MIAMI – Yesterday, the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners voted unanimously to approve interim CEO Justin Erbacci to permanent CEO at Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA).
Erbacci joined LAWA in October 2016 as Chief Innovation and Commercial Strategy Officer and was later named Chief Operating Officer in January 2018, taking the position of interim CEO since the December 31, 2019 departure of former CEO Deborah Flint.
Former LAWA CEO record
Flint, who had held the position since 2015, successfully oversaw the approval and start of the construction of the LAMP projects and near completion of the Midfield Satellite Concourse, projects worth US$14bn.
In addition, LAWA ceded Ontario International Airport (ONT) to a separate authority under Flint’s direction.
Flint left LAWA at the end of 2019 to join the Greater Toronto Airports Authority on somewhat of a sour note; the redirecting of ride-hailing companies out of the Central Terminal Area and into the “LAXit” lo caused lots of confusion, traffic, and headaches for passengers.
That lot, of course, is now virtually empty on account of the current pandemic.
Challenges for the new CEO
Justin Erbacci has been faced with dealing with the current pandemic.
Proving his track record, Erbacci has created a COVID-19 Recovery Task Force to develop plans for the airport’s recovery with new cleaning and physical distancing protocols apart from those implemented at the beginning of the pandemic.
According to a March 8 report by abc7.com, LAX safety and cleaning protocols include the installation of 250 hand sanitizer stations throughout the hub, with 300 more expected to be installed.
Protocols also include hourly disinfecting of frequent contact areas such as restroom doors, handrails, escalators, and elevator buttons; sanitizing touchpads and kiosks in the customs area, distributing individual bottles of hand sanitizer to the airport’s administrative offices and adding signage to high-traffic areas.
At the time, the then Interim CEO said, “LAWA is on the front lines of the fight to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus and we are doing everything in our power to make sure the environment at LAX is as safe and clean as possible for our employees and guests.”
A nomination from the major
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who nominated Erbacci for the position said, “This moment of crisis for our world and change at our airports demands a leader with a proven track record, and Justin Erbacci is the right person to help us navigate this turbulent time.”
LAWA secured upwards of US$323m from CARES Act funding for Van Nuys airport and LAX, which make up LAWA; thus, Erbacci has the necessary funds to develop his recovery plans for the airport. Hopefully, he will keep his track record intact.