Los Angeles International Airport has seen the number of travelers passing through its vast corridors plummet by 85 percent compared to last year in the wake of the COVID-19 disaster, giving the enormous complex the look of brightly lit, well-scrubbed nightmare.
Along with airlines’ cratering ticket sales, concession stands have lost 50 percent of their business and car rentals are down a staggering 80 percent, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners president Andrew Burton delivered the sobering news at a commission meeting Thursday, adding that the currency exchange has fallen off by 70 percent and that even cheap booze, cigarette, and perfume sales are failing, with duty-free revenues crashing by 60 percent.
Describing the crisis as “the most steep and potentially sustained decline in air travel history,” Burton recommended belt-tightening measures that do not bode well for airline workers and employees of air-travel support industries—despite the $10 billion in federal aid the coronavirus relief bill would give to publicly owned commercial airports like LAX.
“[W]e must continue to seek out new solutions to address the financial impacts and reduce our expenses and operate more efficiently, while maintaining safety and security,” Burton advised the commissioners. “In addition to the austerity measures already in place, our executive leadership team is looking at all existing contracts and identifying where there are opportunities to stop, reduce or defer activities. We’re also looking at all of our planned future capital projects to determine if now is the right time to start them, or if they can be deferred.”