Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Sunday, July 27, 2008
By Joe Stevens, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 07/26/2008 09:34:16 PM PDT
LONG BEACH - As the airline industry flies through turmoil, the Long Beach Airport is being affected, but instead of losing a major percentage of revenue like other airports, the main effect is the delay in plans to build a parking structure and renovate the terminal.
"Calling our plans `a process' is appropriate," Assistant Airport Manager Christine Edwards said. "Six months ago, I could give you a timeline on what we'd like to do. But the industry has changed so much during that time, that our situation has changed, too. We're going to have to be more deliberate and careful, understanding what the airlines are going through."
Earlier this month, Edwards addressed City Council and explained that building a new parking garage may require up to $65 million in bonds. But the exact cost is unknown because the garage is in the preliminary design phase.
Edwards also presented a plan to renovate and expand the L.B. Airport's terminal from 56,000 square feet to 90,000. To do that, it was estimated, would take between $50 million and $65 million in bonds.
The plan with the terminal is not as pressing as the parking garage because half of the airport's parking spots, about 2,300 spaces, are on Boeing property. Boeing is considering renovating those spots, but a plan to do that is not imminent.
Edwards is hoping to keep both the parking structure and terminal expansion plans moving forward, despite the expected delay.
"The next step with City Council would be a proposal to issue bonds," she said. "But that's at least six months away, and maybe 12 months away."
Beyond the parking structure and terminal changes, the Long Beach Airport is running relatively well because all 41 of its commercial flight slots have been filled and running since May. This is the first time all of those slots have been filled since the early 1990s.
It also is arguably the most efficiently the commercial slots have been running, because the aircraft in those slots average 140 passengers, which is more than the aircraft in the '90s.
Furthermore, JetBlue Airlines has 28 of the slots and has asked the airport for control of the other slots, if they become available. Last week, JetBlue announced it would cut flights from Ontario and Los Angeles International Airports. When it did that, a JetBlue representative reinforced to Edwards the importance of the L.B. Airport to the company and that it wouldn't be cutting flights.
One of the problems the airport is facing, though, is with its commuter slots. ExpressJet Airlines will be ending its branded flights as of Sept. 2 and will stop use of its six commuter slots that offer the only Long Beach flights to Reno/Tahoe, Fresno and Monterey. In essence, ExpressJet controls 8.8 percent of the flights out of Long Beach.
US Airways also recently told the L.B. Airport that it will relinquish its lone commuter slot in the fall. So there will only be five of 25 commuter slots filled in the fall, and all of those are controlled by Delta Air Lines.
"Because of the high cost of fuel, there's been a real shake-out with smaller aircraft," said Chris Kunze, the airport's interim director. "When there are planes that seat 50, it's hard to recover costs with how high fuel is. Still, I'm confident that we'll fill the commuter slots. The only question is whether it will be in two years, five years or 10 years."
Kunze is also the airport's former director. He retired from that post and moved into a part-time consulting role in January 2007. At that time, Christine Andersen took over the director's position, but she left last month to become the director of public works for the city of Santa Barbara.
Kunze says Edwards is a strong candidate to replace Andersen, and the city will conduct a national search for the position. The hope is that it is filled by November.
No matter who takes that airport job, though, that person is poised to lead a facility that continues to be busy.
"We're very confident that if any of our airlines in the commercial slots pulls out, that another airline would step in," Edwards said. "In the current market, maybe there is a concern that there could be a some time before that happens, but it will happen. The underlying market here is just so strong that airlines want to be here."
Friday, July 25, 2008
Tail numbers noted at Gulfstream: P4-TPS, CS-DKJ, CS-DKK, N490QS, 01-0030(US Air Force).
Thursday, July 24, 2008
By Andy Franks, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 07/23/2008 10:02:44 PM PDT
As JetBlue Airways announced cutbacks elsewhere in the Southland on Wednesday, the carrier said it had no such plans at Long Beach Airport, where it is the busiest airline.
The airline is pulling its only service flight from Ontario, a nonstop to John F. Kennedy International Airport, after Labor Day.
It's the second such cutback by a major airline in as many days. United Airlines, the second-busiest carrier at Los Angeles International Airport, announced Tuesday that it would slash about 20 percent of its Southern California schedule, or about 40 flights a day, including nonstop service to Frankfurt and Hong Kong.
Sharon Diggs-Jackson, a spokeswoman for Long Beach Airport, said that correspondence with JetBlue doesn't indicate a plan to cut services.
Sebastian White, a JetBlue spokesman, confirmed that, saying that a flight reduction for the airport would not be advantageous.
"We certainly have no plans to cut anything in Long Beach - it's not advantageous," he said. "Long Beach does great for us, and we're pretty committed to it."
The news also comes just weeks after ExpressJet, which offered Long Beach Airport's only flights to Reno/Tahoe, Fresno and Monterey, said it would cut its flights starting in September due to rising fuel costs.
JetBlue is currently the busiest airline at Long Beach Airport, using 28 of its 41 available daily flight slots, the maximum allowed at the airport.
The airline operates 10 exclusive flight destinations at Long Beach, including Las Vegas, New York and Oakland. In addition to its 28 contracted slots, the airline currently uses two underutilized Alaska Airline slots, which they accepted in early June to use through September.
Travel from Long Beach Airport has been "holding steady," according to Diggs-Jackson, seeing only a 4 percent decrease in passenger traffic for June, and saying that the next indicator will be post-Labor Day travel patterns.
In JetBlue's quarterly report on Tuesday, executives announced a "flat-growth" plan, with neither plans to expand nor cut services for the remainder of the year. JetBlue recently added a new route to Long Beach Airport from Portland, Ore., that will start in September.
JetBlue first came to Southern California when it added the flight at Ontario in 2000, with later additions at Long Beach Airport in 2001, San Diego International Airport in 2003 and Burbank's Bob Hope Airport in 2005.
JetBlue has expanded at the Long Beach and Burbank airports for years, and announced last February the introduction of several flights at LAX - 3 to JFK and 1 to Logan International Airport in Boston.
During a stockholder's meeting in May 2007, then JetBlue Chief Executive Officer David Neeleman actually cited Ontario, along with LAX, as a possible site for expansion in the region. Those plans, however, appear quashed.
The cutbacks will "have an economic impact on this region," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said. "We're making many improvements at the airport. Those airport improvements are funded by the airline industry, so to the extent that this is having an impact, it will have a reverberating impact across the board."
The mayor called JetBlue's decision to leave Ontario a "devastating blow." "The whole regionalization of the airport is predicated on us moving more traffic out toward Ontario Airport," he said. Ontario and LAX are operated by Los Angeles World Airports, a Los Angeles city agency.
In all, the Ontario Airport is expected to lose 37 percent of its flights in the fall, making it one of the nation's hardest hit by an industry-wide rush to cut flights amid soaring fuel costs.
JetBlue reported losses in its second quarter, along with United and American airlines, which totaled $7 million, compared with a year-ago profit of $21 million, or 11 cents per share.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Gulfstream G-IV(SP) N700NY arrived from SDM at 5:45pm and parked at Signature.
Gulfstream G450 N415QS was towed from Signature to Gulfstream at 3:55pm.
UPS brought in another 757 today. The plane arrived from SDF as UPS2916 at 5:24pm. The plane departed to RFD at 7:49pm as UPS909.
Gulfstream G-IV(SP) N7799T arrived at 6:48pm from MCO and parked at Airflite. The plane departed at 8:05pm headed to Kahului(PHOG) only to return 15 minutes later with fire and police standing by. Not sure what the problem was but he had to be going atleast 170kts when he touched down. He then taxied over to Airflite.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Continental Airlines 737-824(W) arrived as COA1901 from SEA at 8:25pm and parked at Signature. They dropped off the Cleveland Indians baseball team. The plane departed at 9:20pm as COA1933 to ONT.
Alaska Airlines MD-83 N977AS had a fuel leak on the left wing and did not depart and will remain overnight. MD-83 N944AS arrived at 9:20pm from SEA as AS548 and departed with the stranded passengers at 10:27pm as AS545 back to SEA.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
JetBlue Airways A320 N712JB "Enough about me....let's talk about blue" arrived at 7pm.
Tail numbers noted at Gulfstream: N797BD, N470QS.
Friday, July 18, 2008
On Thursday, July 24 and Saturday, July 26, there will be increased truck traffic along Spring Street, between Lakewood Blvd. and Redondo Ave., between the hours of 10:00 pm and 5:00 am.
**This information was supplied by Airport Public Affairs, please feel free to contact us at 562 570-2678, if you need additional details.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Article Launched: 07/15/2008 10:06:31 PM PDT
LONG BEACH - Planned terminal improvements and construction of a new parking garage at the Long Beach Airport shouldn't be impeded by airlines' financial woes nationally, city officials said Tuesday.
But officials said they are keeping an eye on the industry's cutbacks, and some council members warned against the city getting in over its fiscal head.
Assistant Airport Manager Christine Edwards presented the council with a report that says the city will have to raise passenger fees and parking rates if it is to finance bonds to pay for the projects.
Between $50 million and $65 million in bonds will be needed to expand the terminal from 56,320 square feet to 89,995 square feet as planned, the Airport Finance Overview report says.
Building the parking garage may require up to another $65 million in bonds, the report says.
However, the ultimate cost of the terminal and garage projects is still unknown because they are in the preliminary design phase, Edwards said.
"We don't know yet that this is the magic number," she said.
The report says that the airport's cost for each person who boards a plane would increase from $5 to between $9.50 and $11 to finance $50 million in bonds for the terminal construction. For a $65 million bond, the fee would increase to between $12 and $15, the report says.
To fund the new parking structure with up to another $65 million in bonds, parking rates would increase from $1 to $2 per hour, and from $17 to $19 daily in the existing parking garage, the report says. Once completed, the new parking structure would have a parking fee of $15 per day.
Edwards said that one of the airport's weaknesses is that JetBlue makes up 79 percent of the passenger market, which means if the airline should falter as many others have, the city could see airport revenues drop.
But, she said the airport is well positioned to attract other providers.
"If JetBlue went away, it would just be a matter of time" before other airlines moved in, she said.
In fact, JetBlue is expanding its operations, and is expected to announce today a new destination from Long Beach, Edwards said.
City Manager Pat West said he recognizes that the airline industry "is in a state of turmoil right now."
"We'll be taking that into consideration as we move forward," West said.
But while West and Edwards seemed confident that the airport project could move forward as planned, Councilwoman Rae Gabelich suggested officials should consider completing it in increments.
"I just encourage you and encourage everyone on this council to move extremely cautiously so that we don't find ourselves in a problem area," Gabelich said.
The introduction of JetBlue service to Long Beach also marks the debut of the airline's EMBRAER 190 aircraft in Portland. JetBlue is the first airline to serve Oregon with the E190, a quiet, fuel-efficient, and full-size 100-seat jet that offers travelers all of JetBlue's signature amenities: 36 channels of free live DIRECTV(r) programming, more than 100 channels of XM Satellite Radio(r), plus comfy leather seats (either an aisle or window, with no middle seat!), lots of legroom, unlimited free snacks and JetBlue's acclaimed customer service.
JetBlue's new service between Portland and Long Beach:
Portland, Ore. (PDX) to Long Beach, Calif. (LGB)
Long Beach, Calif. (LGB) to Portland, Ore. (PDX)
Depart - Arrive Depart - Arrive
7:30 a.m. - 9:45 a.m. 11:10 a.m. - 1:35 p.m.
(Daily eff. October 10) (Daily eff. November 2)
2:10 p.m. - 4:25 p.m. 5:05 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
(Daily eff. November 2) (Daily eff. October 9)
Portland customers traveling to destinations beyond Long Beach may take advantage of easy connecting service to seven additional cities including Austin, Tex.; Boston; Chicago (O'Hare); Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Las Vegas; New York (JFK); and Washington (Dulles). JetBlue also offers nonstop service to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.
"JetBlue's new nonstop service connecting PDX and Long Beach is a welcome addition for our community, as more than a million travelers fly each year between PDX and the L.A. Basin, making it our top travel destination," said David Zielke, Port of Portland general manager of air service development. "JetBlue has been a great partner with our community since May 2005."
"It's been three years since JetBlue launched our award-winning service to Portland, redefining the air travel experience while bringing humanity back to the skies," said Scott Laurence, JetBlue's director of route planning. "Today we're pleased to give our growing customer base in the Pacific Northwest premium low fare flights to L.A.'s most convenient airport."
Want to pull a plane? In just over one month from now, on Saturday, August 16, 2008, the Long Beach Airport will be hosting the 2nd Annual Special Olympics Plane Pull. This popular event is your opportunity to pull a 155,000 lb. FedEx 727-200 airplane on the airport's tarmac...while raising money for a worthy charity!
Let's see who can pull together the best team! Prizes (and bragging rights!) will be awarded for the strongest and fastest team...and the slowest!
Interested but unsure? Contact Maricela de Rivera, Airport Public Affairs Assistant, at (562) 570-2674 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
To register visit www.socalplanepull.com and click on "Register Now."
We look forward to seeing you there!
FAQ Q: I want to pull but don't have a team of 20, is there a way for me to participate?
A: Yes! You may sign-up on-line (www.socalplanepull.com) without joining a team. We will form teams from individuals that register.
Q: Do I have to pay $50 to enter?
A: The entry fee is $50 per team member (or $1000 for a team of 20 people), but you don't have to pay it yourself. You can fundraise the money! Ask co-workers, neighbors, etc.
Q: What does the Special Olympics of Southern California do with the money raised?
A: All proceeds benefit local Special Olympics activities. Visit www.sosc.org for more information.
Q: Is the donation tax-deductible?
A: Yes! All money raised is tax-deductible. Special Olympics of Southern California will provide you with a donation letter for tax purposes for you and/or those that contributed to the $50.
Q: Do I have to be an Airport employee or in law enforcement to join?
A: No, everyone in the community is welcome. Create teams of church members, work groups, sport teams, etc.
Q: Are there age or strength requirements?
A: No! All ages and people of various strength are encouraged to participate! Children 17 years old and younger will need to have a parent/guardian sign a waiver and be present throughout the Plane Pull.
Q: Do I need to take anything with me?
A: It's recommended that participants bring work gloves, athletic shoes and comfortable clothing. Food and beverages will be available for all participants.
Q: Can my friends and family come to cheer me on?
A: Yes, bring your friends and family to help you pull, or just to enjoy the festivities.
Q: What else can I do to help with this event?
A: Whether you're pulling in the event or not, there's plenty you can do to help.
For volunteer information contact Maricela de Rivera at (562) 570-2674 or email@example.com. For corporate sponsorship information contact Serena Boykin at (562) 354-2603 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
2 Marine FA-18C Hornets belonging to the VMFA-232 "Red Devils" arrived at 2:38pm and parked at Signature. They departed at 4pm.
Midwest MD-81 N804ME arrived from SAN at 3:15pm and parked at Signature. The aircraft was picking up presidential candidate Barack Obama and departed at 7pm headed for MDW.
Netjets 737 BBJ N129QS arrived from PAKT(Ketchikan) carrying about 15 guys who had gone fishing up in Alaska. The cargo in the belly of the aircraft was all fish that they had caught. The plane departed for DAL at 8:20pm.
Netjets Gulfstream G-IV N499QS departed for SMO at 5:40pm.
That assumes, however, passenger levels remain the same in the coming years. Eighth District Councilwoman Rae Gabelich has said in the past that she isn’t comfortable making that assumption.
However, that discussion will wait until next Tuesday. The report was scheduled to be presented at the July 8 City Council meeting, but three council members, including Gabelich, were absent.
Mayor Bob Foster held the item over for a week, and warned the council members to be prepared for a lengthy discussion. The representatives from the four even-numbered districts will be sworn in for a second term next week.
“I know some of you have some parties planned next Tuesday evening,” Foster said. “I just want to remind you that this is an important issue.”
Gabelich, who has fought what she characterizes as airport expansion for much of the last decade, requested the financing report in May as a condition of approval to increase the airport’s credit line enough to start final design of a new parking structure and preliminary design of terminal improvements. While the council has approved the plans in concept, it has retained the right to review all contracts and final plans.
Assistant airport manager Christine Edwards signed the staff report detailing the potential financing scenarios to complete construction at the airport. The report actually shows the airport’s debt capacity, Edwards said, because final costs for either the garage or the terminal project can’t be figured accurately until design is complete.
In order to provide a realistic number, formulas were developed to finance up to $65 million for each project. The assumption that there would be no change in current passenger traffic levels was paired with a 6% annual increase in operating costs.
To finance $65 million for the parking structure, hourly parking rates would double from $1 to $2 an hour, daily rates in the existing structure would go from $17 to $19 a day and the daily rate in the new structure would be $15 a day. The new structure would essentially replace the spaces now at the remote lot being leased from Boeing, where rates currently are $8 a day.
Financing of $65 million in bonds for terminal construction would be more complicated. Currently, the airport collects a cost per enplaned passenger (CPE) of $5. That is a combination of the passenger facility fee added to each passenger’s ticket and charges to the airlines.
To finance $50 million, that CPE would have to go to $9.50 to $11 per passenger. A $65 million bond would push the CPE to $12 to $15. No breakdown between passenger and airline cost was offered in the initial report.
Efforts to upgrade the art deco terminal, which is designated a historic landmark, began in 2001, when JetBlue announced it would make Long Beach its West Coast hub. Commercial jet flights have since reached their maximum number under the city’s noise ordinance, and the airport saw more than three million passengers last year.
The council has approved terminal improvements increasing its size to up to 90,000 square feet as long as no additional gates are added. A second parking garage, creating about 3,300 parking spaces, also has been given preliminary approval.
Commuter airline ExpressJet has flown out of the L.B. Airport for eight months and offered the only Long Beach flights to Reno/Tahoe, Fresno and Monterey. The company cited the rising cost of fuel to explain why it will no longer be flying under its name.
"On behalf of everyone at ExpressJet Airlines, I would like to express our gratitude to the communities that provided such a warm welcome and were always supportive of our branded service," ExpressJet president and CEO Jim Ream said.
"If we had any other choice, we would not take this difficult action. However, rising fuel prices made the operation impossible to sustain."
Flights under the name ExpressJet will no longer exist as of Sept. 2. The company's operating agreement with Delta Air Lines will end on Sept. 1. The 39 aircraft used in those flights will be returned to the lessor by June 2009.
The company ExpressJet, however, will not entirely end its operations. It will continue to fly a fleet of 205 aircraft as Continental Express elsewhere.
Houston-based ExpressJet offered six nonstop daily flights to Reno/Tahoe, Fresno and Monterey. There also was a one-stop daily to Spokane.
Losing ExpressJet is a blow to the L.B. Airport, but the percentage of usage in Long Beach was low at 8.8 percent.
"We were notified (Wednesday) that ExpressJet is ceasing operations in September, and we will miss their service," said Sharon Diggs-Jackson, a spokeswoman for the Long Beach Airport.
"They provided new destinations for our travelers, and we believe they were serving the community. Fortunately for us, it's only a small percentage of our service routes that we're losing."
ExpressJet operates six of 25 commuter flight slots available at the Long Beach Airport. In September, only six commuter slots of the 25 available will be used.
All 41 of the airport's commercial flight slots are in use, with JetBlue Airlines controlling 28 of them.
The commuter slots have requirements for smaller planes, and ExpressJet fits in those because it uses an Embraer-model aircraft that carries 50 passengers.
Those aircraft have two seats on each side of an aisle and no middle seat. Those planes are categorized as "Stage 4 compliant," meaning they are the quietest on the market.
When the airline started flying in Long Beach in November, it was trumpeted as not just another tiny airline to come to Long Beach, but a major player. It then had a fleet of 274 Embraer jets flying to 23 destinations under its company name.
For a relatively new airline, ExpressJet has done well in Long Beach. Its flights from Long Beach have averaged about a 50 percent capacity.
ExpressJet invested more than $325,000 in the L.B. Airport's facilities and equipment when it arrived and hired roughly 15 employees there. Although its departure hurts the L.B. Airport, it is more significant to the nearby Ontario International Airport, where ExpressJet serves 15 destinations.
Tickets on ExpressJet before Sept. 2 will not be affected and are still available for purchase before that date. Customers holding tickets for travel after that date may contact the company for a refund.
Friday, July 11, 2008
An all white 737-3Q4(SF) ZK-TLB (cn 24209/1492) arrived at 2:48pm and parked at Airflite. The plane departed at 4:15pm for HNL.
Gulfstream G-IV N385PA departed at 10:10pm for CYWG.
G550 N534QS arrived from VNY at 7:54pm and parked at Gulfstream.
G-IV(SP) N424QS was spotted on the Gulfstream ramp tonight.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Gulfstream G450 N380GA arrived from CYVR at 5:13pm and parked at Gulfstream.
Gulfstream G-IV B-8091(Deerjet) was parked on the Gulfstream ramp.
Monday, July 7, 2008
Gulfstream G550 N534QS arrived at 4:58pm from LAX and parked at Gulfstream.
Gulfstream G550 VP-BBO arrived at 8:15pm from CNY and also parked at Gulfstream.
Gulfstream G450 N950SW was spotted on the Gulfstream ramp tonight.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Tail numbers noted at Gulfstream: N3050, N506QS, N475QS(arrived from SFO at 6:30pm).
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Tail numbers noted at Gulfstream: N154H, N515PL.