SOURCE: Los Angeles World Airports

April 10, 2006 21:41 ET

Mayor Villaraigosa Supports Federal Grant Sought by Palmdale Regional Airport to Help Attract Air Service to Southern California

LOS ANGELES, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- April 10, 2006 --Continuing with the goal of regionalizing Southern California airports, and seeking to accelerate the growth of regional airports in the Southland, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa today announced support for the City of Palmdale's federal grant application to the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), to receive funds that would help attract commercial air service at Palmdale Regional Airport (PMD).

"Wheels up Palmdale," a coalition which includes the City of Palmdale, the County of Los Angeles and LAWA, filed an application seeking $900,000 in federal grants from the USDOT's Small Community Air Service Development Program (SCASDP). SCASDP is a program that was established in 2000 to secure enhancements that will be responsive to a community's air transportation needs and whose benefits can be expected to continue after the initial expenditures. SCASDP authorizes the United States Transportation Secretary to make a maximum of 40 grants each year.

The coalition and a number of additional public and private sector partners also pledged in the grant application, an additional $1.15 million in cash contributions and $3.58 million in other contributions such as advertising, marketing support and airport terminal rent abatements.

"Commercial air service plays an important role in providing access for business and leisure travelers. Moreover, commercial air service provides great support for the area's communities, businesses, organizations and institutions," stated Mayor Villaraigosa in a letter to Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta. "I am committed to strengthening Southern California's regional aviation system... and fostering the long-term viability of Palmdale Regional Airport is one of the many ways regional aviation in Southern California can be advanced," Mayor Villaraigosa added.

PMD, located approximately 76 miles northeast of Los Angeles International Airport and 70 miles north of downtown Los Angeles, is one of four airports including Los Angeles International (LAX), Ontario International (ONT) and Van Nuys (VNY) airports that are owned and operated by the City of Los Angeles through Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA).

PMD has been cited by Mayor Villaraigosa, LAWA and the Southern California Association of Governments as having a key role in meeting the expected doubling of demand for air service in the region over the next 25 years, and though PMD is one of the fastest-growing regions of California, it has lacked consistent commercial air service since 1998.

In the grant application, the coalition stated that it wants to initiate 50-seat regional jet service at PMD by developing a revenue guarantee program to support the initial phase of air service. This revenue guarantee program will be designed to attract non-stop service to the hub of a major U.S. airline in the Western U.S. by minimizing the initial business risk a carrier would face in entering a new market. The revenue guarantee will be a short-term program tailored to "jumpstart" the new regional jet service by mitigating an airline's risk.

A secondary goal to which any grants funds will be dedicated is the promotion of new regional jet service at PMD, to develop awareness within the local community that PMD is again open for business once an air carrier agrees to serve the market.

PMD also represents a critical component to the comprehensive regional air transportation plan for the Los Angeles region as well as all of Southern California. Re-introduction of scheduled service at PMD will alleviate air traffic congestion at LAX as well as surface transportation leading to LAX and Burbank on critically impacted roadways.

Mayor Villaraigosa called on government officials, organizations and individuals throughout the region to join him in urging approval of the grant application. Letters of support should be directed to Secretary Mineta at the USDOT, 400 7th Street SW, Washington, DC 20950.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    LAWA Public Relations
    310-646-5260