US Airways, which was slated to switch terminals next month at Los Angeles International Airport, will not move until at least February 2014, an airport official told me this week.
US Airways will go from Terminal 1 to Terminal 3 to allow Southwest Airlines to spend $400 million on a Terminal 1 renovation project. Eventually, if US Airways is permitted to merge with American, it could move into American’s Terminal 4.
It turns out that playing musical terminals is not easy. No major airline will be moving out of Terminal 3, so with US Airways in there, it will be a tight squeeze. (Virgin Australia is moving out of Terminal 3 for the Tom Bradley International Terminal, but it is a relatively minor player.)
Virgin America is currently the top tenant at Terminal 3. Here’s how Virgin America could be impacted, according to airport spokeswoman Nancy Castles.
Virgin America currently has 6 preferential-use gates to schedule its flights at T-3. Virgin Australia’s consolidation of its departures and arrivals at TBIT improves gate availability at T-3. However, daily operating fluctuations may impact gate availability and airlines may be assigned to remote gates on an equitable basis whenever there are more planes on the ground than available gates.
“Remote Gates” sounds like a relatively innocuous term. But fliers hate them. They’re usually gates far away from the main terminal, and they require passengers to board a bus to reach them.
UPDATE 2:15: A Virgin America spokesman just emailed:
“We have been working in close coordination with Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) on this issue and we are confident that the interim solution reached with LAWA will result in minimal disruption — if any — for Virgin America guests and our operations at LAX.”