Replacement Terminal Project Background:

The Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority (Authority or Airport Sponsor) owns and operates the Airport. The FAA and the Authority have discussed the need for a replacement passenger terminal building since January 1980 because its location does not comply with FAA Airport standards. Since 1981, the FAA and the Authority have prepared several planning and environmental documents to determine the specific location for a replacement passenger terminal that would meet those standards.  These documents include a 1981 Draft Airport Master Plan Update prepared by the Authority, a 1984 Final EIS/Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR) jointly prepared by the FAA and the Authority, a 1987 Draft EIS/EIR jointly prepared by the FAA and the Authority, a 1993 Final EIR prepared by the Authority, and a 1995 Final EIS prepared by the FAA.

Although these documents were completed, development of the replacement passenger terminal was not pursued for various reasons. The project addressed in the 1984 Final EIS/EIR did not proceed because in 1985 the landowner where the Authority had planned to acquire property to build the replacement passenger terminal, Lockheed Corporation, determined that the property where the replacement passenger terminal was to be constructed was no longer available. The 1987 Draft EIS/EIR addressed a split terminal concept that was abandoned when Lockheed announced on May 8, 1990, that it planned to sell its various holdings and move out of Burbank, which eliminated the need for a split terminal concept.  Thus, the pursuit of this development proposal addressed by the 1987 Draft EIS /EIR was abandoned. The split terminal concept is no longer a reasonable alternative due to subsequent development west of Runway 15-33 at the Airport. In July 1990, the FAA and the Authority initiated the preparation of a new EIR/EIS for the replacement passenger terminal building, which resulted in the 1993 Final EIR and 1995 Final EIS. The 1995 Final EIS analyzed a replacement passenger terminal having initially 19 gates and expanding to 27 gates to accommodate 5.0 million annual forecasted enplanements. However, the replacement passenger terminal building was never constructed because the Authority lost litigation in State Court that was based on a provision in state law that requires the host city, City of Burbank, to approve of land acquisition for an airport.  

In 2001, City of Burbank Ordinance No. 3541 was adopted to include a provision stating that any City approval or discretionary act, or agreement between the City and Authority related to the relocation or expansion of the Airport passenger terminal would require voter approval at a City election. This change in the Burbank Municipal Code is commonly referred to as Measure B.

In 2015, after decades of conflict between the Authority and the City of Burbank, the two parties developed a Conceptual Term Sheet for a replacement passenger terminal that stipulated the following:

  • The Authority would receive a vested right to build a replacement passenger terminal on an airport-zoned property, including the proposed former Lockheed B-6 Plant site.
  • The City of Burbank would receive certain governance protections to be created and documented in a Joint Power Agreement (JPA) governing the Authority.
  • A California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) analysis must be completed by the Authority for the replacement passenger terminal.   

The Authority prepared an EIR for the replacement passenger terminal and ancillary projects to comply with the requirements of CEQA and the JPA and issued a Notice of Determination certifying the EIR in July 2016.  City of Burbank citizens then voted on the replacement passenger terminal, as required by Measure B, in the November 2016 election. Measure B passed in favor of the replacement passenger terminal by roughly 70 percent.  

With the passage of Measure B, the provisions contained in the JPA between the Authority and the City of Burbank became effective.  However, Measure B’s passage in favor replacing the passenger terminal building would not become effective until the completion of this EIS and a positive decision made by the FAA.  

After the EIS was prepared and the FAA issued the ROD, the City of Los Angeles challenged the FAA’s decision in August 2021. On March 29, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (the Court) held that FAA’s environmental review largely complied with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) but remanded the matter to FAA for additional, limited environmental review of noise impacts from simultaneous operation of construction equipment associated with the Proposed Project. As a result, and in response to the Court, the FAA prepared and published a Draft Written Re-evaluation, which can be viewed here.

After a 15-day public comment period, the FAA responded to comments and edited the draft before publishing a Final Written Re-evaluation and Record of Decision which can be viewed here.