Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is one of the world’s most well-known airports for both passenger and cargo handling. The cargo facilities at LAX have been there from day one and it has been known for some time that they have to be overhauled and new cargo areas built in order to meet demand for future cargo handling space. However, the project has been put on the backburner by the city officials.
Passengers take priority over cargo
It’s no secret that the LAX cargo area needs revamping and modernization in order to get itself in gear to handle future cargo demand as well as the booming e-commerce business.
However, in a meeting held in Los Angeles on 1. October it was made known that the present plans to upgrade LAX cargo facilities have been put on ice for a further two years. This, apparently because the officials have decided that they have to concentrate first on the passenger area expansion and modernization programme which is expected to cost the city something in the region of US$ 14.3 billion.
‘No time at the moment to concentrate on the air cargo needs’ - this seems to be the decision of the city fathers. Therefore, the decision to shelve the cargo project for at least two years. This would mean that even if a positive decision were to be taken after two years, it would take many more years before it became reality.
A new cargo infrastructure is badly needed
The Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), under which LAX falls, has been ‘considering’ modernizing the LAX cargo area for some years already. Old cargo sheds have to be torn down and replaced with new, modern state-of-the-art facilities geared towards speedy handling of air freight shipments. Those in charge know how important it is to keep LAX in-line with modern cargo developments. It seems however that the passenger expansion plans are taking up all of their time and energy and therefore the cargo community is being left high and dry.
There have been some suggestions to alleviate congestion in the cargo areas. One of them was to ban all import shipments from the area and move them outside the airport. How this can or could be achieved, has not been revealed and will probably not happen.
It is said that plans which were already on the table for future cargo expansion have been scrapped and that when (after two years) the airport decides to take the matter up again, that new bids would have to be entered.
This in effect would mean another decade of no cargo updates or expansion at LAX.
Can they afford to let so much time go down the drain?
John Mc Donagh
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