Ah, the Blakey letter … and the Authority’s recent admission that their runways will never be safe under current standards


Here’s a little problem for the airport’s local boosters and shills.

The FAA has already gone on record that the old Burbank Airport terminal is reasonably safe, and that the long cited runway problem involves not just adjacency to the current buildings but also undershoot and overshoot possibilities.

That’s a problem the proposed “replacement” terminal will not solve. And so according to everyone who’s officially involved in the operation, Burbank still won’t be a truly “safe” airport facility under FAA standards no matter the new terminal.

FAA Says Burbank Doesn’t Need New Terminal

December 20, 2002|Caitlin Liu | Times Staff Writer

Burbank Airport can continue to operate safely without a new passenger terminal, and tens of millions of dollars allocated for a relocation site must be returned since the project has been abandoned, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

“Our long-standing support for the relocation of the terminal was based on our interest in bringing the airfield up to current design standards,” FAA Administrator Marion C. Blakey wrote in a letter Thursday to airport officials. “However … we believe that operations in the present location can continue safely in the future as in the past.”

Blakey’s letter also asked that the Burbank-Glendale-Airport Authority return the money — totaling $42 million in grants and fees — it has received to purchase land for the new terminal. The money has already been used as part of the $86 million the airport spent on a relocation site, said airport spokesman Victor J. Gill. No timetable was set for returning the money.

Blakey noted in her letter “the difficult history” behind the authority’s more than 20-year effort to replace the airport’s aging terminal without being able to reach consensus on the issue.

Last month, airport commissioners voted 5 to 4 to abandon the relocation efforts, citing strong community opposition. Commissioners said the only way they would resurrect the project is if the FAA mandated a move for safety reasons.

Portions of the airport’s 72-year-old passenger terminal are 300 feet from runways, while current building standards mandate a buffer of at least 750 feet. Airport officials have been working toward moving the terminal since at least 1980.

But Blakey made it clear in her letter to authority President Chris Holden that the FAA would not challenge local officials over the relocation issue.

“As the airport operator, it is your decision whether to continue to pursue this project or to terminate it,” Blakey wrote.

Some officials say they believe that the FAA’s position kills any chances that the new terminal project can be revived.

“Let’s put this chapter behind us,” Holden said. “Rather than the salmon swimming upstream, it’s better we put the project to bed.”

In 2011, the Authority spoke of the problem involved with bringing their runways into compliance:

FAA backs off runway plan at Burbank airport, yet sticks by north runway plan for LAX

The Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority announced March 9 that it formally concurs with a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) finding that full compliance with FAA runway safety area standards at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank by 2015 is not practicable.

According to a press release, “The FAA cited the fact that requiring fully compliant runway safety areas (RSAs) – RSA is a surface surrounding the runway that has been prepared for reducing the risk of damage to airplanes in the event of an undershoot, overshoot, or excursion from the runway – at Bob Hope Airport would introduce significant operational constraints, be financially and legally infeasible, would require acquisition of large amounts of private property beyond the boundary of the airport, and would require lowering of highways and railroads.”

Move highways and bridges? Buy lots of private property offsite?

We’re not hearing about this runway problem now, are we? It’s certainly not part of Measure B, is it?

The boosters do keep talking over and over again that we need to have a “safe” and “modernized” airport facility, and that that’s one of the big points in approving it. But it looks like it still won’t be so even if they get their replacement terminal, at least if their safety concerns remain logically consistent.

Hilariously, the Authority cited Blakey in their 2011 letter to the FAA about why the current facility is safe enough:

The airport authority included in its letter to the FAA information sent to the group by Marion Blakey, the former FAA administrator. She wrote, “that operations at Bob Hope Airport can continue safely in the current configuration. Our longstanding support for the relocation of the terminal was based on our interest in bringing the airfield up to current design standards and providing the highest level of safety. However, given the special operating procedure in effect for the airport and the long history of operations with the terminal, we believe that operations in the present location can continue safely in the future as in the past. As the airport operator, it is your decision whether to continue to pursue this project or terminate it,” Blakey said.

So why that new airport terminal again? It’s still not safe? Isn’t that the whole point of re-doing it? Is it safe enough as they say then? Or, will the Authority be changing the runways as well some day, but don’t want to talk about it right now.

And for good reasons, too. For a start, bigger runways mean bigger operations.  That’s one way you pay for them.

Again, what’s the point of spending $400 million on an expensive project to replace an airport facility that most people already like if it’s not going to accomplish one of the main goals behind the replacement: to be safe under current FAA regulations?







Filed under Uncategorized

10 responses to “Ah, the Blakey letter … and the Authority’s recent admission that their runways will never be safe under current standards

  1. Anonymous 3

    What are you going to DO when Measure B passes?

    Will your head explode?

    Because it is coming. Gordon has admitted as much.

    • semichorus

      Laugh like hell. Burbank will have shot itself in the foot.

      Bad idٚeas never turn out well, especially when they’re done sleazily. It’ll be a community nightmare.

    • Anonymous

      Anus 3: “Because it is coming. Gordon has admitted as much.” Actually, you’re a liar. I met with him over the weekend. He says it could and should fail. Again, “anus” you a pathetic troll, who has no life outside of harassing others.

  2. Anonymous 3

    SAFER is good.

    • Anonymous

      There is no safety issue, nor a security issue. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. You’re the only frantic, delusional, tinfoil-hat wearing, spooks-under-the-bed troll here, A3

  3. Anonymous

    Looks like even fewer people will use the BURBANK airport. This is the kinda thing Council should focus on:

    Warner Music Group is considering moving its west coast headquarters from Burbank to downtown Los Angeles, Billboard has learned.

    According to sources, executives at the company, which encompasses labels Warner Bros. Records, Atlantic and Rhino, among others, are eyeing the Ford Factory in downtown’s newly reinvigorated arts district. The new west coast headquarters would also move other WMG businesses — like publishing company Warner/Chappell — into a unified space, according to sources.

    Currently, Warner Bros. Records (which counts Green Day, Michael Buble, Jason Derulo and Red Hot Chili Peppers on its roster) is based out of an iconic ski lodge-like structure on the Warner Bros. Studios lot (the lease expires in late 2017), while Atlantic and Rhino reside across the 134 highway on Olive Ave.

    Warner Music Group’s Losses Shrink, Revenue Up 14 Percent

    Built in 1914, the Ford Factory building (at 7th Street and Santa Fe) is a registered historic landmark for having housed the Ford Motor plant during the Model T era.

    Ever since Buzzfeed was rumored to be closing in on a huge leasing deal last year at the Ford Factory, the five-story 250,000-square-foot building has been the subject of much scrutiny. The developer Shorenstein Properties bought the property in 2014 for $37 million with plans to turn it into a mixed use development. According to its website, the redesign and reconstruction will “employ highly sustainable strategies and seek LEED® certification.”

    Representatives for WMG and for CBRE, the leasing agent on the building, declined to comment.

    • semichorus

      If this happens, WMG will be abandoning the only architecturally interesting building in Burbank. The only decent one built within the last 40 years. Adolph’s Meat Tenderizer on Magnolia was the other, built 50 years ago.

      Which means of course that it will be torn down or remodeled.

  4. Steven

    I think the intersection and length of the runways are being overlooked by the people who are so concerned about safety. Anybody else notice the safety people really bring up amenities like stores and eateries more than they bring up real safety issue. I love the dog poo area how can people bring their dogs on planes isn’t that forbidden and they are stuck in crates in cargo or did something change ?

    • semichorus

      Runway length vis a vis “safety” is being ignored by the booster crowd.

      And for good reason. A new airport still won’t be “safe” under their very own model. Unless they buy up SF Road and HWY Way.

      So that shoots down their safety argument — which means that next they’ll start repeating this lie that the current terminal was “Built in 1930..!”


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