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On Tuesday, May 10, 2011 LAWA (Los Angeles World Airports) responded to KCBS-TV and its radio affiliates that No Taxpayers’ Dollars Used for LAWA Executives Travel.
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Here is the statement issue by LAWA:

KCBS-TV and its radio affiliates have aired stories inaccurately reporting that taxpayers’ dollars are used to fund business travel by Los Angeles World Airports executives. Supporting documents, on-camera interview, and the following statement were provided KCBS-TV during the preparation of its stories:

“KCBS-TV received copies of LAWA’s travel policy and all travel expense reports dated January 1, 2010 to March 31, 2011 by Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) senior executives and the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners. KCBS also received expense reports for all LAWA employees who traveled using business-class fares during this same period.

LAWA’s established travel policy closely adheres to the City’s travel policy. The City Controller’s Office reviews and approves all expense reports, and has not notified LAWA of any violations.

LAWA commissioners and employees travel to: develop air service by recruiting new airlines to LAX and ONT; retain and expand air service from existing airlines at LAX and ONT; gain in-depth knowledge of best practices in airport operations, security, finance and other areas of management; tour new airport facilities; meet with state and federal officials; and attend industry conferences or other professional development events. In particular, LAWA senior executives traveled overseas to meet airline CEOs to describe the Bradley West Project and conduct press conferences with local and industry media on the LAX modernization program and new air service.

Unlike other City departments, LAWA’s customers (airlines and their passengers) extend beyond the City’s boundaries to over 65 international and 80 U.S. destinations.

Business-class fares are allowed under both the City and LAWA policies for transoceanic travel of extended duration. During this 15-month period, a total of 12 business-class seats were purchased:

  1. • Feb. 14-17, 2010: LAX-Lima-LAX — one seat for air service development director
  2. • April 16-21, 2010: LAX-Brisbane-Adelaide-Sydney-LAX — one seat for air service development director
  3. • June 12-18, 2010: LAX-economy to Chicago-Madrid-London-Paris-Frankfurt-LAX — one seat for air service development director
  4. • June 13-18, 2010: LAX-London-Paris-Frankfurt-LAX — two seats for executive director and deputy executive director
  5. • June 13-21, 2010: LAX-London-Paris-economy to LAX — one seat for airport commissioner
  6. • Oct. 10-14, 2010: LAX-Dubai-economy to Doha-first class to Abu Dhabi (cost less than economy)-drive to Dubai-LAX — three seats for executive director, deputy executive director and air service development director
  7. • Oct. 30-Nov. 3, 2010: LAX-economy to New York-Tel Aviv-Paris-LAX — one seat for assistant police chief
  8. • Dec. 5-8, 2010: LAX-economy to Dallas-San Jose, Costa Rica-Dallas-economy to LAX — one seat for air service development director
  9. • March 26-29, 2011: LAX-Seoul-LAX — one seat for air service development director

Unlike most City departments, LAWA receives NO revenue from the City’s General Fund and must generate our own funding for operating LAX, LA/Ontario International and Van Nuys airports, and aviation property in Palmdale. LAWA also receives NO state or federal funds for our operating costs, other than partial reimbursement of our costs associated with compliance of federally mandated security measures.

No local, state or federal taxpayer dollars are used to pay for LAWA’s travel expenses, including these 12 business-class seats that totaled $98,547, or 0.012 percent of our $817.5 million operating budget during these past 15 months.

LAWA is receiving a return on its continuing investment in overseas travel. Within the past year, four international carriers new to LAX (Air Berlin, Alitalia, Turkish and Iberia) and two existing airlines (Emirates and All Nippon Airlines) introduced a total of 30 new weekly international flights representing nearly one million annual seats at LAX. This new service generated $4.3 million in actual new revenues to LAWA for the same 15-month period. Estimated Fiscal Year 2012 revenues from these airlines, based on the airlines’ current airport traffic and projected schedules, is over $9.5 million.

It also should be noted that the 30 new weekly flights (equivalent to four daily flights) have significant positive impacts to our region, as the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation reports that one average daily, roundtrip, transoceanic flight to/from LAX generates $623 million in economic output annually, and sustains 3,120 direct and indirect jobs in Southern California with annual wages of $156 million.”


About LAWA: Los Angeles World Airports is the Los Angeles city department that owns and operates a system of three airports: Los Angeles International (LAX), LA/Ontario International (ONT) and Van Nuys (VNY). Each plays an integral role in helping to meet the Southern California regional demand for passenger, cargo and general aviation service. Each airport makes a distinct contribution to the strength of the system as it provides a high level of safety, security and service for its customers, communities and stakeholders. LAX is the sixth busiest airport internationally and third in the U.S. ONT ranks 59 among U.S. airports. VNY ranks 25 internationally in the number of flight operations, and is the world’s busiest general aviation airport. Los Angeles World Airports is a self-supporting branch of the City of Los Angeles, governed by a seven-member Board of Airport Commissioners. The Board is composed of public-spirited business and civic leaders who are appointed by the mayor and approved by the City Council. For more information visit LAWA at http://www.lawa.org/
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Sources: LAWA  Photos credit to: LAWA

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Editor’s Note: What do you think about this investigation by KCBS-TV Channel 2 which it was broadcast on Monday, May 9, 2011 at their 11:00 pm news. Do you care about the expensive trips the LAWA executives did?

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