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Wide-Body Jet Flights End at Burbank

February 05, 1987|DOUG SMITH | Times Staff Writer

With hardly a trace of the publicity and protests that marked its beginning seven months ago, wide-body jet service came to an end at Burbank Airport last weekend, at least for the time being.

Airport officials announced Monday that United Airlines has substituted a smaller, quieter plane for the Boeing 767s that have flown daily between Burbank and Chicago since May 1.

On Saturday, United began using Boeing 737-300s on the flights from Chicago that arrive in the evening and return the next morning. On Dec. 15, the airline had made the same substitution in another Chicago flight, which arrives and departs each afternoon.

Introduction of the 767, the largest commercial jetliner to fly into Burbank Airport, prompted homeowner protests over aircraft noise.

It also moved the Federal Aviation Administration to increase pressure for compliance with its longstanding demands for safety improvements at the 57-year-old airport, where the terminal building and aircraft parking areas are closer to runways than federal regulations now allow.

On safety grounds, homeowners objected to the size of the plane and to allowing United, which at that time had no Burbank flights, to add to the number of flights there.

Because of the debate over safety that followed United's application to use the 767, the FAA banned the use of the airport's east-west runway for eastward takeoffs.

It also ordered the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority to convert about 500 auto-parking spaces to an aircraft-parking apron. Both orders were designed to increase the area between the terminal and where the planes take off.

In a January letter released by the airport authority on Monday, Kenneth R. Lemke, airport affairs administrator for United, gave no specific explanation for the withdrawal of the 767, but cautioned that the change might be seasonal.

Airport spokesman Victor J. Gill said United had many 737s on order when it began service from Burbank and intended all along to withdraw the 767s from Burbank as soon as the new planes were delivered.

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