Re "Airports Bracing for Really Jumbo Jet," May 19: How about a "pay to play" policy for the Airbus A380? Since European governments of the consortium already subsidize the Airbus, it is not a great leap to suggest they should also subsidize airport upgrades to accommodate their own planes.
I suggest it will be simplicity itself to accommodate the super-jumbo jet and its ominous big-budget problem. Some L.A. types say the necessary upgrades will exceed $700 million. Airbus says they will cost only $177 million. I say, add 20% to the Airbus figure and tell the company that you will proceed with the remodeling at once if Airbus picks up any of the tab that exceeds $213 million. Airbus will have a showcase for the new plane and the L.A. folks will have a reasonably priced deal for a change.
Your report on the issues LAX and other airports will face when the Airbus A380 arrives provides an excellent perspective on the impact the super-jumbos will have on LAX structures, runways, taxiways and logistics.
There is one more item I would like to mention that causes great pain to travelers who now arrive at LAX on Boeing 747s from overseas: understaffed INS booths and long lines. Deplaning with a sigh of relief, these poor creatures believe they finally made it to their destination following an exhausting, 15-hour-or-so flight, only to be routed like cattle in long lines past unoccupied INS booths to the few booths that are occupied by generally friendly but overworked INS agents.
To give foreign tourists the right impression of how much we appreciate their visiting us and spending their foreign currency in California, we line them up in a second line, separate from U.S. citizens, and make them wait twice as long. More passengers arriving at the same time on A380s will "enjoy" even longer lines unless the basic problem of INS staffing can be resolved. We don't need to spend billions to accomplish this. Perhaps the time to start is now.
Your article about the new Airbus super-jumbo jet mentioned that LAX may have to spend more than $500 million in runway and facilities expansion to handle that airplane. Just a thought here: Why not use the Palmdale regional airport for the super-jumbos? I would imagine that facilities upgrades there (including a Metrolink station) could be done for substantially less than that figure. Since most arrivals would be international, a U.S. Customs station could be included. An express Metrolink train to Union Station would get travelers easily into L.A. without anyone having to go into or out of LAX.