For years, short runways and neighborhood opposition had limited the distance of flights out of Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport. Coast-to-coast travel was out of the question.
Now, with smaller planes able to fly farther, JetBlue Airways Corp. will be changing the scope of what is now Bob Hope Airport by offering non-stop flights from Burbank to New York.
"Over the last several years, improvements in wings and fuselages have given the Boeing 737, which most of the planes at Burbank Airport are, more miles," said Jack Driscoll, former executive director of Los Angeles World Airports and now an aviation consultant with Driscoll Co. in Los Angeles.
"Burbank can't handle 747s and 757s, the runway is not long enough and it certainly doesn't have the infrastructure. But JetBlue has got a fleet of Airbus A320s and they tend to target the small airports like Ontario and Long Beach. It's just a matter of fueling them up more," he said.
Even so, JetBlue will have to abide by strict noise rules banning flights before 7 a.m. and after 10 p.m.
The new service, which will feature three non-stops beginning May 24 and a fourth starting in July provides the fast-growing carrier with additional capacity to JFK beyond its current flights out of Long Beach. JetBlue will be taking over gates that had been operated by Aloha Airlines, noe in Chapter 11 proceedings.
"Aloha's Gate 9 does have a parking position for an aircraft the size of (JetBlue's) Airbus A320," said airport spokesman Victor Gill. "So changes to facilities won't have to be made. But it certainly means more revenues for the airport."
JetBlue's A320 flights to and from New York will carry about 140 passengers each, while Aloha's two daily flights to and from Hawaii carry about 115 passengers each, Gill said.
Over the years, airlines flying out of Burbank had been limited in their routes, both because of the shorter runways and planes not equipped to fly for extended periods without refueling.
But the Boeing 737-300, used by Southwest Airlines Co. among other carriers, is powered by a high-efficiency General Electric Co. engine that along with other refinements, such as wider wings and turned up wing-tips, reduce drag and raise lift, cutting fuel consumption. The 737-300's maximum range is 3,400 miles with 140 passengers. "You get a full load, yet it's smaller and more efficient," Driscoll said.
The Airbus A320, used by JetBlue, is nearly 112 feet long, a bit longer than the 737-300. It carries more passengers, and with a range of 4,900 miles, can fly farther.
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