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When federal regulators first warned operators of the Hollywood Burbank Airport that the terminal was located too close to the runways, a gallon of regular gasoline cost $1.19, leg warmers were all the rage and “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” was one of the top grossing movies in theaters.

Nearly 40 years later, the Federal Aviation Administration has completed an environmental study that would normally signal the final step before construction can begin on a replacement for the airport’s cramped 90-year-old facility.

But after decades of setbacks, legal disputes and neighborhood opposition, the quest to build a modern terminal that meets federal safety requirements may be delayed again by the pandemic, which has pushed demand for air travel to record lows.

“I can’t imagine a project with a more solid footing than this,” said Patrick Lammerding, the airport’s deputy executive director of planning and development. “The wildcard is COVID.”

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