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Oxnard to Ask Mesa Airlines to Agree Not to Fly Jet Planes

Airport: Residents cheer vote to urge company to use only quieter turboprop or piston-driven craft.

September 21, 2000|GAIL DAVIS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

OXNARD — The City Council voted Tuesday to ask Phoenix-based Mesa Airlines to voluntarily agree to fly only turboprop or piston-driven planes into Oxnard Airport.

The city will forward the request to the Ventura County Board of Supervisors, which has final say in airport operations and approved a lease agreement last week that allows the airline to run two flights a day between Oxnard and Phoenix.

Tuesday's proposal was made by Mayor Manuel Lopez and cheered at the meeting by residents who complained that the airport causes too much noise and pollution and should be closed.

Some residents said they feared Mesa would establish itself at the airport and then switch from propeller planes to noisier 37-seat jets, which are rapidly replacing turboprop planes in smaller markets.

On other routes, Mesa has been replacing its propeller planes with the small jets, which travelers prefer, but Hal Fahrenbruch, manager of properties and facilities for Mesa Airlines, said that might not happen in Oxnard.

"There are some cities who are obviously in need of the larger aircraft and where that's needed, of course that's what we'll do, but that's not anything to do with Oxnard Airport," Fahrenbruch said.

He declined to comment on the council's decision.

County counsel Jim McBride said the request will not alter the lease and that the county has no authority to impose restrictions on what planes Mesa can fly. He added that Mesa could voluntarily honor the spirit of the request and agree not to fly jets.

The council vote was 4 to 0. Councilman Tom Holden was absent.

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