The Long Beach Airport – a Traffic-Congestion Reliever of the Los Angeles Airport
The Long Beach Airport (LGB) in California is a low-fare carrier, lately introduced as a Los Angeles area hub reliever, upon launching its project of the developing passenger-oriented facilities; it has to provide funding for the noise program and maintain a strong coordinated strategy, while working with the community and the airports users (Woodward, Briscoe & Dunholter, 2009). Construction of the ground transportation center, realignment and reconfiguration of the terminal roadways, modernization of the historic terminal and runway rehabilitation are the major scheduled improvements of the airport that helped it to provide more than 43,000 of the working places and boost regional economic growth to more than $11 billion (Long Beach Airport, 2012). For the purposes of these modernizations the designs included realignment and reconfiguration of the north and south concourses, utilization of the consolidated area for security screening and installation of the solar panels that help to reserve energy resources (Richards, 2012). These improvements are based on the multi-pronged approach that helps to reduce the level of emissions from the operational and maintenance procedures, and provide sufficient water and power savings for the community benefits (Long Beach Airport, 2012).
Moreover, LGB pays a roll of the reliever of the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) attracting some general aviation traffic away from the airport and helping it to improve the use of the airside in the whole region (FAA, 2007). LGB participated in the Airport Development Aid Program, because it cannot use City Council’s funds for construction, installation and safety equipment and generates income via users’ fees and lease revenue (Long Beach Airport, 2012). Since permanent facilities of LGB were inadequate, the airport used trailers for temporary hold-rooms (Richards, 2012). The project estimated by $45 million was developed on the restrictions of eighty two air carrier operations per day; because LGB was introduced as a reliever small/non-hub airport with passenger services (Richards, 2012). Moreover, a two-year airfield geometry study is being conducted, in order to analyze the possibility of closing or shortening of two north-south runways, taking into account operational, financial and safety benefits (Belk, 2012). This study was launched by the airport, considering reconfiguration and modernization of the new general aviation facility and LGB’s necessity of relocating the tie-downs and hangars to an ideal location at Million Air North’s five year lease (Belk, 2012).
Other aspects of the project included utilization of the FIDS/BIDS/GIDS systems and usage of the mobile staircases instead of boarding and loading bridges (Richards, 2012). These measures help to facilitate operational environment of the airport, taking into account its constantly changing conditions.
The Actions that LGB Takes Toward Sustainability
Until a new general aviation facility can be located and developed by the airport, it faces local opposition, because the main objective of the project is to preserve and safeguard small and compact area of the iconic terminal. The airport management reconsidered the decision against boarding bridges, because the cost for each two-story structure bridge reaches up to $500,000 (Richards, 2012). Instead the airport looks forward to redevelop the security screening building that is accessed from 20,000-square-foot plaza for meeting and departing area (Richards, 2012). Moreover, LGB sought a silver level certification from Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) program and replaced airside, taxiway lights with the light-emitting diodes (LED) that use less energy and have greater lifespan (Richards, 2012). For the saving purposes, the rooftop solar panels and low-flow and no-flow bathroom fixtures are used to offset of the concourses power usage and save sufficient amount of water, respectively (Belk, 2012).
As a matter of fact, the new concourses were designed, taking into account advances in the technology of producing high take-off and landing that allow further reduction in the runway requirements (Ashford, Mumayiz & Wright, 2010). The airport’s layout and aircraft performance largely depend on the runway requirements (FAA, 2007). Therefore, the reliever airport’s task is to exercise sufficient capacity limits, while still trying to avoid flight path conflicts within the approach and airspace operations (FAA, 2007). Therefore, the airport should not exceed the noise budget restrictions, if its management systems strive to improve passenger services and ameliorate airside capacity in the region of interest (Woodward, Briscoe & Dunholter, 2009).
Since the airport develops green initiatives, the LGB complex area considers usage of the glazed windows with power-saving lighting, rising of the central garden, onsite relocation of the demolished materials and also polishing of the concrete floors that do not require additional treatment, as effective measures that align the airport’s vision of sustainability (Richards, 2012). For the purpose of reducing construction emissions, the majority of the demolished and recycled material remains onsite for the use in the final construction design (Long Beach Airport, 2012). Moreover, being a non-hub airport, LGB reduces costs from the airlines point of view by centralizing aircraft maintenance procedures at the hub airport.
Therefore, sustainability matters consider environmental, financial and operational aspects of the modernization efficiency. In addition, the airport has to rearrange maintenance of the private and commercial aircraft by relocating them with Million Air North for reasonable prices, taking into account loss of general aviation users, due to the recession (Belk, 2012).
Improvement of the Technological Services for the LGB’s Future Operations
Qualitative methods helped to identify that the airport participates in the LEED standards programs, in order to reduce waste and emission levels from the demolished construction materials (Long Beach Airport, 2012). Quantative methods helped to identify that the airport employs a multi-pronged approach based on the straightening of the funding requirements and justifying local planning requirements, in order to deliver sound, data-driven and collaboratively developed transportation plans (Long Beach Airport, 2012).
Data collection methods helped to identify that the airport looks forward to increase revenue in 20% by contracting services for equipment, maintenance and advertising of its operations (Richards, 2012). In fact, data analysis methods helped to justify efficiency of the airport’s FIDS/BIDS/GIDS systems that increase traffic by providing an efficient information exchange (Abeyrathe, 2012). Moreover, the mobile staircases and preconditioned air technologies are designated to reduce electrical power consumption.
Comparison methods helped to identify that the abovementioned technological improvements will consequently lead to reduction of the emission rates, effectively coordinate directional signage, diversify general aviation traffic and provide capacity for a certain type of traffic (FAA, 2007). Therefore, the key internal and external factors are identified in order to access environmental and community benefits from the LGB’s terminal modernization.
Internal and External Factors of LGB’s Project Effectiveness
The strengths that give the airport advantage over others are based on designing of the new parking structure that consolidates distances between airport parking and walking areas, and furthermore utilization of the mobile staircases and ramps for the ground-loading passengers (Long Beach Airport, 2012). Moreover, the LGB area complex supports 18, 000 working places that will help to raise the total employment impact within the region with creating 25, 000 jobs (Long Beach Airport, 2012). The airport has opportunities to improve environmental and aircraft performances, to increase air quality and reduce waste, generated from the demolished materials, with construction of the ground transportation facility, realignment and reconfiguration of the terminal roadways and improvement to connector taxiways (Long Beach Airport, 2012).
However, weaknesses of the airport’s project are concerned around LGB’s role of the traffic-congestion reliever of LAX for the low-cost passenger services, and the complex area’s necessity to reduce its carrier operations, due to slot regulations and recession (Richards, 2012). Additionally, the airport’s existing site provides only 100 tie-downs, 36 T-hangars and a 200,000 gallon-bulk fuel facility for receiving, storing and dispersing of jet fuel to the commercial carriers (Belk, 2012). These conditions forced the airport to launch the airfield geometry study and settle the limit of the noise budget, in order to avoid airspace conflicts with the commercial airport and provide sufficient airside capacity (FAA, 2007). For that purpose, the airport has relocated the tie-downs and hangars to the Middle Air North on a short-term basis (Belk, 2012). Moreover, the LGB area complex may face threats of losing general aviation users, from a five-year lease, extended by the Long Beach City Council, which can be terminated within a 180 days, if the airport’s timeframe of funding new location will remain uncertain (Belk, 2012).
On the other hand, the airport’s technological improvements, possibility to generate income from the users’ fees and opportunity to house 5 % of all Long Beach business establishments will definitely help the LGB area complex to increase revenue by 20%, if it manages to stay within the noise budget and ameliorates the consequences of the increased operations (FAA, 2007; Long Beach Airport, 2012). Moreover, LGB received $ 8,1 million funds for installation of electrical power, airfield geometry study and airfield improvements from FAA, due to its efficient green initiatives (Long Beach Airport, 2012).
Environmental and Community Benefits from LGB’s Future Operations
Apart from providing of 43,000 of jobs and generating more than $11 billion to the regional economy, the LGB complex area reduces construction emissions by 1, 1 million pounds by eliminating 6,600 diesel haul-truck trips of the necessity to remove demolished construction, which will be further used in the final construction (Long Beach Airport, 2012). Moreover, installation of the rooftop solar panels will help to save up to 13% of the power generated by the concourses (Richards, 2012). The airport is planning to use the irrigation systems with the low-flow or no-flow bathrooms, in order to reduce water consumption, which was decreased by 296, 745 gallons in 2012, due to the installation of the waterless urinals (Long Beach Airport, 2012).
The airport utilizes air-conditioned underground power conversion for the operations and maintenance of the diesel aircraft ground equipment, which help to reduce ramp emissions by three million pounds per year (Long Beach Airport, 2012). Moreover, preconditioned air and electrical power help to eliminate the need for an aircraft to use auxiliary power unit for additional power generation in the cases of the engine failure (Long Beach Airport, 2012). These measures help to reduce diesel particulate emission level of dispersal and reduce air carrier ramp emissions.
It is important to mention that the planned traffic advisory takes less time at a non-hub airport, helping LGB to reduce emissions levels by cleaning, catering and refueling of the aircraft in the hub airport (Belk, 2012). These conditions allow faster turnaround period for the flights to the hub airport and reduce costs from the airlines point of view.
Improved Operational Environment with Utilized Display Systems and Considered Runway Requirements
The airport considers provision of the automated control systems to be sufficient for the distribution and display of critical information to the passengers, airport operational staff and airport management (Belk, 2012). Flight Information Display Systems (FIDS) became of the main importance to the departing passengers, because these systems helped to increase traffic and provide informational exchange (Abeyrathe, 2012). Presence of the Gate Information Display Systems (GIDS) requires provision of the second computer that will drive data to the gate display and update the status of the gate agents’ stand-by list (Abeyrathe, 2012). However, it was researched that utilization of the GIDS systems will diminish LGB complex area in order to use the gate for common purposes when the airport only contains eleven gates (Richards, 2012). Moreover, increasing of traffic leads to the improved operations and further noise consequences that the airport must consider for the sufficient airside capacity between its complex area and main hub airport (Curran et al., 2011).
The airfield geometry study that considers the possibility of shortening or closing of two north-south runways takes into account eighteen miles proximity between the LGB and LAX, whose operational interference may result in holding and delaying of the departures (Long Beach Airport, 2012). However, these runways can be developed in the tandem-parallel configuration, which will help to reduce taxiing distances with using one runway for take-off operations and other – for landing operations (Ashford, Mumayiz & Wright, 2010). These measures can be considered sufficient, taking into account that LGB as the reliever non-hub airport provides services for the small private aircrafts and mid-size commercial aircrafts, whose performance will not be altered by the reduced size of the particular runway, where traffic advisory warning does not exceed prescribed safety zone (FAA, 2007; Richards, 2012).
Therefore, the runway reconfiguration will not only relieve aerodrome handling capacity, but reduce emission levels, due to the reduced time-in-flight between the main and reliever airports (FAA, 2007).
The Long Beach Airport in the California undergoes reconfiguration and modernization of the general aviation facility under design projects estimated for $45 million. The airport’s vision of sustainability is represented by construction of the transportation facility, improvements of the terminal roadways, modernization of the 1941 terminal and rehabilitation of the runways. In order to prove the project’s sufficiency and efficiency, the LGB complex area participates in LEED program, based on the multi-pronged approach. The approach considers straightening of the FAA grant of $ 8, 1 million by green initiatives that predetermine installation of the electrical power, financial and operational efficiency of the airfield geometry study and airfield improvements.
Total funding of FAA, utilization of the mobile loading and boarding staircases and ramps, as well as consolidation of new parking structure with walking distance to the terminal are considered internal factors that help to achieve the airport’s goals toward improved environment operations. Yet, noise budget settlement and necessity of relocating tie-downs and hangars, required for increased carrier operations, represent external factors that could cause the airport to loss general aviation users.
Regardless the fact that the airport must settle issue of funding of the noise program, it manages to work effectively with the community and the airport users. For that purpose, the airport implements strategies of onsite localization and subsequent utilization of the demolished materials, usage of the LED lights and irrigation systems that help to reserve energy and reduce construction emissions.