Southwest wants more than $500 million in LAX Terminal 1 upgrades, an increase over prior budget

Southwest Airlines is planning a massive renovation of LAX Terminal 1. Photo: Southwest.

Southwest Airlines is planning a massive renovation of LAX Terminal 1. Photo: Southwest.

Southwest Airlines wants to spend more than $500 million its renovation of Terminal 1 at Los Angeles International Airport, or about $125 million more than the project was originally allocated last year, according to documents before the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners.

In the course of planning for the project, Southwest discovered it could do even more with the space, the documents show. The old plans called for Southwest and LAX to combine to spend about $384 million over the next several years ….”improving the passenger security screening checkpoint, designing and implementing a new inline CBIS and baggage sorting system, upgrading holdrooms and associated building infrastructure, refurbishing the arrival/baggage claim area, replacing passenger boarding bridges, and replacing aircraft paving sections and associated fuel hydrant pit locations to accommodate larger aircraft.”

The new budget calls for about $509 million in upgrades, the vast majority of which will be funded by the landlord, Los angeles World Airports. This is the new stuff being proposed, most of it taken directly from the report.

  • Concourse Improvements – Increase the square feet in the northern portion of the concourse by approximately 25 feet on each side to provide for larger holdrooms, larger restrooms, and open and inviting retail, food and beverage concessions integrated into the holdroom experience.
  • Security Screening Check Point Improvements – Increase the square feet of ticketing building to provide post-security screening check point recompose area and allow state-of-the-art, industry standard Transportation Security Administration (TSA) passenger screening lanes to be constructed within the footprint of the existing facility.
  • Roof Replacement – Since the existing roof is nearing its useful life it is in the best interest of LAWA and Southwest to replace the roof as part of the renovation.
  • Fire Water Loop Replacement – The airside fire loop will be upgraded as part of the aircraft parking ramp replacement in order to avoid operational disruptions and additional cost of performing this work independently.
  • Seismic Improvement Program – Structural voluntary seismic upgrades will be included in the renovations.
  • Canopy Replacement and Exterior Facade Enhancement –  The exterior façade will be improved by replacing the existing automatic doors and storefront glazing system. Perforated metal panel screens will be incorporated into the existing façade to improve and modernize the overall curb appeal of this first terminal the public sees as they enter LAX
  • An extra gate. The original plan called for Southwest to get preferential use of 12 gates in the terminal. It will now have the right to use a 13th gate if it “maintains an average number of departing and arriving airline seats per day of 2,200 per gate in Terminal 1.”

Here’s the timeline for the Southwest project.

Project Timeframe
West Terminal Building: New Skycap, Ticket Lobby, New Baggage Claim, Airline Admin Offices and Bus Gate Holdroom 4th Quarter 2015
Exterior Canopy: Terminals Canopy and Exterior Facade 3rd Quarter 2016
East Terminal Building: New Security Screening Check Point, Checked Baggage Inspection System 4th Quarter 2016
Concourse: New Holdrooms and Concessions, Gate System, Passenger Boarding Bridges 1st Qtr 2015 to 1st Qtr 2018
Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, Fire Alarm & Suppression Systems 1st Qtr 2015 to 1st Qtr 2018
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Delta Air Lines improves LAX Terminal 5: See the renovations

Delta unveiled the first half of its $229 million renovation Los Angeles International Airport last week, and while there’s no ‘wow’ factor in the upgrades, Terminal 5 is looking much cleaner and brighter than before.

Los Angeles World Airports, the landlord, is paying nearly all of the upgrades, with the Transportation Security Administration funding about $25 million in security improvements and Delta adding another $12 million for so-called “proprietary improvements.”

Most of Delta’s big changes will come in 2015, when Phase 2 improvements such as a wider security checkpoint and special VIP lobby will be finished. But I got a look this week at Phase 1.

Here’s what I learned:

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Supporters of Proud Bird restaurant plan to attend Thursday’s LAX commission meeting

The Proud Bird at Los Angeles International Airport plans to close on Nov. 21. Staff photo by Scott Varley.

The Proud Bird at Los Angeles International Airport plans to close on Nov. 21. Staff photo by Scott Varley.

Want to save the Proud Bird restaurant at Los Angeles International Airport?

Thursday is your chance to make yourself heard.

The restaurant is asking community members to attend the special meeting of the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners to lobby on behalf of keeping the Proud Bird open. In September, the Proud Bird — which has been around for almost five decades — announced it would close on Nov. 21 due to a rent dispute with Los Angeles World Airports, which operates LAX.

The Proud Bird is located on airport property just east of Runways 25R and 25L, but according to airport officials, it has been paying below market rent for years.

Airport officials tell me they’re required to charge “market rent” to all tenants, and they’ve been adamant they can’t give the Proud Bird a sweetheart deal to stay. But the restaurant’s supporters are still going to try to lobby the airport board.

Here’s the flyer that’s being circulated:

Proud Bird

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LAX Security: Interview with airport police chief Patrick Gannon (Part 1)


Police gather outside of Terminal 3 at LAX on Nov. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Patrick Gannon is chief of the Los Angeles World Airports police, which puts him in charge of security at Los Angeles International Airport, Van Nuys Airport and L.A./Ontario International Airport. We met Monday for an interview.

Part 1 of the interview here focuses on the Nov. 1 incident at LAX, in which a gunman attacked Transportation Security Administration officers at Terminal 3, killing Gerardo Hernandez  and injuring several others. Part 2 — available on Wednesday — deals with the overall challenges of policing at LAX.

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