LIVERMORE — In the wake of opposition to expansion plans at the Livermore Municipal Airport (LVK), the airport commission provided an update on KaiserAir and hosted an extensive Q&A session.
Sean Moran, interim airport manager, confirmed that applicant KaiserAir is in the midst of working with the city’s planning and development department to submit an application. In the proposal approved by the Livermore Airport Commission on Feb. 8, KaiserAir requested to proceed with development on a vacant parcel at LVK that would expand the airport and put Boeing 737s on the runways. The parcel, approximately 45-acres, is located north of West Jack London Boulevard and south of Taxiway Lima.
Since that time, opposition has grown; about 30 participants dialed into the virtual meeting to submit their questions and concerns.
Craig Olson stated that demand is being created by the acceptance of the KaiserAir proposal.
Jack Johnson piggybacked on this comment, asking the commission, “If you build more facilities, will that not increase the number of jets?”
Moran confirmed that with more facilities comes the possibility that more aircraft will base at the Livermore airport.
“We as the city won’t be setting any cap on the amount of rent that Kaiser wishes to charge for their facilities,” he said. “The facilities that Kaiser builds and the market rate that they will charge for their rent will predicate on whether or not aircraft wish to base themselves here or not.”
Some wanted to know why San Jose’s airport has noise restrictions, but LVK can’t discriminate against aircraft on the basis of noise. Moran noted that in 1990, the federal government passed the Airport Capacity and Access Act, which imposed a limit and phasing out of older, noisier stage 2 aircraft.
“Because of this, the federal government imposed restrictions for airport operators that (mandate) you cannot prohibit stage 3 aircraft, which are newer technology and much quieter aircraft,” he said. He pointed out that KaiserAir’s Boeing 737s meet or exceed noise standards, so the airport cannot discriminate against the project on this basis. “Places like San Jose, Oakland, John Wayne … those were restrictions that were brought in before this legislation of 1990 was passed, so they are grandfathered in.”
One anonymous participant wanted to know why KaiserAir, which is proposing to charter noncommercial flights, showed Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and customs in their plans for a terminal. Moran said that when the company provided the proposal, it was included in the staff report; their architect had labeled the building as such. He added that he couldn’t speak to the reasoning.
“We are not expecting customs here ... we do not receive customs currently, nor do we plan to have customs in the future in the short term,” he continued.
Others were concerned about the noise, pollution, reduced quality of life and impact on local schools and homes — wondering why the commission approved the project. Moran said that as an airport receiving federal funds, they are not able to unjustly discriminate against projects.
The commission decided to place the list of participants’ questions and answers in its staff report, following the meeting.
The Q&A followed an update from Moran, who provided data on activity, aircraft operations and noise complaints. LVK’s aircraft operations for January 2021 are down 15% compared to January 2020. Fuel volume sales also saw a decrease, with 62,677 gallons sold in January 2021, compared to the 71,179 sold in January 2020. However, Moran reported that noise complaints had increased. In December 2020, there was a total of eight noise complaints. By January 2021, there were 15.
“We’re anticipating an increase in noise complaints for the next report due to the increased visibility on the airport regarding a proposed FBO development that has been in the news and the headlines as of late,” Moran said.
The Livermore Airport Commission meets monthly. For more information, visit www.cityoflivermore.net/citygov/clerk/comms/aac.htm. To review more information on KaiserAir and the airport’s policy on Fixed Base Operators (FBO), visit bit.ly/Indy_FBOfacts.