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Airport commissioners preview budget

first_imgLos Angeles airport commissioners received a preview Monday of their proposed $1.2 billon budget for fiscal 2006-07, the beginning of a 10-year, $4 billion LAX modernization plan. Karl Pan, chief financial officer of the department, said the budget – an increase over the current year budget of $1.09 billion – is the first to reflect the renovation. The project will be the first major construction at Los Angeles International Airport since 1984, when the double decking was added. Commissioners are scheduled next week to adopt the budget, which also funds operations at Ontario and Van Nuys airports. Related to its efforts to generate more revenue and lure more tourists from abroad, the commission also agreed to a five-year, $30 million promotion with L.A. Inc., which coordinates efforts to bring in visitors and conventions. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinals“Twenty years ago, there were only 22 airports in the country seeking international tourists,” said Mike Collins, vice president of L.A. Inc. “Today, there are 45 or 46 that are trying to tap into this market. And, they aren’t trying to develop new markets, they are trying to pick off what we get.” Collins said the tourism industry has begun to rebound from the slump that occurred after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, but that a coordinated effort is needed to keep tourists in Los Angeles, particularly from Asia. Last year, tourists generated $260 million for the local economy, representing a major boost in jobs and investments. Airport Commissioner Fernando Torres-Gill, who had expressed reservations in the past about the contract, said he has become convinced of the need for it to keep LAX competitive. “I think it fits in with what we are trying to do to upgrade the airport and improve our service to travelers,” Torres-Gill said. Collins said the city has begun to see some increase in the number of international travelers at Ontario Airport and believes its use will continue to grow. The greatest opportunities, he predicted, will come from China, where Los Angeles has applied to open tourism offices. “We have one of the largest Chinese populations in the world and we think we have good relations with the Chinese carriers…,” Collins said. rick.orlov@dailynews.com (213) 978-0390160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more