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‘Airlines need to be able to service the tickets they sell’: Buttigieg touts improvements, criticizes airlines at LAX event

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was at LAX on Thursday to unveil $50 million in funding for airport improvements, though he also took the opportunity to discuss the rash of delays and cancellations affecting the airline industry.

The money comes from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and “will be used to modernize its terminal roadway,” according to a press release from Mayor Eric Garcetti, who was on hand to celebrate the funding.

Citing a desire to “help alleviate traffic congestion,” the funding will repave and reconfigure the roads coming into the Central Terminal Area, the release said.

The road work will join the forthcoming LAX train known as the “Automated People Mover” in seeking to reduce some of the headaches faced by travelers.

“Right now, more people than ever are relying on air travel … Airlines and airports are struggling to meet that demand,” Buttigieg said during the event.

Buttigieg also addressed a topic many Americans have found frustrating in the past several months: delayed and canceled flights.

“Bottom line, airlines need to be able to service the tickets they sell and that means adequate staffing … We’re going to be reviewing what’s going on on the customer service side because the only thing worse than getting delayed and canceled is being unable to reach someone on the service side,” he added.

In the meantime, local officials are touting the improvements coming to LAX. In addition to the road work and the new train, LAX is planning a consolidated rental car facility as part of a $15 billion capital improvement program.

“LAX is our gateway to the world, and every dollar we invest today will create prosperity for our region for generations to come,” Garcetti explained in the release. “When complete, this project made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the leadership of Secretary Buttigieg will help transform LAX into a more accessible, visitor-friendly destination – and join a long list of projects that are turning LAX into one of the premier airports in the world.”

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