In 1968, the Los Angeles Department of Airports dispatched a special team to find the best location for a secondary airport in order to handle its growing mass of airline travelers.
When the report’s selection was announced — naming Palmdale as the best site — it became an enormous impact story for this Great Suburban Newspaper.
William Pereira, the top architect for LAX, came to Palmdale and predicted that the city would have a population of two million in the not-too-distant future.
The department bought up 17,000 acres of land to the east of Air Force Plant 42 for the future development of what was sometimes called the Palmdale Intercontinental Airport.
This newspaper published literally dozens of editorials calling for the “early development” of the new airport, but it just never happened.
Los Angeles airport officials on Friday released a plan to add land east of Sepulveda Boulevard to expand LAX, which is now heavily piled up on only 3,500 acres.
In a 142-page environmental impact document, city officials said the expansion would bring more sophisticated facilities for travelers, improve runway safety, and add at least 21 gates for domestic and international flights.
It was reported that the new and expanded terminals should open before Los Angeles hosts the 2028 Summer Olympic Games.
The expansion plans come on the heels of the city’s ongoing $14 billion effort to overhaul the aging airport’s road network and terminals.
The new facility should be ready in a mere 60 years after the searchers for an expansion site selected Palmdale in 1968.
How’s that for a badly needed urban renewal plan?
A circulator train, called a “people mover,” designed to serve LAX passengers broke ground in March of this year.
The new terminal would have its own security processing, drop-off area and parking garage, and would be connected to the rest of the central terminal area with a pedestrian bridge over Sepulveda, the document says. Some jet plane passengers would have to walk.
Officials to the south of the LAX expansion area are complaining that the expansion program will expose residents to more noise, traffic, pollution and nearly a decade of construction.
As for the Palmdale Intercontinental Airport, it was never developed because of inadequate transportation systems between the L.A. metropolitan area and the Antelope Valley city.
In 2016, as part of a settlement agreement with neighborhood groups, LAX officials indefinitely shelved longtime plans to move the northern runways closer to homes to the north, the study says.
The L.A. Department of Airports built a terminal facility on Air Force Plant 42 and several airline companies from time to time attempted to develop profitable flights from and to the Palmdale Regional Airport.
Not one of the airlines achieved success because of the lack of passengers in the region and poorly selected destinations.
On June 19, 1985, the city of Los Angeles acquired Ontario International Airport and placed it under the auspices of LAWA. On Nov. 1, 2016, the city of Ontario took back control of the airport.
If high-speed transportation had been developed between the L.A. Basin and Palmdale in the past century, the Palmdale Intercontinental Airport might have alleviated the problems of the horrifically overcrowded LAX, but it never came to pass.
There will be much more heavy traffic and long lines at the expensive expansion area.
The L.A. Basin is stuffed full of residents who now number more than 10 million people.
The indecisive planning by generations of airport officials has left America’s second largest city with massive passenger departure and arrival problems at LAX.
But that’s where the region stands as of 2019.