Question on airport communication with passengers after LAX shooting

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Passengers evacuated from Terminal 1 wait outside Los Angeles International Airport on Friday Nov. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Passengers evacuated from Terminal 1 wait outside Los Angeles International Airport on Friday Nov. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – City Councilman Mike Bonin today requested a report on how airport officials communicated with stranded airline travelers following the shooting at Los Angeles International Airport, while airport executives defended their efforts in the aftermath of the gunfire as necessary to protect passengers and employees.

“While the public safety response to the incident was fast, fierce and effective, there were gaps in communications with the passengers and a perceived lack of adequate support for those that were stranded,” Bonin wrote in a motion introduced today.

He said travelers who were evacuated from terminals or left stranded due to flight cancellations complained that they were left in the dark about how long they would remain evacuated, when they would be able to return to the airport, where to find their family or friends and how to get to their luggage and vehicles that were abandoned when the shooting broke out.

The motion, which has been referred to the Trade, Commerce and Tourism Committee, asks airport officials and the Airport Commission to report back in 45 days.

Los Angeles World Airports, the city agency that operates LAX, issued a statement saying the chaos that followed Friday’s shooting wound up impacting 1,550 flights and about 167,050 passengers.

“The safety and security of passengers, employees and others was the first priority,” according to LAWA. “Before being able to allow people back into the Central Terminal Area and the terminals, it was necessary to have law enforcement clear, and declare safe, every LAX terminal and every parking structure.

“While time consuming, it allowed airport operations to begin to take the necessary steps to manage the needs of the thousands of people evacuated from terminals, sheltering in place in terminals and those on planes that continued to land at LAX,” according to LAWA. “… There were many logistical and operational challenges, but airport employees created and executed plans for the recovery of flight operations, CTA and terminal repopulation. In just over 24 hours, the entire airport was fully operational, including Terminal 3, the scene of the tragic shooting.”

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