Four weeks ago I had a frustrating and embarrassing experience at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) that underscores the urgency of modernizing our airport and widening the distance between the two runways on the north airfield.
My wife and I were flying home from a delightful anniversary trip on an Airbus 380 airplane. After we landed on the north airfield, the pilot brought the plane to a dead stop on the active runway for nearly five minutes. The pilot had no other option because there is no taxiway on which to exit an A380, and another plane was approaching the runway to the left over which we had to cross. I felt like the dead skunk in the middle of the road even though I was sure that air traffic control was aware of the situation and had delayed the flights behind us from landing while we sat on an active runway.
After air traffic control delayed the flights on the runway to our left, we crossed over that runway and began our taxi to the international terminal. There we waited another 40 minutes for a gate to open up because LAX has only three gates that can service an A380.
All total, it was nearly an hour between landing and deplaning after a 12-hour flight. And we still had customs ahead of us. No one on that flight was smiling when they deplaned except the Air France attendants who were trying their best to make the end of our flight as pleasant as the beginning.
Modern airports that cater to international travelers must have the facilities to handle the new generation of bigger and more fuel efficient planes like the A380 and the Boeing 787. I can assure you that as I deplaned that day, I did not tell anyone that I was the CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. I was embarrassed for the City of Angels and for the inaction that led to this horrific welcome to the United States for so many international visitors. It's time to Fix LAX Now.
And that's The Business Perspective.
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