COVID-19 continues to have a significant impact on aviation in the U.S. and at our airports. Today, United Airlines announced that it would be reducing the number of daily flights to/from LAX from 33 to 13, and the number of destinations from 19 to six for at least the next three weeks. In addition, we understand that the other major airlines also will be reducing their flights and routes in significant ways in the near future. While these cuts are not unexpected, it is one more reminder that our revenue sources have changed dramatically from what we had projected before this crisis, and we need to continue to look for opportunities to reduce expenses for the remainder of this fiscal year and next fiscal year. I know all of you have been working with the CFO’s office to make significant reductions to your Fiscal Year 2021 budget requests, and I thank you for being flexible and responsible.
Yesterday, during the question and answer portion of his nightly address, Mayor Garcetti shared that the City will need to implement strict measures to adapt to the realities of COVID-19. While the full impacts are yet to be known, the Mayor shared that we know our hotel tax revenue will be down by more than a third, and we will see reductions in sales tax and business tax as well. This means that across the board the City will be implementing cost savings measures as our leaders work to protect those living, working and doing business in our City.
Responding to COVID-19 and the fiscal realities of the pandemic takes coordination with the stakeholders and businesses at our airports, working together to find solutions as we all face declining revenues. This week, we are continuing our Economic Task Force calls with our major partners. Yesterday, I spoke with our concession and rental car partners and today I had calls with the airlines and our federal partners. We are working through tough, nuanced issues on these calls, looking to see how we can best protect our workers and businesses and operate an efficient airport. I’m thankful to all our partners who are providing ideas on how we can together create a fair, strategic and thoughtful path forward.
Additionally, we continue to assess our operations and determine if there are opportunities to adjust given the reduction in flights. After temporarily closing Terminal 3 last week, and consolidating those operations into Terminal 2, we will also be temporarily closing down the majority of Terminal 8 this week, with only Gates 80/81 in operation. Guests and employees who are looking for concessions will find them in Terminal 7, as all Terminal 8 concessions will be closed for the near term.
In terms of concessions, each operating terminal will continue to have food and retail shops open, but there will be a number of closed restaurants and retail establishments as well. You can find a list of what is open and the operating hours for concessions in each terminal at LAX here.
The coming two weeks are critical to slowing the spread of COVID-19. As reported in the LA Times, the LA County Department of Public Health expects to see up to 1,000 new positive cases a day. Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, shared “The next few weeks are going to be critically important, because we are going to see more cases of people who are positive with COVID-19, but it’s our hope that the rate of increase continues to be manageable and that we don’t overwhelm our healthcare system.”
Please take special care over the next couple of weeks and help to do your part to slow the spread of COVID-19 by staying home if you can, wearing your face coverings when out in public, keeping at least six feet between you and others, and washing your hands frequently and thoroughly and not touching your face, eyes, hands, nose and mouth.
I am very proud of our team at LAWA for staying focused and committed during these uncertain times. As always, thank you so very much for all you are doing to help us get through this difficult period.
Interim CEO, LAWA