Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Summer of COVID


Wow, it's been a long time. Let's see if I remember how to do this . . .

Welcome to the dog days of summer - at least, for those of us in the northern hemisphere, that is. I'm almost afraid to say anything for fear of jinxing it, but thus far, we've been blessed with a very mild summer here in Los Angeles. To be fair, we tend to get our hottest weather in September, so we have that to look forward to. By pretty much any measure, the summer of 2020 is an odd one. Much of the rest of the world has figured out how to deal with the COVID-19 virus, but the United States has gone off in our own direction. I won't get any deeper into it than that, except to say that air traffic (as measured by aircraft movements) at LAX is about half of what it normally would be. If you look at passenger statistics, we're down by way more than half. I don't know what the current statistic is, but at one point passenger volume was down by ninety-something percent from last year's level.

We have seen an upswing in cargo operations, including passenger aircraft that have been repurposed to carry freight. There has also been a rise in the number of general aviation aircraft passing through LAX. After the traffic count numbers plummeted, Los Angeles World Airports (aka LAWA), who is the authority that operates LAX, relaxed the restriction on small aircraft landing and then departing again at LAX. Normally, any aircraft that lands at LAX is expected to go park somewhere; student and practice operations are not permitted. This summer, we've been allowed to have small aircraft land and taxi back for departure, and some local pilots have taken the opportunity to add LAX to their logbooks.

There doesn't seem to be anything noteworthy about the opening photo -- unless you run the registration of this United B777. When you do, you'll discover that this aircraft is the first B777 to enter commercial service. United was the launch customer for the B777, and this one has been flying since 1995! Special thanks to MX for the heads-up on this when it passed through!

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