Forest Hills, N.Y.-based JetBlue Airways Corp., which recently announced plans to begin service from Los Angeles International Airport, won't be the only airline coming to LAX in the next few months.

Alitalia Airlines announced it will offer roundtrip, nonstop flights between Los Angeles and Rome beginning June 1, six years after it left the Southern California market.

The announcement, along with other flights being added at the airport, is being celebrated by city leaders. But each additional flight at LAX detracts from the effort to regionalize Southern California air traffic, said Jack Keady, an aviation consultant based in Playa del Rey.

"LAX is in a dilemma: It must provide service for the passengers who live close to it, but it must drive regionalization," he said.

The airport served more than 60 million passengers in 2006 and city leaders have pledged to cap the total number of passengers at 78 million.

Alitalia pulled out of Los Angeles after international travel began declining in the wake of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

"The reopening of the Los Angeles gateway with service to Rome reflects Alitalia's return to its traditional mission as a carrier that serves Italy," said Thierry Aucoc, Alitalia's senior vice president for North America, in a statement.

Alitalia is one of five airlines planning on adding or increasing international service from LAX in the next year.

In addition, Virgin America, which was launched in August, has submitted an application with the Department of Transportation to offer service between Los Angeles and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico, its first international destination.

International carriers are not the only airlines adding L.A. service. AirTran Airways said it will provide nonstop flights between LAX and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport starting in May.

Electric Investment

Miles Electric Vehicles, an electric car manufacturer in Santa Monica, announced it has received $15 million in funding, led by Angeleno Group, a Los Angeles-based private equity firm.

Miles said it will use the funds in part to develop the Miles XS500, an electrically powered sedan the company said will have a range of 120 miles and a top speed of more than 80 miles per hour.

The company currently produces a line of low-speed electric vehicles for fleets and private use. Miles has helped make fleet vehicles for customers including UCLA and NASA.

This marks the first institutional investment in the company, which was founded in 2005 by entrepreneur Miles Rubin.


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