October 1, 2008
A Setback for Air Travel
Considering the state of the economy, the cost of fuel and the loss of a federal grant, it's not a huge surprise that United Airlines has decided to stop flying out of L.A./Palmdale Regional Airport. But it is a blow to regionalizing air traffic.
It was just a year ago that United decided to return to Palmdale, giving travelers another alternative to the crunch of LAX and the pressure on smaller airports such as Long Beach.To its credit, Los Angeles World Airports, a department of L.A. city government, spent about $5 million on maintenance, staffing, security and marketing at Palmdale to support United's nascent service. But, despite lowering its fares, United just couldn't make its new service fly with travelers.
This is a setback to regionalization, but it shouldn't be its death knell. It's not just a good idea; it's the right way to grow air traffic in this region, where the main airport is already congested and others are limited.
The economy will recover, and when it does, L.A. airport officials should again encourage a major air carrier to return to Palmdale.
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