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Editorial

April 22, 2000

To the casual airport observer, the past several months have been a

blur of events and developments with the cumulative effect of

accomplishing exactly nothing.

From the collapse of the framework deal and the triumph, disaster and

rebirth of the Restore Our Airport Rights initiative, to the pledge by

the City Council to pursue a binding public vote on any airport deal and

the near disaster when an airplane skidded off the runaway onto Hollywood

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Way, even those who are directly involved in the proceedings must be

excused for asking "what does it all mean?"

With the announcement that a new federal Part 161 study is on the

horizon, we not only have seemingly lost any momentum that was building

to solve the terminal puzzle, we appear to be right back at square one:

The Airport Authority and the Federal Aviation Administration are

insisting the only way to obtain a mandatory flight curfew at Burbank

Airport is through the Part 161 study and the city is equally insistent

that no new terminal be built without a nighttime curfew.

As recently as last year, before the Framework for Settlement was

signed, the Airport Authority was making plans to conduct a Part 161

study, its application to the federal government for noise-control

measures. That effort never got off the table, in part because of deep

distrust by Burbank officials that the airport would not play fair. Now,

the city is endorsing the $4-million study, which is expected to take two

to three years to complete.

Why the change of heart?

The answer is that after years of rancorous negotiations and

litigation, the city and the airport have finally realized they will have

to work together to get what they want. Finally, the shared objective is

to convince the FAA that a safer and more modern terminal will not be

built in Burbank -- not this year, not 10 years from now -- without

meaningful noise protections for the residents of this city.

This time around it's in everyone's best interest to cooperate. With

the Part 161 study, a new terminal at Burbank Airport is several years

away at the earliest. Without it, the city and the airport are headed for

a new round of stalemate, and possibly, a new round of litigation as

well.

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