of the National Air Traffic Controllers Assn. is concerned that the design for the $1.5-billion renovation of the Bradley terminal will block busy taxiways, ramps and gates from the direct view of controllers.

The remodel, a centerpiece of the airport modernization plan, includes about a million square feet of additional space, a grand central hall, two new concourses and gates on the west side of the terminal. The height of the roofline ranges from five to nine stories, higher than the current building.

Airport officials say sophisticated radar, closed-circuit television cameras, relocation of a taxiway and installation of observation facilities to monitor gates and ramps should eliminate any problems.

To maintain good visibility west of the Bradley, the controllers association has suggested the construction of a second control tower — an approach used at other airports. Dallas-Fort Worth International has three towers, while O’Hare International in Chicago has two and is planning a third.

Unless adequate solutions are found, association officials contend, the rebuilt Bradley could complicate air traffic control and lead to safety and efficiency problems when moving aircraft.

Though the project has been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration, the agency plans to convene another evaluation panel in the next few weeks to study all aspects of the renovation. It would include the FAA’s air traffic and airport divisions, the controllers association, pilots and LAX officials.


Rosendahl’s motion is scheduled to be discussed by the Trade, Commerce and Tourism committee in the weeks ahead. If passed, it will go before the City Council for a vote. The committee has oversight responsibilities for the airports agency.