Burbank Looks to Add Curfew While LAX Keeps Expanding

Remember that whole strategy from LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa about airport regionalization? Well, it took yet another step backward yesterday with the recommendation of the Burbank airport authority to enact a hard curfew (via this excellent Airliners.net thread).

You can guess where this is coming from – the surrounding community. Thanks to their objections, the airport wants to prohibit any operations between 10p and 7a. Is that a horrible idea? Well, not entirely. We have one of those here in Long Beach, and it’s nice to have peace and quiet while we sleep. That being said, these are very different in that Burbank will have much stiffer fines. That’s bad news for travelers.

In Long Beach, airlines don’t pay a fine for violating the curfew until their third violation. At that point, they pay a whopping $100. Then each subsequent violation in a twelve month period will cost $300. (Read more) The Burbank fine, according to the Application (pdf), will cost $3,671 for the first fine, $7,342 for the second, $11,013 for the third, and $14,684 for the fourth over a twelve month period. If an airline has four violations, it’s banned from the airport for a year.

I know, you’re wondering what this has to do with you, right? Well, with penalties that steep, airlines will be less willing to schedule any flights near that curfew time at night for fear that they’ll miss it. Right now, there are a couple of flights scheduled to go before 7a and I think one after 10p. The night flights, even the ones before curfew, are most at risk, because if they’re delayed in the slightest, they won’t be able to land. Then early morning flights get in trouble because the plane that usually spends the night in Burbank ready to fly early the next day won’t be able to land until morning. That, of course, is dependent upon the airlines being willing to even schedule flights at those times with the potential penalties so high.

Probably even more annoying than having your flight not get out on time will be when you’re on a late arriving flight into Burbank. Let’s say you’re on the last flight from SFO and fog has delayed flights a couple hours. Well, that last flight would probably go if it were heading to Long Beach because the cost of violating the curfew isn’t prohibitively steep if it doesn’t happen often. (Honestly, it could rise some and still be ok.) At Burbank? Forget it. They’ll just park the plane or divert you to another airport instead. Great, huh?

My advice: If this curfew gets enacted, don’t fly into Burbank too close to the curfew. Fly to LAX instead. Not what the Mayor of LA had in mind, right? Well, he’s not exactly following his regionalization plan either. While Burbank is thumbing its nose at the that strategy, Mayor Villaraigosa is crowing about a new flight that he’s landed at LAX.

The new flight is on Korean Air. The airline will now fly from LAX to Sao Paulo, presumably as an extension of one of the daily Seoul/Incheon flights. Asian carriers that want access to the largest city in South America can’t fly nonstop (range problems) so they need to find a place to go first. JAL used to fly via LAX (I actually took the flight once), but now they go through JFK. So, Korean will now pick up the slack and try to make a go of it.

Now, Mayor Villaraigosa claims in the city’s press release that the flights are “a direct result of the Mayor’s 2006 trade mission to Asia.” Um, right. I really hope the airline isn’t sitting around saying, “Gee, you know I like that guy. How cool was it that he came to visit us? We should start a flight to Brazil from his city.”

So, what are the takeaways here?

  • If Burbank enacts this curfew, don’t book a flight arriving there near the curfew for fear you may not get there in time
  • If you’re flying to Sao Paulo from LA, congrats. You now have a nonstop option.
  • Regionalization isn’t as easy as you (or the Mayor) might think

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14 Comments on "Burbank Looks to Add Curfew While LAX Keeps Expanding"

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Nick Barnard
Member

I’m kinda surprised the curfew doesn’t have stepped penalties. (e.g. Between 10 PM and 11 PM it’s $750.) I’d be more lenient on the arrivals side than on the departures side. Scheduling a departure before 7 AM can be avoided. That messy weather delay day when a flight that was scheduled to be in at 9:15 PM can’t make it in until 10:30 PM is a little more difficult to avoid.

Mark
Member
I’m sorry, I just don’t get that. BUR has been there since the 30s. I have to surmise that most of the people whining about the noise moved in AFTER that time, when the A/P was already there. I can believe that some residents were there prior to jets coming in in the late sixties, but all in all, I guess the question I would ask the local community is “Didja notice the planes landing when you bought your house?” I just don’t understand why they complain when the were completely aware of the noise when the moved in. Same… Read more »
sf_burbankian
Guest
To Mark: I grew up in Burbank under the flight path and lived with planes interrupting our tv shows and silencing conversations. We were very aware of the airport and just dealt with it, because that’s where we lived. No biggie. But we also knew that we wouldn’t be woken up before 7:00 am and after 10:00 pm we could sit outside in peace and not hear jets flying over head. Amen to the curfew! The residents near the aiport aren’t fighting about having an airport there, they are fighting against the expansion of the airport. Burbank doesn’t want to… Read more »
Mark
Member
sf_burbankian: Expansion is one thing. As a resident of a surrounding community, you have a right to question and protest and stop, if you can, the expansion of an airport. Especially,as you mention, when that expansion will have a negative effect on your quality of life. I’m all for quaint, keep-em-small airports that serve their communities well. In fact, I am going to be organizing a group to try to stop Jetways and other expansion at KOA. I read nowhere in the CF report or the airliners.net article about expansion. What I read was, this was an after-the-fact effort to… Read more »
Alex C
Guest

I’m not sure whether the “direct result” line is sad or just funny. I’m also not sure why the mayor’s office would have seen fit to issue a press release, unless he was just trying to show that his trip wasn’t a waste.

If there were suddenly non-stop flights ICN-BUR, now THAT would be newsworthy!

ari
Guest

Santa Monica, which is GA only, has similar hefty fines. These are politically active NIMBY citizens standing up for their selfish interests. I look forward to the day when the neighborhoods east of LAX (right now poor and African-American) will put similar restrictions on LAX.

jrfstone
Member

The mayor’s regionalization plan consists of diversifying traffic from LAX to the other LAWA airports: ONT and PMD. Despite their location, the city of LA has substantial interest in those airports, indirectly as LAWA is a city department, IIRC. The mayor of LA could care less whether or not BUR so much as closed.

Shane
Guest

With the ruling about passenger bill of rights stating that only the federal government can regulate airlines, can that possibly be extended to local regulations on flight times? Essentially, can the court ruling open up the opportunity for airlines to challenge the curfew in court on the bases that it regulates the airline’s operating proceedures, which only the feds have the right to do. Where does the line stand between what is interstate commerce and the rights of local municipalities?

Mark
Member
Shane: In my mind as far as curfews are concerned, the municipalities are not regulating the airlines. They are regulating the airports. It is the owner of the airport that sets hours. The airlines are merely customers or tenants of the airport. The Burbank Glendale Pasadena Airport Authority owns and controls BUR. So, they have the right to set hours. If they wanted to be open from 1:00 to 2:00 in the morning only, then they could do that provided they met environmental, noise abatement and other guidelines as set forth by the government agencies regulating them. This is quite… Read more »
David Ross
Guest
The authorities should be imposing a “I’m a stupid idiot” fine for the idiots who moved near the airport. Come on, people, there’s an airport nearby. Didn’t you think there would be noise nearby? Unless you have lived near the airport since before it was an airport, you have NO right to complain about the noise. Me? I’d love to live near the airport. Mark is entirely wrong. A curfew does restrict interstate commerce. There are many people who want to fly to the east coast after spending a full day in the area. If they leave after 6 but… Read more »
Aviatrix
Guest
SF_Burbankian, I had to laugh when you said “This only leads to more traffic, more pollution, more noise.” The San Fernando Valley is the definition of traffic (101/405 interchange), pollution (can’t see the mountains over downtown Burbank on most days), and noise (no matter where in the valley you are you hear the freeway roar). A 21st century airport is a necessity. LA has the highest population density in the country behind NYC – and they have three major airports serving them. LA has LAX. That’s it. The voters have prevented any upgrades at BUR, apart from widening the hallway… Read more »
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