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Airport Board Delays Action on Terminal Use

December 17, 1987|TIM WATERS | Times Staff Writer

The Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners on Wednesday delayed giving approval to regularly scheduled flights by MGM Grand Air out of Los Angeles International Airport's Imperial Terminal.

But El Segundo officials, who have fought for years to curb operations at Imperial, privately said that they still expect the board to approve the airline's request next month.

The board delayed voting on the plan Wednesday because Los Angeles City Councilwoman Ruth Galanter, whose district includes the airport, wants to study the airline's environmental impact report, a representative from Galanter's office said.

El Segundo officials say that their city is afflicted by jet noise from the terminal, which is across Imperial Highway from El Segundo's northern boundary. The terminal was used primarily for irregularly scheduled charter flights until MGM applied for space there. The airline has been operating at the terminal as a so-called "itinerant" airline since September, pending completion of the environmental report.

Under the proposal to be voted on next month, MGM Grand Air would be permitted to use the facility permanently if it adheres to certain noise-mitigation measures.

In an interview this week, El Segundo Planning Director Lynn Harris said that if airport officials allow MGM to operate at the terminal, they would be failing to "honor past promises" not to allow a regularly scheduled airline there.

But Donald Miller, LAX's deputy executive director, said airport officials have never made such promises. Because there is a scarcity of terminal space at the airport's main areas, LAX must make use of the satellite terminal, he said.

Miller also predicted that any increase in jet noise caused by MGM's operations would be insignificant because of the small number of flights scheduled. The airline presently operates two flights daily in each direction between Los Angeles and New York.

Under the proposed noise-mitigation measures, MGM will be limited to five takeoffs and five landings a day at the terminal with the Boeing 727s it now operates. If the airline uses quieter aircraft, the number of flights will not be limited.

MGM pilots must also request permission from the control tower to use "inboard" runways--those farthest from El Segundo--on takeoff and landing. The airline must also reduce the noise caused by the mobile generators used to supply power to aircraft while they are on the ground. Finally, it must install a telephone line to receive noise complaints and must publicize the number.

MGM aims its service at affluent leisure travelers and business executives with a generous expense account. The airline charges $828 for a one-way ticket.

Ron Stevens, MGM's director of sales and marketing, said in an interview that the carrier has spent more than $1 million refurbishing the terminal, which is considers a major asset in promotion because it is located away from the more crowded terminals at LAX.

"One of the things MGM has is a hassle-free environment," Stevens said.

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