Minimal delay expected as LAX moves one of four runways

Fri August 04, 2006 - West Edition
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LOS ANGELES (AP) Delays of up to six minutes for incoming flights at Los Angeles International Airport are expected for the next eight months because one of four airport runways is being moved 55 feet south.

Construction crews began demolition of the southernmost runway, known as 25 Left, aJuly 31 as part of the airport’s $333 million relocation project, airport spokeswoman Nancy Castles said.

The construction project was expected to delay arriving flights five to six minutes until the new runway is completed in eight months, Castles said. The relocated runway is used only for arriving flights.

But dawn fog and drizzle on the first day of work combined to delay incoming flights by about 30 minutes during the peak morning period beginning at 6:30 a.m.

"The weather did not cooperate with us," Castles said. "Normally we have 59 flights per hour and today we had 52 to 54 flights per hour."

The new runway - 11,095 feet long and 200 feet wide - will be completed in eight months and reopened. Construction will then begin on the airport’s center taxiway with completion expected in two years.

Moving the runway and creating the taxiway are designed to make runway incursions less likely and prepare LAX for the next generation of Airbus 380 jumbo jets, airport officials said.

It’s the first major project in two decades at Los Angeles International Airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration recently took the unusual step of urging the airport’s 85 airlines to rework their schedules to cut back their peak-time LAX operations.

The airport averages 1,800 daily flights and will serve an estimated 18.7 million passengers this summer, 200,000 more than last year.

United Airlines, with 389 daily flights, and American Airlines, with 154, have added several minutes to their "block time" (gate to takeoff) to account for potential delays.

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