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Students react to halted international flight plan for LBG airport

Long Beach Officials vote 8-1 against Long Beach Airports international flight proposal.

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The Long Beach City Council voted 8-1 against the proposal to make LBG an international airport.

The Long Beach City Council voted 8-1 against the proposal to make LBG an international airport.

Jose De Castro

Jose De Castro

The Long Beach City Council voted 8-1 against the proposal to make LBG an international airport.

Connie Ojeda, Staff Writer

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After nearly two years of negotiation between JetBlue Airways and Long Beach officials, the international flight plan proposal for Long Beach Airport came to a halt.

The proposal, set forth by JetBlue, called for the addition of international flights along with the construction of a facility for customs and immigration services.

Despite undergoing an extensive study outlining costs and economic benefits, the city council rejected the plan, standing in favor of concerned residents who feared the effects an international airport would pose on traffic, air pollution and noise within the surrounding neighborhoods.

Cal State Long Beach history major Giovanni Castillo was among those expressing concerns about the international flight plan.

“I think they did the right thing by rejecting the proposal. During class you can actually hear the planes flying by,” Castillo said.

Castillo made it clear that adding international flights would not only add to the noise surrounding the school, but also to the traffic.

“If they add a larger airport, traffic is going to get really bad. The 405 [freeway] is already bad as it is. Now imagine with an international airport? I don’t think it would be a benefit to the city,” Castillo said.

Although the city does have a strict noise ordinance in place, limiting flights to 50 a day and setting a curfew for departures and arrivals, the addition of such flights could potentially lead to a reevaluation of the city noise limits – something which students say may disrupt concentration.

Along with Castillo, mathematics graduate student Neera Saxena also agreed with the city ccouncil’s decision.

Saxena said that although an international airport might lead to more international students for the school, it would also add to the pollution and noise within the city.

Saxena gave the example of a friend who lives in El Segundo, a city near LAX, who although has gotten used to the noise and air pollution, still has to cope with lost phone signals.

“Phone calls get disconnected when planes are flying and signals get distorted,” Saxena said.

Despite losing in an 8-1 vote at the city council meeting, the plan still drew many supporters.

Alice Mendoza, a Long beach resident, was among those shocked by the outcome of the vote.

“It’s a big deal because we do have international students that, during vacation, do need to go overseas. I think it’s going to affect a lot of them,” Mendoza said.

Following the rejection on behalf of the city council, JetBlue’s senior vice president, Rob Land released a statement.

“We are profoundly disappointed that after years of delay and a city-mandated study validating the safety, security and economic positive nature of the project that the city council would reject the development of a Federal Inspection Station at Long Beach Airport. JetBlue will evaluate its future plans for Long Beach and throughout the greater Los Angeles Area and California,” he said.

Although many students are glad officials shot down the international travel proposal, students like Mendoza fear the decision may adversely influence flight prices and create a shortage of jobs if JetBlue cuts ties with the Long Beach Airport.

 

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