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TWA Wins OK for Flights From Burbank Airport

September 26, 1985|GREG BRAXTON | Times Staff Writer

Trans World Airlines has won approval to start service at Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport, a move that immediately drew the wrath of nearby San Fernando Valley homeowners and Burbank city officials.

TWA officials said the airline will begin flying two round trips from Burbank to St. Louis on Nov. 15. The airline will use DC-9-82 planes.

The 7-1 vote by the Airport Authority on Monday came as a blow to those who have been battling to alleviate noise and keep the airport from growing.

Burbank Mayor Mayor Lou Howard, the only authority member to vote against TWA's application to begin service in November, accused her colleagues on the airport's governing board of "rushing through" and "rubber stamping" the service request without concern for residents who would suffer noise and discomfort from the added flights.

'Only City' to Be Impacted

"This was not in the best interest of our community, and we're the only city of the ones represented on the authority who are impacted by the decision," Howard said. "It's our quality of life that is going to change."

She said the approval may also violate the joint-powers agreement of the airport. That agreement stipulates that a majority of the commissioners from any one of the three cities that govern the airport has veto power over many decisions of the authority.

Richard Close, president of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Assn., which has been in the forefront of the long battle over airport noise, said in a telephone interview, "If they can't stop new airlines and new flights from coming in, what controls do they have?

"They could double the flights and we wouldn't be able to stop it."

Commissioner Leland Ayers, one of two other Burbank representatives on the commission, voted yes. The third, Margie Gee, who was absent because of illness, had asked in vain for a postponement of the TWA matter.

In opposing the decision, Howard also said she was trying to decipher what she called a "vague, gray area" on how much authority--if any--the commissioners have in administering policy regarding the introduction of new airlines and added flights.

The nine-member Airport Authority is composed of three members of each of the three cities that own the airport.

Howard also was angry because she and Gee had not been informed about TWA's application until last week, although the airport staff had known about it since April.

But, airport officials said, the authority's approval of the applications was not really needed since the authority's staff had determined that TWA had met all of the criteria for approval.

"The authority's vote is more a ceremonial thing since TWA had met all the requirements," said airport spokesman Victor Gill.

Must Accept Application

Gill and Lee Blackman, attorney for the commission, said the airport must automatically accept the application of an airline that agrees to use the quietest jets available. Blackman said denying an application of an airline that meets all criteria would violate federal law.

"In that case, why bring it before the authority at all?" Howard said. "It's just a rubber stamp, and it does not matter whether there is opposition or discussion. Maybe it's time to change the rules."

The added flights will increase the "noise-impact area"--the area in which the noise from the airport is the greatest--by 7.7 acres. The pattern and sound of the new flights will bring Burbank's noise impact area to 109.7 acres, still within the limit of 330 acres.

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