Tuesday, Aug. 29, 3006 | In the ongoing debate over replacing Lindbergh Field, a few items have been overlooked. The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which is over 20 percent lighter in weight, and with more powerful engines, will be able to operate long-haul international routes from short-runway airports. Wellington, New Zealand (currently 6,400 foot runway) is already making plans for Asia service. With Lindbergh’s 9,400 foot take-off runway, and 7,400 foot landing runway, this plane could easily provide non-stop service to London and Tokyo. Also, as American Eagle and United Express replace their ageing fleet of 34 passenger prop planes with 70 passenger regional jets, the number of flights can be reduced to half, with no loss of capacity. The Airport Commission should be exploring ways to consolidate flights with larger aircraft, (even giving free landing fees as incentives to airlines) and otherwise making Lindbergh a quieter (newer aircraft) and safer (better GPS equipment) airport. San Diego will never be LAX, but we can have a nice, close in airport with limited international service, leaving the more exotic locations (Thailand) to Los Angeles.

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