Long Beach Ends Talk of a Customs Facility, Will JetBlue Walk?

JetBlue, LGB - Long Beach

If there’s one thing we learned during the last election, it’s that misinformation, fear-mongering, and bullying are now a blueprint for success. The local anti-airport group here in Long Beach took that to heart and has now successfully killed any chance of a customs facility at Long Beach Airport in the near future. The level of misinformation and bullying was astounding (and frankly, impressive), and the city council fell for it by a surprisingly lopsided vote of 8 to 1 (kudos to Councilmember Dee Andrews for holding strong). With the decision having been made to not do anything, now the question becomes… will JetBlue bother sticking around?

If you want the long backstory, you can read this previous post of mine. In short, JetBlue wanted to be able to use some of its slots to go down to Mexico and Central America. It was willing to pay for most of the customs facility. To me, this seemed like a good opportunity to lock JetBlue in for awhile while getting concessions to help the city. If JetBlue was willing to agree to terms that made sense for Long Beach, this was a no-brainer. But yesterday was supposed to be a vote to allow the city to enter into those financial discussions. That will not be happening thanks to some very aggressive tactics by the local anti-airport group.

That group started probing months ago on ways to make its message stick that a customs facility was horrible. It coined the change an “expansion” despite the fact that the noise ordinance wouldn’t have changed and the number of commercial flights would be no different. It just would have changed where those airplanes were allowed to go after departing. After the study that the city council commissioned came out, the anti-airport folks decided to pick and choose which facts were acceptable. The report said that there wouldn’t be demand for all that many flights and it wouldn’t impact the noise ordinance. The anti-airport folks screamed that this wasn’t true. Yet when the report said few jobs would be created in the city, the anti-airport group treated that like gospel. Anything to support the narrative, and that was just the start.

The group threatened councilmembers (and the mayor) who dared to vote for the facility. If they voted for it, then this group would build “an army” to do everything possible to make sure they didn’t get re-elected. The group also threatened mass litigation efforts on behalf of residents. But wait, there’s more.

The group went on the attack against JetBlue. In general, I’d say nearly any community in the country would drool over the prospect of having JetBlue create a focus city at their airport let alone an international gateway, but not here in Long Beach. JetBlue is generally considered a good corporate citizen wherever it goes. It puts a lot of money into the community by building parks, sponsoring events, etc. But here in Long Beach, the anti-airport group made JetBlue out to be a villain, a prime example of an evil corporation. All that money the airline put in the city? It was only to bribe councilmembers to do their bidding. With this kind of climate, it’s a wonder any airline would bother sticking around.

Of course, JetBlue is a business, and it needs to make decisions based on the viability of any operation. After the vote last night, Rob Land, Senior Vice President Government Affairs & Associate General Counsel for the airline gave what I can only call a terse statement.

We are profoundly disappointed that after years of delay and a city-mandated study validating the safety, security and economic positive nature of the project, that the City Council would reject the development of a Federal Inspection Station at Long Beach Airport. JetBlue will evaluate its future plans for Long Beach, the greater Los Angeles area and California.

So will JetBlue stick around? The airline is in a really tough spot. See, despite the fear-based claims of the anti-airport group that so many airlines would want to fly to Long Beach, it’s really not a hugely desirable airport. Sure the customer experience is great, but the fares are low and that’s not what an airline likes to see. After having tried many different tactics to serve the airport, JetBlue had found a happy place flying short haul markets with a reduced schedule, especially in the winter. But last year, things changed.

When Southwest announced it was coming to town and it would gladly use slots temporarily not being utilized, JetBlue had to make a decision. It could have let Southwest ramp up and make life worse for JetBlue (11 of JetBlue’s 35 slots are used to fly to Vegas and Oakland, markets Southwest competes in) or it could have ramped up and tried to keep Southwest out. The downside to that, of course, is that with more capacity, fares would suffer even further.

JetBlue chose the latter option and has ramped up, but many assumed that was simply an effort to keep Southwest at bay until JetBlue could start using those slots to fly internationally. With that option off the table, at least for the foreseeable future, JetBlue has to make a decision once again.

With no option for international service on the horizon, JetBlue now has to justify its existence in Long Beach. That may be hard to do. This will go hand-in-hand with what JetBlue decides to do for an overall West Coast strategy. You can be sure Ontario started calling JetBlue about 5 minutes after the vote was done, but there aren’t any perfect options for JetBlue in Southern California right now. The only thing that is clear is that Long Beach doesn’t really want to help the airline with its future plans. It would not surprise me in the least to see JetBlue start to scale back its operation. I wouldn’t even be surprised if JetBlue eventually walked away entirely.

If JetBlue were to leave, it would be a huge loss for this community, though the anti-airport group would likely cheer the demise. The only good news is that today, there is another interested party. Southwest seems keen on scooping up slots to do more flying, but if that were the case, the destination footprint would be a lot less compelling. Judging by what we see at other surrounding airports, I’d expect a fully built-out Southwest would do the Bay Area, Vegas, Denver, and maybe Phoenix. I suppose there’s a long shot at Chicago or Dallas, but I’d be surprised. That’s a far cry from the breadth of options JetBlue provides today.

The only thing we can do now is wait and see what JetBlue decides to do on the West Coast in general. My guess is Long Beach is no longer going to be central to those plans. It’ll be lucky to be a part of them at all. It’s ironic to see this happen considering Long Beach’s motto is “The International City.”

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134 comments on “Long Beach Ends Talk of a Customs Facility, Will JetBlue Walk?

  1. Bad decision by the LGB council. Really good write up Cranky.

    jetBlue would be wise to pull out entirely.

  2. What was the opposition’s rationale? That eventually allowing this type of international service will lead to larger planes, noise and traffic congestion?

    I’ve always thought it will get harder and harder for this type of “deep in the neighborhood” airport to be viable in the long run. i.e. the small airport built in a different era that has seen a lot of residential and commercial development encroachment, right up to its borders. Burbank is perhaps the best example. You are on a busy thoroughfare and it’s as if you turn left to enter a shopping center and right to enter the airport (look at Google Earth if you’ve never been there). These neighborhood airports are very susceptible to this type of opposition. Having said that, Burbank seems to be doing well. The greater point, however, is perhaps these airports are destined to serve small niches, or eventually to be redeveloped for other purposes.

    1. HUSH had person after person after person complain about noise, pollution, health risks and how this would all lead to the demise of the noise ordinance. They jammed the council chambers. Others were able to talk in favor now and then, but not many. It was clear at the outset what was going to happen when Councilperson Stacy Mungo made a motion to “receive and file” the FIS study, which means they were voting to table the issue indefinitely.

      I thought if you didn’t know better, you were watching a hearing on whether there should be an airport at all. It was ridiculous. They bitched about plane noise, plane noise that will still be there tomorrow whether or the facility is built. Same for pollution and health risks. One idiot insisted that the planes were dripping oil on her property. If that’s even remotely true lady, check with the company that still operates the ancient DC-3s that fly to Catalina.

      In the end the city hid behind the reason that an initial $3M expense the city would have to contribute was too much because the airport was $110M in debt. Forget what the trade would be like if international flights were allowed. HUSH refused to allow council to think beyond the tip of their noses. Even though the vote was obviously going to go their way, HUSH members still took to the public comment podium to remind council what they would have done to them had they voted otherwise. An amazing show of NIMBYs ruining it for an entire region of people.

    2. I’m sorry, my ranting got me lost answering your question. Bottom line, HUSH convinced residents a customs facility would lead to the loss of the precious noise ordinance and there would be larger planes taking off and landing 24/7. More noise, no sleep, more pollution, more disease and death. Seriously. They even had people saying on local blogs business travelers would be the only people flying internationally and business travelers bring prostitutes. (!) Long Beach would be the next LAX. Forget entirely the aviation industry has never considered this to be an option for KLGB. Forget Jet Blue will never buy an A380, HUSH had them convinced they would be loaded full every day. Forget how much that doesn’t make sense for any number of reasons. You cannot make this stuff up, but wait, they did.

    3. MarylandDavid – Good question. They tried a lot of different tactics before they found one that resonated with people. They first had to get people to believe this was an expansion, so they distributed yard signs with an A340 silhouette saying we need to stop the airport expansion. People started talking about it that way even though it was a complete lie.

      Then they focused on the noise ordinance. Noise ordinances in general are fragile and ours was grandfathered in from before. At one point they started floating rumors of a massive influx of corporate traffic since that noise bucket for general aviation is only about half full. I even heard people talking about how this would be great for drug smuggling. It was complete insanity. The problem is, it just won’t happen. Van Nuys recently opened a customs facility and even with its huge base of jets, it still doesn’t see much usage. And the usage it does have is often a jet that had to clear somewhere else previously and then fly to Van Nuys. So it wasn’t new traffic.

      The final move that got the most traction was that this was going to open up the noise ordinance to further challenges, and then we’d end up being a carbon copy of LAX. Why would the FIS allow that? Well, because today no international airline can fly to LGB anyway so they can’t challenge the noise ordinance. But in the future, with an FIS, international airlines who couldn’t get a slot would take us to court. That was enough of a scare tactic to get people onboard, but it was so ridiculous.

      I can’t think of an international airline that wants to fly to Long Beach at all, with the possible exception of a Mexican airline. But let’s say Hainan decided it hadn’t served enough random cities and wanted to fly to LGB. Not only are there no slots, but the customs facility wouldn’t have been built big enough to handle that volume. So Hainan would then have to sue to bust the noise ordinance, actually win, and then invest in a bigger facility. It’s laughable to think that would happen. But people believed it.

  3. The anti-airport mafia even went so far as to unapologetically harass people on the local Next Door sites. I should know because i was one of them. They got me banned from my local site for posting in favor of the facility. They learned to flag or report every comment I wrote, whether or not it was about the facility. I got e-mails from Next Door telling me I needed to “get along with my neighbors”. Next Door inadvertently sent me a list of people who complained and all of them claimed no affiliation the HUSH mob, yet several of them show up on posts on the HUSH web site.

    I have no doubt in my mind HUSH bullied and threatened council members. Months ago one of them contacted me and thanked me for my “reasoned defense” and “polite posting” on Next Door because the member had been alerted to the abuse I was getting. This council member voted against it Tuesday night. This council member related several alarming incidents the member and the member’s office had endured. If it were me, I would have filed police reports.

    So now we await what happens next. Does Jet Blue sue or just leave? Does another airline swoop in after Jet Blue reduces its presence and sues? frankly, I hope somebody sues. These HUSH criminals need to be avenged.

    1. Don – It’s interesting, because JetBlue could go scorched Earth if it wanted and sue to bust up the noise ordinance. That wouldn’t give it international capability but it would allow it to build a bigger footprint. I don’t know why JetBlue would want that, but it’s an option. More likely, I think JetBlue opts to quietly start pulling back.

      1. Trying to get rid of the noise ordinance only benefits JetBlue if they think a significantly expanded operation would be more profitable than what they can do with the current slot restrictions. But since they seem wary of fully utilizing their current slot allocation, I suspect they probably don’t. Furthermore, getting rid of the noise ordinance also opens the door for significant expansion of competition like Southwest, giving up their dominant position at LGB.

        1. David M – I think you’re right that JetBlue doesn’t think this will be beneficial to kill the noise ordinance. Yes, JetBlue now fully uses its slots. It has 35 and is doing San Francisco (5), Oakland (4), San Jose (4), Sacramento (2), Reno (1), Vegas (7), Portland (2), Seattle (2), Salt Lake (4), Austin (1), New York/JFK (2), Boston (1). But the sense I get is that it doesn’t want to use all those. It’s just better to use them than to let Southwest use them. Getting rid of the noise ordinance would, as you say, open the door for more competition. Can’t imagine JetBlue wants that. The only airline that might care is Southwest, but I can’t imagine the airline would think it worth litigating. Of course, this has nothing to do with a customs facility!

  4. This really hits home how good VX would have been for B6’s West Coast presence.

    LGB was always the most “JetBlue 1.0” kind of market in my opinion, but if the only alternatives are duking it out with WN in a bigger airport like SNA or BUR, moving to a smaller airport like ONT, or shrinking in the West Coast as a whole, what can they do?

    1. Since when is ONT a smaller airport? It has no slots, can handle any size aircraft (does already for UPS and FedEx) and currently has mothballed gates. Oh, and it has an FIS already too.

      1. Thanks. I had meant/thought it was a smaller market/catchment, but that would be wrong as well as I just learned. ONT has more passenger movements and destinations.

        It’s good to be proven wrong if you get to learn something in the process.

    2. Itami – Absolutely. If JetBlue feels the need to have a west coast presence then it should have outbid Alaska for Virgin America because that was easily the best option by a mile. I think JetBlue’s likeliest option is to build up at LAX if it wants a presence, but that is likely to be a bloodbath.

      If it was a visionary and willing to gamble, it could go into Ontario and do something bold and nuts. It would probably lose money for awhile, and it’s only for risk-takers. We don’t really have risk-takers in this industry these days.

      1. Do you know how ExpressJet did when they were running their branded ONT hub? Clearly the venture as a whole didn’t succeed, but did that one location respond well to having a hub?

        1. EricC – It had mixed results. I seem to remember that Tucson and Kansas City did fairly well, but it’s all cloudy now. Of course, once oil spiked, nothing did well and it was disastrous. But there is something to be said for being able to serve those markets with the right airplane (and the right fuel price).

  5. Nothing that happens in People’s Republic of California surprises me any more. Disclosure: I am a native to San Diego, home to somewhat similar airport dramas lasting decades.

    Long long long time ago, I was part of the group pushing for converting El Toro into a mixed used facility — as an attempt to further assuage the angst suffered by the “fat cats” living in Back Bay Newport. It was a total cluster**** made worse by having several layers of Feds also involved.

    B6 has no good options.

    1. Agreed. This is a specific variant of the usual California NIMBYisms that stem, indirectly, from the usual Prop. 13 stuff. Property values are all that matter, and any kind of potential hint of change that may or may not affect this is greeted with indignation.

      How is Long Beach with regards to zoning? Are they like the rest of California in being extremely anti-growth?

      IMO JetBlue should concede LGB and slowly build up LAX as space permits (or pick a different West Coast airport—since AA is pulling back from PHX, maybe there’ll eventually be space there…)

        1. Is it? I agree it’s distinct from direct zoning and growth issues, but in general Prop. 13 fuels NIMBYism and generally encourages a lot more homeowner participation in neighborhood issues. Basically, homeowners are very keen on being aware (and resisting) any changes that might affect, amongst other things, their home value.

          My perspective is obviously not of a local (I’m in the Bay Area), but at least up here everything tends to gel together. Happy to hear from a Long Beach resident otherwise.

        2. Actually HUSH managed to tie it in. So many of them complained that they would be forced to move and lose the precious Prop 13 protections, ignoring the fact a vast majority of residents who lived in the same area and who bought after 1978 don’t have Prop 13. The complaints came from people who inherited the protection when they moved into their parents’ house. That in and of itself highlights a problem with 13.

    2. GringoLoco – Just imagine if El Toro had happened. JetBlue would have probably already moved.

      BigDaddyJ – Long Beach is challenging in terms of zoning but not nearly as bad as other poster-child cities in the neighborhood. (Santa Monica, anyone?)

      1. @Cranky: My involvement was waaaaay back in the late ’80s / early ’90s when I owned an agency in Irvine. The catchment then was ideal — it has only grown and grown and grown! My understanding is they’ve looked at El Toro 2 or 3x since then.

        And I should revise my “fat cat” remark — some of them were my best clients!

        1. GringoLoco – Well, they’ll never revisit El Toro again now that it is officially the Great Park. Not much has been completed and there’s been all kinds of scandal surrounding it. But it’s a done deal that the airport will never be there.

    3. Part of the problem with El Toro was, 10 year earlier, they invested heavily into SNA to build the new terminal. They didn’t anticipate El Toro closing so soon. If they had not built the new terminal at SNA, I bet El Toro would have been a slam dunk!

  6. Perhaps JetBlue should now lobby for Mexican and central american airports to build pre-clearance facilities similar to those in many Canadian airports. If airports in the US cannot build the needed facilities, outsource them!

    Having been to Cancun several times, I always wonder why that airport doesn’t have pre-clearance on one of the terminals. During peak times, it seems that half of the flights are US bound. I am sure that Cabo and Puerto Vallarta are in a similar position.

    1. This was my thought as well.

      According to Wikipedia (FWIW), DHS already is considering: Mexico City International Airport (MEX); Buenos Aires Ministro Pistarini International Airport (EZE), Argentina; El Dorado International Airport (BOG) in Bogota, Colombia; Rio de Janeiro-Galeão International Airport (GIG), Brazil; and São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport (GRU), Brazil. Perhaps JetBlue could get more Mexican cities, and perhaps Costa Rica, added to the list.

      1. Yes, correct! They plan to have up to 30% of international cities pre-clear. Right now LGB could receive flights from the Canada, Bahamas, Ireland, and now Abu Dhabi has pre-clear. Perhaps we could interest Etihad in coming into LGB!!!

    2. One of the requirements of Preclearance is that the destination airport must have customs available, and the capacity to strip international garbage, so LGB would still not be a usable destination.

      1. XJT DX – I don’t believe that’s true. I seem to recall that Orange County had Canada flights before there were customs available. I thought that having a nearby airport with customs was close enough in case something was needed. Am I making that up?

  7. Cranky, I take issue with your opening paragraph trying to tie this into national politics. This reeks of typical California NIMBY-ism. If anything the politicians have taken a page from the “California Activists Guidebook” on how to shut down your opponents argument. Anyone who deals with development, employment law, code enforcement or a whole host of other fields knows full well that in California things are more difficult, time consuming and always cost more.

    I’m sure JetBlue knew full well this was a distinct possibility and has their contingency plans.

    1. FWIW, most, not all of the HUSH group here is heavily GOP leaning. There’s a LOUD vocal minority on the East side of Long Beach that is very much anti-tax, anti-regulations, free use of the “libtard” pejoratives. Council District 5 is on the East side, and the council rep is the sole GOP councilperson. Ironically, she is one of the council members who took tons of heat over this.

      1. The political affiliation of the opponents is irregardless. California has a history of opposing any kind of development be it through regulation or NIMBY activism that started long before our most recent election cycle. If the HUSH group used ques from the presidential campaign or not it doesn’t change the fact that California is a difficult place to start and/or run a business. I have clients that openly refuse to do business in California due to this. The state has a population and economy of critical mass to mostly brush it off but it doesn’t bode well for the long term. Cranky’s wording read somewhat as-if who the president is influenced this outcome which I cannot see a correlation.

    2. If you listened to the comments at the council meeting so many of the people from HUSH used the new administration as reasons to oppose it.

      1. Yes they did. They mentioned, and I’m paraphrasing, that Trump is a loose cannon who might scuttle all regulations, somehow endangering the ordinance if there was a customs facility.

  8. Good for Long Beach for not being bullied by JetBlue.

    Having FIS at LGB provided no real benefits for the airport, matter of fact it opened a bunch of questions including funding, cost, staffing, and potentially most importantly legal challenges to airport noise regulations.

    If JetBue wants to walk, let them go. The city will not fail because some airline wants to throw a tantrum.

    1. Did you read and consider what Cranky said? Really, how would the FIS affect noise ordinance, if at all?

  9. Hey Cranky,
    I am not familiar with the housing around the airport. Is it mostly single family, condos or apartments. If they are apartments the residents are more transient so would it be possible to revisit this in a few years?

    Also is SNA an option for B6?

    1. A Finn in Texas – For commercial traffic, there is really only one runway used in most cases and it’s going in the same direction 90+% of the time. But that’s been the case for 50 years, so this isn’t a new phenomenon. For arrivals coming from the southwest, it flies over Huntington Beach first, but then it comes over military areas and a university. There are some single family homes around and some loud, angry people (led by a real estate agent, of course) but that’s about it. It’s on the departure end (where I live) where the real militant opposition lives. It’s mostly single family homes, middle to upper middle class, and these are long time residents.

      Orange County just doesn’t have room.

  10. What a bunch of idiots that group is. What difference does it make where people go or come from. All customs means is passengers go in a secure area before leaving the building.

    Like was said, it doesn’t change how many airplanes use LYN, but where people are funneled to after the plane lands.

    1. It’s a scorched earth tactic. The HUSH people knew a customs facility would have zero negative effects on the community. They ran a deliberate misinformation campaign. Most likely JetBlue would have footed 100% of the bill for the facility, but of course that’s not a very good negotiating position to begin from, so naturally JetBlue wasn’t eager to declare that reality. The curfew and the strict slot control were never in jeopardy or part of any discussion. Any damage the HUSH crowd can inflict on JetBlue and the airport at large is a victory in their eyes. They want LGB gone. Read some of the remarks here. Scorched earth selfish NIMBYism. Nothing else.

      1. You want to see “scorched earth” look no further that the approach and departure paths of LAX!

        1. OK, I finally concede, you are correct. Compared to Bel-Air, the Long Beach home are priced so low…why is that?? Oh yeah, the impact of airport in Long Beach has really impacted the LB homes especially since Bel-Air does not have an airport

  11. No wonder CA is called the Granola State-the land of Nuts and Flakes. Good article as always Cranky-and it took Ontario 5 minutes to call Jet Blue?-I’ll bet it was under a minute!

  12. Blues LGB operation has always impresses me as a hub that exsists ‘because it has to’. LAX, BUR and SFO were/are too space constrained to open a turnkey base. LGB was selected due to its relative proximity, relative costs and relative catchment area. It reminds me of NW & MEM; it was far from optimal but necessary if they wanted a toehold in the southeast.

    My question is that if B6 decides to cut and run where will they go? Will the reconfigured LAX give them the space to shift ops? Will they abandon the idea of a west coast focus city and just serve p2p western markets? If so…be fun to see how Virgin Alaska, WN and an emboldened DL respond.

    1. There’s potentially 3-4 additional gates in Burbank (A6-8), although WN is using A6 sometimes and AA is down to 4-5 flights per day at A5, so that also could be used, and almost an entire terminal at ONT if they wanted. The real issue is they’d be head to head with WN on most of the intra-state and regional routes. I suspect if they wanted int’l out of SNA they could get it.

  13. Thanks Cranky for an awesome article. I too was disappointed by the outcome but not entirely shocked. With that decision, what are your thoughts on moving over to BUR? I hear they are eager to talk to carriers for increased flights.
    Also, with SFO/ LAX maxed out and AS/WN increasing SJC, I’ve often wondered why no one expands SMF and fees WN competition. B6 could come in and offer:

    1x AUS
    2-3x DFW
    3x SEA
    2x PDX
    3x SAN
    3x BUR
    1x MCO (seasonal?)
    1x MEX, PVR, CUN, SJD
    3x PHX
    2x SLC
    2x DEN
    2x ORD
    2x ATL

    And so on. With no one giving too much attention to SMF, why not go up there and grab the business travelers/ leisure travelers that have only had WN?!??

    1. No one gives much attention to SMF because…well, it’s Sacramento. Much smaller catchment area than any of the Southland airports. You might as well ramp up FAT (said the silly former Fresnan), Allegiant is the only non-network carrier there.

      And if memory serves (and I could be wrong on this), B6 doesn’t base E190s in the west, and at least initially the A320 would be too much airplane for some of your proposed routes. If B6 wants to expand intra-West flying further, it may have to consider its fleet positioning, but that in turn plays into whether or not they’re going to buy E2s or consider other alternatives.

      1. it’s long puzzled me why Fresno doesn’t have better air service. It’s the fifth largest city in California. And its metro-area population is almost a million, making it larger than quite a few places that Southwest serves, e.g. Boise, Albuquerque, El Paso, Little Rock and Albany.

        1. FAT has always been plagued with “drive-offs”/”drive-aways”, as lots of locals believe that to get decent fares, they’re better off just driving to SFO or LAX, since they’re going to wind up connecting there anyway. I’m not sure the math always works out when you really price in parking and petrol, but to some extent it’s just an ingrained habit now. Part of it is also a bias against smaller planes, but SkyWest’s Brazilias are gone (I had a soft spot in my heart for them myself), and there are plenty of connection opportunities other than SFO/LAX, particularly AA’s 2x/day to DFW.

          Fresno is not a wealthy city, and the unemployment rate is double the national average (9.5% last month). And the airport hasn’t been particularly successful in marketing it as an alternative to people wanting to visit Yosemite or the national forests.

          It’s just a “chicken/egg” situation now – airlines look at the PDEW stats and don’t see opportunities (since the drive-offs aren’t in the statistics). One of my three Cranky Predictions for 2017 was that Spirit will wade in and shake the market up.

    2. ASflyer – Burbank doesn’t have a ton of room (though there is some slack) and it has short runway issues for longer haul. But Burbank is also well-covered by Southwest already. I’m not sure JetBlue could add enough value there.

      As for Sacramento, yeah, not a ton of demand and high airport costs.

  14. The main problem for JetBlue is that the reshuffle at LAX will leave it (as I understand it) with no gate capacity to support increasing their presence there that much. They tried ONT before, but unless the new management there is able to bring substantially lower costs, I don’t see that working – too far out from the primary catchment area. SNA doesn’t have the room to handle a full-blown relocation of JetBlue’s LGB operation, and BUR doesn’t have a FIS either. And in terms of domestic flights, WN is at all of them in a big way.

    Can B6 get enough space at LAX to start international flights there? If so, maybe they keep LGB for some shorter West Coast flights and move the rest to LAX. Perhaps a focus city at SAN for the Latin American flights?

    1. CraigTPA – Well the new management at ONT is going to get costs down dramatically. Further, LAX costs are going to continue to skyrocket with all the debt they’re taking on. So if costs were the issue, then Ontario would be in much better shape than when JetBlue tried to do this the first time around. But the issue is always more than just costs.

      JetBlue probably can’t get a ton of space at LAX, but also, there isn’t a ton of room for those international flights. Southwest has just entered a lot of markets and fares are cheap. Long Beach was an opportunity to try something at least slightly different.

  15. As 42 year resident of Long Beach I can say JetBlue has done nothing but cause trouble for the community.

    Per airport director himself, JetBlue violated the airports curfew noise ordinance over 130 times in 2016 alone.

    Next time JetBlue or any airline other wants something from the community, how about they first have the common courtesy and abide by the most basic regulations they agreed to when they commenced service LB to start with.

    1. Garrett – JetBlue has absolutely followed the basic regulations. If it arrives or departs after hours, then it has to pay a fine. The fine was low enough that JetBlue even agreed several years ago to increase that fine and give it to the local public libraries. If you don’t like JetBlue following the rules, then you need to change the rules.

      Further, an international customs facility would have likely reduced the violations. You can’t do redeyes to most of those places, so you’d see more operations during the day. They’re also in better locations for avoiding the weather disruptions that plague places like New York and San Francisco.

    2. Does the LA area really need 4 airports? Maybe it is time to think what role should the airport play in Long Beach and if the community does not want it, time to repurpose the property. In a ideal world, airports should be located on the outskirts of the city like DIA.

      1. Including LGB, the LA area actually has five air carrier airports:


        This does not include GA-only airports (or Hawthorne)
        With its small number of available slots, LGB could go away with little impact on the region’s air service. Still, those NIMBYs make me sick.

            1. Don’t forget PMD! Its the other (very far away in the middle of the turkey farms) LA airport!

    3. Garret — Wow, so about once every 3 days Jetblue subjected you and your community to a few seconds of unexpected airplane noise! No wonder you are so fired up.

      Setting aside the proper answer Cranky provided to your baseless, myopic, NIMBY-oriented remarks, here’s a fact to consider. The airport has been in operation since approximately 1940, long before your 42-year residency began. The next time you consider moving to a community near an airport, how about you have the common courtesy to abide by the notion that airlines may want to serve the community through the public asset that you were well aware of when you chose to move there?

  16. Thanks for this great post.

    As someone who lives directly under the alternate flight path, and who used to live close to the main one, I’m very aware of the noise issues. BUT I was able to wade through the misinformation (and actually read the Jacobs report) to realize that the FIS was a good investment in our community.

    FIS would have helped JetBlue operate more effectively, and the opportunities for general aviation seemed overwhelming positive. Making LB more desirable to companies similar to Mercedes and Virgin Galactic is essential to the economic health of the city. But I fear the nastiness and intimidation by the misguided neighborhood groups are going to have a chilling effect on future economic progress.

  17. What a refreshing read….thank you cranky!

    I am a elgb resident, and I had no issue for the addition of the customs facility. I live close enough to the flight path to read tail numbers clearly.

    As a member of the nextdoor forum, I was repulsed by the lies of the HUSH group….I agree that their tactics were unfair, and full of misinformation. I tried many times to call out the wrong information (a new runway would be built, flight paths were being changed to fly over more houses), but in the end, it was to avail. Whenever they were questioned, they just repeated the same “alternate facts”….

    Hopefully this doesnt impact Jet Blue being at LGB, but if they leave, i hope SWA ramps up and uses all the slots …just to piss off the HUSH idiots.

  18. There are 3 things that will now happen at LGB:
    1. B6 will start to reduce it’s flying out of LGB as it looks for another airport to accommodate it’s desire to add international flights.
    2. WN will try to grab all the abandoned slots to become the dominate player at LGB, try force everyone else out, and then leave to expand it’s LAX operation.
    3. LGB becomes the new ONT as an underutilized, mostly abandoned airport, while ONT becomes B6’s new focus city with international flights.

    1. What does this have to do with this story of JetBlue and Long Beach? Now to get back on topic…

      B6 had a similar issue in FLL, and IIRC they helped to pay for an expansion of the Customs facility here. Since it’s inception, the FIS facility was based in a trailer near terminal 4. Now with terminal 4 expanding and a new FIS facility on the 3rd floor, they are able to expand their International operations to South/Central America and the Caribbean. Unfortunately, this did lead to an increased number of flights out of FLL as their demand grew. However, I believe B6 treats FLL as a hub, not as a focus city like LGB.

      1. I don’t see any parallels between FLL and LGB. The former has been expanding capacity, while LGB seems to be content with the status quo.

  19. Cranky,

    Good article. Only thing that I’m scratching my head about is how you figure that fear-mongering has been proven by the election to be a recipe for success. It would appear to many that the opposite is true. That said, everything else in the article made perfect sense to me.

    As for your picture of the Long Beach airport, I know that your images are light-hearted and tongue-in-cheek, but usually there’s some logical nexus to the substance of the article. I’m not getting that nexus here, as there’s nothing in the body of the article that supports that the HUSH people (with whom I strongly disagree) invoked anything along the lines of what is stated in the picture. What’s the deal here?

    1. Wes – The picture has nothing to do with the HUSH people and everything to do with the outcome of the vote. If you aren’t going to have a customs facility, then you aren’t allowing international travelers in.

  20. Remember that Dallas Love Field has no international service and cannot have it even though WN has made the same argument that a 737 to Mexico City produces no more noise than one to Boston. While there are other reasons that have influenced the City of Dallas in its decision, if the neighborhoods around Dallas wanted international service, AA’s objections to it wouldn’t have prevailed.
    Not every city sees value in having an international airport at their doorstep. A whole lot of communities in California don’t want any more airports or for the ones that do exist to grow. This isn’t a B6 or LGB exclusive issue.
    WN has more money to build a presence at LGB which ultimately increases its footprint in S. California. Given that LUV just suffered a blow in having temporary slots at SNA reassigned to other carriers, they are keen to rebuild what they have lost. WN’s strategy is to dominate markets, something that it is being increasingly challenged for them to maintain their share in S. California with the growth of other carriers and WN’s own limits on growth due to slots and terminal space.
    If B6 pulls out, the slots will very likely be rebid; not sure if LGB slots can be transferred or sold between carriers. It is likely there will be other carriers that will be interested in expanding at LGB even if for the same defensive, market share driven reasons as WN is doing.
    LGB was an opportunity for B6 to gain a larger footprint in S. California; they have very little gate space at LAX and are unlikely to gain much more for a long time. ONT is simply not a viable airport at this point in order to host a larger presence in S. California as a whole but it certainly could serve as a niche market that is fairly detached from the largest part of the LA metro area.
    The Virgin America acquisition which B6 passed on has strategic implications for the rearrangement of the marketplace in S. California. There isn’t one remaining carrier that will shed any tears about the failure of LGB to move forward with the international facilities that B6 wanted or will work any less hard to marginalize them in S. California.
    There will be another airline that will see value in LGB service and will invest in the community proportionate to its presence there; most airlines have as good as or better than average participation in their communities – and even more so in strategically important markets for that carrier. Ultimately, B6 bet on an airport that might or might not have delivered what B6 needed. The community voted otherwise and they likely would have done the same thing for any other carrier.

    1. Tim – Slots can’t be sold in Long Beach. You have to let them go and then other airlines can apply. But there have been multiple opportunities to acquire more slots over the last few years and nobody has shown any real interest until Southwest did last year. Presumably Southwest still wants more slots, but I can’t think of another airline that would.

      1. Thanks for the reply, accurate information, and being the go-to guy on a topic that is close to home. it isn’t hard to see that you are teeing up a lot of provocative topics these days and generating lots of posting activity. I hope your site flourishes and provides a growing place for intelligent, respectful aviation discussions. :-)

        I am sure you have heard that large regional jets flying under the US legacy networks have CASMs similar to low cost carriers. I’m sure you are aware that DL uses large RJs to compete in a number of west coast markets with WN and AS and often uses the large RJs as platforms to grow the market to mainline DL service. Thus, I believe that there could be multiple airlines that could be interested in LGB slots IF they see value in growing their S. Cal presence across multiple airports- and it is easier to start building with large RJs than 150 seat aircraft. Unlike LAX growth which comes with high expansion costs if you can convince LAWA to allow you to grow, LGB is a pretty cheap option.

        1. Tim – Thanks for the kind words.

          I don’t see any of the other legacies being interested. American already has 5 slots and has pulled back to operate only 3 a day to Phoenix. The growth at LAX has hurt LGB a lot, and even 3 a day is a surprise. United could have operated CRJ-700s under a commuter slot but it never had an interest. Those slots are still open today. United doesn’t seem to care about secondary airports in markets where it’s big. Then there’s Delta.
          Look at Delta’s pattern of service in most secondary airports and they’re used to reach the nearest hub (or hubs). In Chicago, Delta goes to Atlanta, Detroit, and Minneapolis. In Houston, Delta flies to Atlanta. In Oakland, Delta flies to LAX and Salt Lake. That’s why I don’t expect service to go anywhere beyond Salt Lake for them, especially since they have such a big presence at LAX just up the road. Could they try Seattle?
          Sure, but even Alaska found that market to be awful and pulled out entirely. JetBlue is still there, keeping fares low. I just don’t see Delta having any interest.

          1. It might be precisely because B6 is at LGB that other carriers don’t want to throw capacity only to have B6 turn around with its larger slot holdings and sit on whatever flights are added. B6 is a lower cost operator than the legacies or WN.

            I struggle with the idea that B6 saw potential for LGB to include near international flights and that WN would be interested in adding more but that other carriers have no interest. Carriers don’t jump into adding service to small airports if someone else has an advantage that they can’t match – and that is magnified if the carrier with the most slots is a lower CASM operator.

            Large RJs do have very similar CASMs to WN so the notion that WN can make a route work but a legacy affiliated large RJ can’t work doesn’t make sense given that the large RJ is half the size of a WN aircraft. Of course, large RJs (with pilots) are becoming an increasingly valuable asset.

            It is your neighborhood; tell me if the region loses traffic to LAX or SNA that could be carried from LGB. If the airport is the right size for the community, then nothing is lost. if traffic is leaking to other airports and could be carried there, then having more carriers with a more equal share of slots might be beneficial to growth of air travel.

            As for DL, they do serve more secondary airports nationwide than AA or UA. I don’t know if they would see potential in adding service elsewhere in S. Cal but they decided to grow SNA after years of a fairly constant service pattern. And DL has complained about the lack of gate space at HOU and MDW but I’m not sure if they would add service if they could.

            OTOH, DL is spending a king’s ransom on new facilities at LAX so maybe they will focus there….

            1. Tim – I think the problem is that the other airlines all have hubs within 30 minutes of LGB, so that’s why there isn’t interest. As for Southwest, I don’t believe it has any interest in international from Long Beach either.
              It has some down in Orange County but it has already pulled back, just leaving it with some Cabo and Puerto Vallarta. With a bunch of other cities now served out of LAX (now that the bilateral allows it), Southwest wouldn’t want it in Long Beach either.

            2. If other airlines won’t be interested in LGB because they have operations at LAX, then there isn’t a whole lot of hope for growing LGB. WN might well have asked for additional slots to force B6 to push the FIS at LGB forward. Every other carrier has a larger presence at LAX than B6. They all might be happy to see B6 marginalized at LAX but not throw their efforts behind LGB.
              WN has no more reason or ability to make LGB work if B6 pulls down LGB than other carriers.

              btw, B6 has reportedly applied for LAX-MEX using the divested slots from AM/DL which means that along with current applications there will be a whole lot more carriers and capacity on that route. Other Mexico destinations are seeing a lot of new capacity from LAX as well. It might be very difficult for any other LA metro airport to attract new international or domestic service given the increases at LAX.

            3. Tim – But Southwest at Long Beach is different than others. While LAX remains the most important station for Southwest in the LA Basin, the airline is by far the market leader at the other regional airports. It has a strategy of blanketing metro areas that the big 3 have ignored. And it’s particularly concerned in California now that Alaska/Virgin America are pushing forward on a regional strategy with strong growth in San Diego, Orange County, and San Jose. So Long Beach is just another one of those regional airports. I tend to think it’s the weakest link for Southwest and I’m skeptical it’s going to work, but I can see why they’re trying.

              Why do I think this is the weak link? Because Burbank, Ontario, and Orange County have much bigger catchment areas that don’t step on other airports.
              But with Long Beach wedged in between LAX and Orange County, there’s just not a huge group of people who would prefer it. Southwest says that the idea is simple. If someone in Long Beach needs to travel short haul, then they’ll choose Southwest to go to Oakland or Vegas because they’re in Long Beach. But when they need to go anywhere else, they’ll have to drive to LAX or Orange County anyway but they’ll still pick Southwest because they’ve built that loyalty already. (JetBlue can’t provide blanket utility to anyone in the LA area, so this is more about choosing Southwest over the big three + Alaska.) I’m not sure I believe that strategy is going to work, but more power to them if it does.

              Also, I agree with you on general Latin demand. The anti-airport crowd used that as a scare tactic as well, saying that the removal of restrictions on US Mexico flying would mean there would be a huge flow of new traffic into Long Beach that would have been restricted otherwise. I say it’s the opposite. The only place the restrictions hurt was LAX because airlines wanted more flights there than they could have. Now that the restrictions are gone, they can all flow into LAX reducing demand for secondary airports.

  21. Land use decisions are one of the most basic rights afforded to cities in the California constitution.

    Long Beach and its residents very much can decide the details about how its airport functions, the same way they can decide on building a shopping mall, large residential development, a power plant, expanding the port, etc.

    What happened this week, is a city council that acted responsibly in the best interest of its citizens.
    Having international flights at LGB would have been lose-lose. The best action was to follow community wishes and reject the idea.

  22. I applaud you Dana. Everyone must respect the wishes of the council and the residents who live under the flight path. It was difficult decision to make. I remember there was only 18 flights a day in the 70’s and some how the airport survived. I just came back from a recent trip and arrived at Long Beach Airport. The new terminal looks great! Other areas such as baggage claims, car rental facilities need to be updated. Long Beach Airport started upgrade there parking lot A.

    Eventually, JetBlue will make some big changes in the coming weeks to Long Beach. I look at it as a small airport. Long Beach Airport is sand witched between two larger airports. LAX and SNA for their larger service the airport. There is not a whole lot of growth can acquired at Long Beach Airport due to the flight cap and the noise ordnance.

    1. LGB was only able to finance the improvements you cite thanks to having all the “mainliner” slots being used. Go back to 18 flights a day and those bonds issued to build the new stuff are going to be junk.

  23. Cranky… get over it. Misinformation works both ways. As you have proven with your one-sided remarks! Sure, both sides shared their share of their ‘alternative facts’. Problem is LGB happened to end up in the middle of desirable “pride of ownership” residential housing. Hey, I know the airport was there first and people were aware. Blame the developers and city planners, not those who have made their largest investments only to watch flights increase over law suits brought by airport interests, while their quality of lives decline. Personally I’ve seen them go from 9 maximum to the now 50! What is enough? How many until our homes become unlivable, low-income rental property. You fail to mention the economic impacts associated with airport operations? Only JetBlue wins here. Lastly, JetBlue will make all future decisions just as they have made their past ones. Are they profitable? Cheers, Anti-airport Mike

      1. Really? Let’s start with the most blatant “half-truth” statement out there. “International Flights will not increase flights.” True with Commercial (now at 50), as all flights are accounted for. However the powers that be along with the consultant failed (forgot) to mention or glossed over the other 4 categories contained in the ordinance. So you tell me… how many Commuter, Industrial, Cargo and General flights would a FIS attract? Remember the already impacted neighborhoods are not interested in filling all (or any), of the noise buckets. It’s our intent to keep the impacts at a minimum. Truth. Give me some back… why do you want an FIS at LGB?

        1. Mike – I’m not sure why I’m jumping into this discussion since we will never agree. I also don’t know why you’re still interested since I believe you no longer live here. But I suppose it’s worth doing this for others who are reading:

          You say: “True with Commercial (now at 50), as all flights are accounted for. However the powers that be along with the consultant failed (forgot) to mention or glossed over the other 4 categories contained in the ordinance. So you tell me… how many Commuter, Industrial, Cargo and General flights would a FIS attract?”

          Let’s start by getting it right. Cargo falls under the Air Carrier (big jet) slots the same as anything other commercial flight. I assume you meant charter. Now let’s look at each of these.

          Commuter – These are CRJ-700s or anything 50 seats and under flying commercially, for those who don’t know the details. There are 25 slots available and 25 open today. So nobody wants to fly those airplanes within the US. Looking outside the US, these would have the range to get to a couple of tiny cities with no demand in Mexico. There isn’t an airline around that would want to touch these for international flying that I can see.

          Industrial – I’m pretty sure the addition of an FIS is not going to bring back aircraft manufacturing to LGB. Because that’s what this category is.
          (And it should be noted that while there may have been fewer commercial flights back in the day, there were a whole lot more loud industrial operations when Douglas was humming along. Those are now all gone.)

          Charter (not Cargo) – This is defined as “a revenue producing takeoff or landing, operated by a person or entity that is neither an Air Carrier nor a Commuter Carrier, using an aircraft having a certificated maximum takeoff weight of seventy-five thousand pounds or more and transporting passengers or cargo.” I assume this is mostly sports charters, so when the national team of Mexico comes up to play soccer, then this would be nice for them.
          But it’s hard to think of many other ways this would be useful to anyone.

          General Aviation – All we need to do is look back either at the last time when Long Beach had customs (yes, it did have it before) or we can look at the operations at Van Nuys today, an airport with far more demand and many more jets based there. Van Nuys sees fewer than 2 uses per day. And most of those uses are from aircraft that are based there. Before, they simply had to land somewhere else in the US first, go through customs and then hop over. So the actual increase in operations is very tiny. When Long Beach had customs before, it was less than that. There is simply nothing pointing to any interest by general aviation that would result in any sort of big uptick in traffic.

          The wild speculation about tremendous increases in the other buckets isn’t based in reality.

          For those who want to read the ordinance: http://www.lgb.org/civicax/filebank/blobdload.aspx?BlobID=2764

        2. It’s sheer idiocy to expect any airport to remain stagnant. The airport is a business. Businesses need to grow in order to remain viable. This constant “I remember when there were only 18” mantra is garbage. Over time, as people move in and people age, the needs of the community shift. The airport shifts with them. If realtors such as yourself would just be honest about this indisputable fact HUSH would need to continue to lie, threaten and bully to get their way.

          1. Mr. Kemp, agreed municipally owned property should be used at “highest and best value”. It’s apparent an airport at this location is a travesty in generating revenue!

    1. Mike how SHAMEFUL you Joe Sopo, Rae Galebich, and the WHITE ELITE in Bixby rule this city and the airport. Perhaps, you WHITE ELITE don’t realize Long Beach is over 40% Hispanic (primarily Mexican) according to the most recent demographic information. Did it ever occur to the RACIST WHITE ELITIST that the working class Hispanics would like to have flights to our homeland from Long Beach?

      It’s funny how everyone of the anti-airport has a conflict of interest. You and Sopo are involved in real estate, and Rae is on a major airline’s (that does not serve LGB) payroll. There is no proof that airports impact house values like you claim. In fact, the most expensive neighborhoods in Orange County are next to the airport – and their flight count keeps going up – along with house values.

      I would buckle up. You, HUSH, and the council maybe in for a rough ride since this vote is along racial lines. There will be fallout and people will lose jobs because of your influence on the city’s vote!

      1. RMartinez – I in no way agree with this. This is a selfishness issue, not a racial one. The people organizing this are looking out for their own interests (incorrectly, in many cases, and that’s the biggest issue) and not thinking about the broader community at all. I don’t see any racial aspect of this at all.

        1. Cranky, as a Mexican, I stunned you can say that. In fact, you were supporting the same thing. You photo showed a sign at the airport that said “NO MEXICANS.”

          I believe it’s partially a racial issue. Race isn’t just black and white. You can call it an ethnic issue, to me it’s a racial issue! You may be an expert on airlines, but you don’t seem to know much about demographics. JetBlue knew the demographics of the city, thats why they also planned GDL and MEX – to cater to the ethnic traffic in Long Beach.

          It is absolutely about suppressing the Hispanic population – You ARE NOT Hispanic and don’t see the daily discrimination that goes on. We’re housekeepers, gardners, and hotel maids according to the HUSH elite, and now even the council.

  24. It will get even more interesting in So Cal as Alaskan and Virgin America merge and hit their stride

  25. I live within 5 miles of a curfew controlled airport and for the most part, I really don’t notice the noise because I’m on the approach path. Even during takeoffs it isn’t too bad. The only planes I really notice still are the DC-10 and the A340. Both of them are loud.

    However, SJC, is in a position to encourage more usage instead of trying to cut itself off since it realizes that more flights is more money for the airport. What LGB did is just senseless.

    1. As a fellow SJCer, B6 should move its focus city from LGB to SJC. SJC has FIS and plenty of gate space, and since the curfew is time based, there are no slot issues. The catchment area overlaps the other Bay Area airports, but LGB has the same issue with overlapping catchment areas.

      As a bonus, SJC rarely has the fog issues that plague SFO/OAK.

      I used to live on the departure corridor (Rivermark area before Rivermark) and the only I plane I would notice was the 7am UA 727, Stage 3 planes are just so much quieter.

      1. I also live near SJC (2nd and Bassett) and don’t get anti-noise NIMBYs at all. I knew the airport was there when I bought, I like being close to flights and figure that air travel’s positive benefits to the economy are good for my property values.

      2. AND SJC has customs, and international widebody connection opportunities.

        As a local, I’d love this. Already looking forward to the SJC-EWR flights coming up in a few months, so I have East Coast options that aren’t redeye!

  26. You know, as I look what happened and digest it, this could turn into a racial issue. Long Beach is 41% Hispanic. The people that make up HUSH and the anti-airport “elite” are in Bixby or other prominent areas of the city. It’s clear JetBlue did their homework planning flights to vacation destination in Mexico, as well as ethnic destinations such as Mexico City and Guadalajara.

    It’s clear the city either doesn’t know their base, or can be bought off by NIMBY protesters that don’t support local business!

  27. Personally, I don’t think it would be a bad thing if LGB shut down and it’s operations were shifted to SNA and LAX. It is such a tiny airport on a chunk of valuable property that could probably be put to better use. Airport consolidation is the future, and that’s a good thing. Big hubs are best for everyone.

    1. LGB is a significantly better passenger experience. Just getting in and out of LAX on World Way, Sepulveda, and Century can be a nightmare.

      Big hubs are among the most delay-prone airports: SFO, JFK, ORD…

      1. Yes indeed…. ground transportation from LAX is a nightmare, even if you’re not driving. Not long ago at LAX I stood at the curb waiting 45 minutes for the Supershuttle that was going my way (and really felt sorry for the agent, who has to stand there all day amid the car exhaust and horn-honking). I’d rather fly LGB, even though it’s a long odyssey on public transit (bus – Blue Line – bus) from there to my destination.

  28. Stupid Trailer trash were the ones that kept this happening, and it was really good for the city. Why were they needs of a few whiney people taken over the good of the community? I hope JB fights these losers. Get a life trailer trash. Find a hobby.

    1. They weren’t trailer trash, they were homeowners.Stupid, misinformed brain dead homeowners but homeowners nonetheless.

  29. Here’s an interesting update…

    In a fairly remarkable commentary, the councilmember who led the vote against the customs facility has shown no understanding of how airports are funded:

    She claims tax dollars were at stake when in fact they weren’t. The airport’s small $3m contribution would have been from Passenger Facility Charges which are paid for by airline passengers and do not come from local tax dollars. This also wouldn’t have bumped other airport projects. It was in addition to existing projects.

    1. First off: Dear Inconsiderate Concerned Citizen… hope you don’t own residential property near LGB because had it not been for those “trailer trash” over the past 40+ years keeping the smallest possible health, safety and economic impact on your property! Had this not happened what do you supposed the near-by neighborhoods would look like today? I’ll be interested in your sarcastic response.

      Cranky, I have enjoyed the few times we’ve shared comments in the past and have always found you to be knowledgeable, fairly reasonable and considerate. However your comments about the HUSH2 gang leader were neither flattering or accurate. I suggest you re-read it. Following is the economic part of it:

      “Make no mistake – our airport is an economic driver for the city. But with more than $110 million in debt already on the books, it made little sense to commit millions of dollars to a project that would have been a tepid investment.”

      Which part of this statement is incorrect? Cheers, Mike Kowal

      1. Mike – You say:

        “Make no mistake – our airport is an economic driver for the city. But with more than $110 million in debt already on the books, it made little sense to commit millions of dollars to a project that would have been a tepid investment.”

        Which part of this statement is incorrect?

        1. This is your response? Don’t get it?

          Note: Mungo said almost the same thing Gabelich did today in a PT guest editorial.

          1. Not a single dollar would have come from Long Beach. What part of his statement

            “The airport’s small $3m contribution would have been from Passenger Facility Charges which are paid for by airline passengers and do not come from local tax dollars. This also wouldn’t have bumped other airport projects. It was in addition to existing projects.”

            can you disprove?

            1. Yes Don it is factual and another possible impacting consequence of opening our airport to international operations, which in turn puts our noise ordinance at risk! Read this recent explanation from Councilman Mungo who not made the motion to consider, study ($300,000 worth), and then make the motion to kill it. If you still don’t get it I will be happy to explain a worst case scenario. Cheers.

            2. If you agree the statement is factual they you don’t have a case. Period. end of story. I read Mungo’s crap. I sadly know all about Mungo. None of it is based in reality.

              Your precious noise ordinance is at much greater risk now. Jet Blue tried to do this the right way. They followed protocol. They or another airline will now look at Long Beach and decide that the only way to get a customs facility is to sue. The city should have negotiated and compromised No other way would work. When that happens, kiss the ordinance goodbye.

            3. I wasn’t going to reply to your mis-informed comments but have to ask you, just do you think owns the ground that the airport sit on?

            4. Mike Kowal, It doesn’t matter who owns the land the airport sits on. If a carrier wants to come in and compete with JetBlue and is unable to compete on a route because of the lack of slots, you can bet they will sue for slots! The City cannot block competition per anti-trust laws. And that is the case with or without a customs facility.

              One wonders if the city was trying to avoid a lawsuit (from Southwest) by increasing slots and allowing Southwest in??

            5. Spirit FF, the conversation was about tax dollars and economic impact. The noise ordinance is the noise ordinance which can be challenged by anyone anytime. Why invite a whole new category of destinations (the rest of the world vs. domestic), which increase the chances of being sued? Sometimes I think the aviation proponents must be breathing excessive amounts of av fuel as they have no regard or respect about the numerous impacts that airports cause.

  30. There is a silver lining! Though the FIS was voted down, how many people, including HUSH, Rae Gaeblich, Joe Sopo, and the rest, know international flight CAN and do take place from LGB. Outbound flights are not impacted by FIS. There are flights that frequently fly to international destinations from LGB. Also, there are several cities that ‘pre-clear’ custom at origin. And the list will grow!

    Currently, flights from most major Canadian cities, Bermuda, Bahamas, Aruba, Ireland (Shannon and Dublin), and Abu Dhabi in the UAE. LGB could currently handle flights from these cities since US Customs and Immigration are pre-cleared before departing the respective countries. The program will be expanded!

    In November, the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS), announced 11 international airport for future expansion of Customs/Immigration pre-clearance. Those cities are: Bogota Colombia, Buenos Aires Argentina, Edinburgh UK, Keflavik/Reykjavik Iceland, Mexico City Mexico, Milan Italy, Osaka Japan, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo Brazil, St. Maartin. Once approved, these additional cities will pre-clear Customs and Immigration.

    Imagine, flights from Long Beach, the International City, to Abu Dhabi, Osaka, Dublin, Buenos Aires, or Mexico City, all without the need for a customs facility and within the scope of our Noise Ordinance! In fact, DHS has indicated up to 30% of international cities could offer Customer and Immigration pre-clearance.

    Imagine Aer Lingus with nonstop flights from LGB to Ireland! Etihad may not be fare behind with flights from LGB to Abu Dhabi! Thanks to the council for opening up our airport to international flights!

  31. OK Mike Kowal, please don’t insult me and the people that support the airport and businesses of this city. You want us not to hurl insults, then quit insulting the pro airport and business groups. We DO NOT sniff anything, as you indicate!

    Do you want to talk about economic impact? Let’s talk. I’m tired of hearing there is no measurable impact from the airport, despite the city’s own studies which shows $6 million annually per flight is generated.

    Fact! There are 8 planes that overnight at LGB. That’s 40 crew members overnight in LB Area hotels. With an average cost of $100/night, that calculates to approximately $1.5 million in annual hotel revenue – JUST FOR CREW NIGHTS! Add the meals and other expenses, it’s close to $2 million in revenue for the city of LB, just based on a group of 40 people. Over 1.2 million people fly into LGB. Not all will stay in LB Area hotels, but they rent cars (and use local gas stations), take LB Taxis from the airport, all the impact the local LB economy. Plus car rentals and taxis provide tax revenue for the city.

    And regarding international service from LGB, as I indicated, there are planes currently departing the airport for Mexico, Japan, and destinations in Europe – An FIS is not needed for departures. The flights coming back, must stop at a “Port of Entry” airport before continuing to LGB. My point was, when JetBlue gives up slots, there could be an international carrier wanting to come into LGB with the congestion at LAX. Just saying it’s possible, with the pre-clearance cities.

    And to say we don’t think about the impacts of the airport, yes we do. It’s our livelihood, it’s our career, it’s the ability to raise our family. The pro pot smoking, anti-airport (and business) HUSH people don’t realize the people they squash and the careers and livelihoods they destroy. The FIS would have grown several businesses at the airport. Keep in mind, the airport is still not up to capacity, there are still 25 commuter slots. Imagine, 75 flights at LGB!!

    1. Good morning Tom, Just read your comments. First I will apologize for any insults you find directly intended towards you. If you re-read my remarks they were addressed to Spirit FF. It is not my MO to throw the first stone nor are all HUSH members anti airport, pot smokers. We just want to protect and abide by the noise ordinance while keeping the impacts created by aviation operations at the absolute minimum to protect our families and property values. And yes I do understand unfilled capacity and the unintended consequences associated with having an FIS. Now as for the economic impact of LGB, I previously asked “who owns the land”? You remarked something like “it makes no difference!” I suggest, if you truly believe in generating jobs and economic income, you consider the true costs vs. income as to the highest and best use of this land… which by-the-way is owned by the city of Long Beach. Hope you have a nice day, Mike

  32. JetBlue should quit having a focus city for LGB, just as they did for IAD. They should leave entirely, and they should move to LAX.

    1. In fact, they SHOULD let Southwest take over LGB. Southwest has many international routes from LAX and SAN, such as Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. JetBlue can’t have a route there right now because LGB is a regional airport.

  33. Being an Inland Empire resident and frequent flyer I am excited about the potential for Jet Blue to come back to ONT

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Cranky Flier