— The Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners on March 21 awarded a $4.2-million contract to North American Bus Industries, Inc., for the purchase of six airfield buses with capacity of up to 140 passengers that operate on compressed natural gas (CNG) for use at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).The new higher-capacity airfield buses are needed to accommodate the arrival of new large aircraft, such as the Airbus 380, that will begin service at LAX next fall. Seven international air carriers have announced plans to operate the A-380, starting November 2006 through 2010. The A-380 can carry between 555 and 800 passengers, depending upon seating configuration.According to airport officials, LAX is modifying two boarding gates at the Tom Bradley International Terminal and four remote boarding facilities at the west end of the airfield in order to accommodate the new large aircraft. The new buses are 60-foot-long, articulated models that have a capacity of up to 140 passengers with carry-on baggage. The new buses are expected to transport passengers between the terminals and the remote boarding gates more efficiently than using the airport's current fleet of 20 airfield buses that accommodate 60 to 80 passengers.The contract includes an option to purchase up to six more buses during fiscal year 2006. Three of the six buses in this purchase will replace obsolete buses and the remaining three will be additions to the airfield bus fleet.Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) says it is committed to identifying and replacing fossil-fuel vehicles and equipment with alternative-fuel models. LAWA currently operates over 400 alternative-fuel vehicles in its fleet. Alternative fuels include liquefied natural gas (LNG), liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), compressed natural gas (CNG), electricity, solar power and hydrogen fuel cell. All of the buses in this purchase will be powered with CNG and will be configured to comply with access requirements mandated in the Americans with Disabilities Act.Los Angeles World Airports is a City of Los Angeles department that owns and operates four facilities: Los Angeles International, Ontario International, Palmdale Regional, and Van Nuys Airports.