Residents near Van Nuys Airport feel heard, but they’re still angry
The Van Nuys airport has long been known for having an almost crime-free enviroment.
It seems that’s also how the business community is seen.
But for several hours Friday, a dozen protesters in a picket line outside Terminal 2 were met with indifference and even hostility by airport workers.
Van Nuys Airport officials said they were made aware of the demonstration in time to call security to deal with the situation.
But by Thursday evening, protesters were planning to return Friday morning on foot to try and get the attention of the airline, which has seen a 25 percent increase in the number of passengers for its fourth quarter.
“The airport is doing everything they can to make this process as easy as possible for everyone,” said John Barger, a senior vice president at the airport. “We don’t believe there is anything un-American about this. We think the protesters are misguided.”
A large police presence was on hand, including a SWAT team, and a number of law enforcement vehicles lined up along the street at times near the terminal — both to protect against any possible violence from protesters and to control demonstrations as they occurred.
About a dozen airport police were checking IDs, and one officer told Van Nuys police that one of the protesters had not filled out his application to get a permit.
“They’re supposed to,” Van Nuys police chief James Tinguey said. “We’ll ask them to do it.”
The airport issued a statement Friday saying it was aware of the situation and that it was closely monitoring the situation.
“In order to keep the customer’s experience at the airport as friendly and safe as possible, we are working to enhance passenger service while protecting the safety of both the airport and its employees,” the airport said in a statement issued by the City of Van Nuys. “We appreciate your patience and understanding at this time.”
Barger acknowledged that the airport is doing what it can to make the process of getting through the security line faster and more pleasant for the public.
“We have very good relationships