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City asks Airbus to honor promise to LAX

February 19, 2007|From a Times Staff Writer

The president of the city's Airport Commission sent a strongly worded letter to Airbus' chief executive Sunday asking him to reconsider a decision to send the company's new jumbo jet to New York next month on its inaugural U.S. test flight.

Airbus promised the city's airport agency last year that if it expedited construction of a $9-million gate at Los Angeles International Airport to park the Airbus A380, the manufacturer would bring the jet to LAX first.

But city officials were surprised last week when the company announced that it would take the 555-seat jet to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport and then on to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

"The city of Los Angeles and [officials] at LAX are prepared to welcome the A380 with open arms," Alan I. Rothenberg wrote to Louis Gallois in Toulouse, France. "But first, Airbus must remember the promise it made to the people of Los Angeles."

Airbus' U.S. executives last week denied a similar request by airport officials to reconsider their decision, saying that they were flying the A380 to New York and Chicago at the request of German airline Lufthansa.

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