Private Vehicle Parking Expected to Resume at LAX

LAX parking OK expected

by Brian Simon 

Visitors to Los Angeles International Airport will be allowed to park their cars in the airport’s central terminal area within the next two weeks, according to airport sources. The Federal Aviation Association has issued a waiver exempting LAX from a regulation that forbids private vehicles from parking within 300 feet of airline terminals.

The city’s airport commission is expected to announce which parking structures will be reopened at its October 9 meeting.

Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), the agency that operates LAX, estimates it has lost $20 million since last month’s terrorist attacks, due to decreased parking and landing fees and increased security costs. Taxes from airport parking fees alone generate $6.5 million per year for the city of Los Angeles.

The aviation source said he does not believe the commission will approve private vehicle curbside pick-ups and drop-offs, though that matter is still under review. Presently, only commercial vehicles can drop off passengers in front of terminal entrances.

On Monday, some skycaps returned to work for the first time in three weeks.

The relaxation of airport parking restrictions is expected to ease the recent traffic backlogs that have plagued El Segundo, according to local officials. Passengers have clogged the Sepulveda tunnel and used El Segundo hotels and residential streets for parking. Airport and El Segundo police representatives are meeting weekly to monitor the problem.

LAWA officials hope the return of convenient airport parking will boost travel. LAX is running at 80 percent of normal flight capacity. The sharp drop in travel demand along with stricter security measures have led to layoffs in airline related industries. Major airline companies such as Continental and Delta have announced 20 percent cut backs. About 15,000 LAX related employees have lost their jobs since the September 11 attacks.

Stringent security measures have also taken a toll on airport concessions. Most of the 125 concessionaires inside the airport report markedly lower revenues because non-passengers can no longer meet parties at gates.

Perhaps the most famous landmark at LAX, the 40-year old Theme Building, which houses the Encounter Restaurant, is also in trouble. The restaurant temporarily closed last week because of the restricted parking.

To further bolster security, National Guard troops will arrive Friday to assist at security checkpoints. ER