Burbank- Glendale-Pasadena Airport officials and a popular commercial
air service are not feeling united these days.
Four months after officials thought they had ironed out problems
with a United Airlines flight that was not con- forming to a
voluntary flight curfew, the problem appears to be taking off again.
Under the airport’s voluntary curfew, commercial flight operators
are asked to refrain from takeoffs and landings between 10 p.m. and 7
But beginning Monday, United flights from Burbank to San Francisco
are scheduled to depart at 6:47 a.m. daily, four minutes earlier than
the present departure time, according to an Airport Authority staff
The move by United has prompted the authority to send a letter to
the Chicago-based airline, urging the company to move the flight time
closer to 7 a.m.
“They are the ‘Bad Santa’ of the airlines that fly into Burbank,
because they have a flight that falls into the curfew hours,” Airport
Authority President Charles Lombardo said.
United spokesman Stephen Roth said that while the airline is
sensitive to airport curfews, the new takeoff times are prompted by
“United has tried to be as responsive as possible to the voluntary
curfews in place, while at the same time being responsive to the
travel needs of business people and leisure travelers in the
community,” Roth said.
The 6:47 a.m. departures, he added, are necessary because they
connect to a bank of flights in San Francisco bound for the East
Coast, Hawaii and the Pacific Northwest.
Airport officials say they hope the company will adhere to a “good
corporate citizen” policy by moving the flight departure time back to
6:51 a.m., which, when factoring in taxi time, means the plane will
take off at 7 a.m. or later.
“Restricting operations from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. respects the wishes
of our noise-sensitive community, and still provides aircraft
operators with necessary flexibility,” Airport Executive Director
Dios Marrero said in the letter. “A retreat from this practice by
United Airlines shows a lack of commitment to the community.”
City and airport officials sent letters to United in July asking
that it eliminate a 6:40 a.m. Sunday flight to San Francisco, which
the airline agreed to do in September.
At the time, United officials said they would continue to offer a
6:46 a.m. flight Monday through Saturday because of high demand. Now,
the airline is proposing a Sunday flight, which airport officials
find hard to stomach.
Lombardo said commis- sioners have asked the city of Burbank to
draft a letter to the airlines, and they will ask the cities of
Glendale and Pasadena to do the same.
“We don’t have the power of regulation, but we have the power of
persuasion,” Gill said.