Study: Fix LAX or fall behind

Focus on international growth


But those projects might not be completed soon enough to keep LAX competitive, according to Frank Clark, executive director of the LAX Terminal Equity Corp., which represents the airport's international carriers.

"I think Los Angeles has the ability to improve its market share if it shows that it's making a genuine effort to modernize the airport," Clark said. "If LAX can't demonstrate that a significant effort is being made, international flights will be sent elsewhere."

LAX is already losing its grip as the West Coast international hub as airports in San Francisco, Phoenix and Las Vegas are looking to become major players, Clark said.

Earlier this week, officials at San Francisco International Airport unveiled plans to add 14 gates as part of a $250 million renovation of its old international terminal.

The project, aimed at better accommodating mega-size airplanes, is scheduled to be completed in about two years - much sooner than the new Midfield Concourse at LAX.

Additionally, San Francisco airport officials are offering significantly reduced landing fees for airlines looking to launch international flights.

Meanwhile, Korean Air launched nonstop service to Las Vegas for the first time last year.

It's unclear how those flights have affected LAX, but Asian tourists are clearly bypassing the City of Angels for the gambling and glitz offered by Sin City, according to Clark.

"These are tourists with a lot of money who would have normally stopped in Los Angeles for a few days before going on to Las Vegas," Clark said. "But now, they don't even need us."

art.marroquin@dailybreeze.com

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