Airlines to protest LAX rent increase

Never realized that Southwest, Alaska, and AirTran, and US Airways were small airlines!

7 small airlines seek relief from LAX rent increases

In case the take the article off the web, here it is:

7 small airlines seek relief from LAX rent increases
BY DOUG IRVING, Staff Writer
An alliance of low-cost airlines has appealed for federal help in its ongoing feud with Los Angeles International Airport, warning that a recent move to sharply increase terminal rents will ultimately cost travelers.

The seven airlines described the rent hikes as unjust and unlawful in a formal complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The complaint opens a second front in a fight between LAX and some of its biggest air carriers. The airport already faces a federal lawsuit from three other airlines over the rent increases.

The stakes are high: LAX managers want to collect hundreds of millions more dollars in the coming years to help offset the rising costs of running and improving the airport.

In a statement issued Tuesday, the Los Angeles airport agency, Los Angeles World Airports, said it had been subsidizing the airlines at LAX for too long.

Airline officials, though, said the airport had gone too far.

“These are egregious hikes to our rents that put us at a cost disadvantage with other carriers,” said Caroline Boren, a spokeswoman for Alaska Airlines.

Airlines at LAX pay a base rent for the gates and concourses they use, as well as extra fees for
keeping up the common areas and to cover other shared costs.

Airport commissioners rewrote the leasing policy late last year, raising fees and, in some cases, nearly tripling rents.

Some airlines locked in their rates years ago with long-term leases. But the seven airlines that filed the federal complaint - Alaska, AirTran, ATA, Frontier, Midwest, Southwest and U.S. Airways - are on month-to-month leases with no such protections.

The seven airlines estimate that the total amount of rent they pay will shoot from $20 million last year to $56 million this year. The higher rents were due to start this month.

LAX officials argue that the higher rents amount to about $5 more per passenger. Even with the higher rates, they say, LAX remains a cheaper place to land than some other big airports.

The airlines sent their complaint to the Department of Transportation late Friday, along with hundreds of pages of supporting documents.

They asked the department to nullify the rent increases; a final ruling should come within about three months.

Big city = big rent! Next to JFK, I’d say LAX is probably the biggest market in the US.

Even with the higher rates, they say, LAX remains a cheaper place to land than some other big airports.

If you wanna play, then you gotta pay! Then again, an increase of 300% is quite a shock that the airlines weren’t budgeting for. Seems like LAX could phase-in the increase over a 3-year period.

The rest of us build our own facilities to do business out of.

If they don’t like it, they should use another airport. And, BTW, stop doing business with the government if you want “fairness”.