A picture of the grenade brought to LAX on Tuesday

Washington, D.C.-based TSA spokesman Ross Feinstein on Friday tweeted out a picture of the World War II-era grenade found Friday by screeners at Los Angeles International Airport.

As readers know, a Stanford University has been charged with a felony, according to Los Angeles County jail records.

This is what the grenade looked like. It was later blown up by the LAPD bomb squad.

 

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LAX details upcoming road closures. Expect traffic.

There will be traffic at LAX. Photo: Los Angeles World Airports.

There will be traffic at LAX. Photo: Los Angeles World Airports.

Los Angeles International Airport would like you to know it is currently a mess.

It put out a press release this week detailing construction impacts to roadways. I’m afraid you might get caught in some traffic, especially if you use the airport during off hours.

Here’s what the release says, as far as road closures:

  • “Every night, short portions of Lane 4 (the inner lane) on the Lower/Arrivals Level Roadway will be shut down in front of pre-selected terminals, two at a time, from May 27 to June 24, from 1 am to 8 am, for Ground Penetrating Radar exploration.”
  • “North Center Way between Theme Way (the street near Parking Structure 2A) and East Way will be closed from 12 am to 11 am Monday through Friday, and from 6 am to 4:30 pm Saturday as needed, as part of the Center Way widening effort. This closure is ongoing through August 29.”
  • “The northbound portion of East Way, as well as part of one lane of southbound East Way, will be closed from World Way North to World Way South from May 27 to September 5, 12 am to 3 pm, for roadway improvements related to the Center Way Widening project.”

There will also be sidewalk closures, according to the release:

  • “Terminal 7’s lower level sidewalk and median will be closed for work on curbside escalators. Pedestrians will be rerouted from June 2 to August 8.”
  • “The sidewalks along Center Way North will be closed between the Central Utility Plant and East Way, and along East Way for the Center Way Widening effort.”
  • “There will be periodic and intermittent partial sidewalk closures outside TBIT on the Upper/Departures Level. Closures are expected to occur from 12 midnight to 9 am and from 4 am to 2:30 pm through July 14.”
  • “Portions of the sidewalk in and around Terminal 1 and Parking Structure 1 through July 3, 2014, and at Terminal 7 and Parking Structure 7 from June 2, 2014 to August 8, 2014 will be temporarily closed during non-peak hours.”

Good luck navigating this stuff, everyone!

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Virgin America plans minor renovation of LAX Terminal 3

Virgin America and Los Angeles World Airports are planning a small-scale renovation of the carrier’s Terminal 3 at Los Angeles International Airport, records show.

Virgin plans to grow from six gates to eight, according to a report shared recently with the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners. Virgin’s new lease will be for $30,255,000 and cover a five-year period. The airline will receive 42,913 square feet of space.

Virgin will make about $20 million of improvements to the space, and the landlord, Los Angeles World Airports, will eventually pay the airline back for most of the cost. This is standard practice at LAX.

I wouldn’t call this a major overhaul. Here are the plans, taken directly from the airport board report.

Virgin Renovations – include branded improvements, unique to Virgin’s operational needs, such that it is not reasonable to assume that another airline could use the improvement without modification. The Virgin Renovations are estimated to cost $610,000 and will be solely Virgin’s responsibility.

Non-Proprietary Airline Renovations – include non-proprietary improvements to Terminal 3 that are usable by any airline operating in Terminal 3 and located in parts of Terminal 3 classified as “airline areas”, including a proportionate share of building improvements allocated to “airline areas” of the terminal. The Terminal 3 Airline Renovations are estimated to cost $13,752,000 which LAWA will purchase upon completion of renovation components.

Terminal Renovations – include improvements that are allocated to the “public areas” of Terminal 3 that are being implemented during the course of the overall project including a proportionate share of building improvements allocated to “public areas” of the terminal. Terminal 3 Renovations are estimated to cost $4,973,033. The Terminal Renovations will be acquired by rent credits to Virgin over the term of the Lease, including annualized accrued interest on the outstanding principal for the value of such improvements at a total cost not to exceed $5,386,000.

This pretty minor stuff in comparison to United, which is receiving $400 million in upgrades, and Southwest, which is getting a $500 million plus overhaul.

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American Airlines will sublease four LAX gates from United

American is building up at #LAX, while United is retrenching. Photo: American.

American is building up at LAX, while United is retrenching. Photo: American.

American Airlines will lease four gates and related counter and office space from United Airlines at Los Angeles International Airport starting in the third quarter of 2014, officials confirmed Tuesday.

American is picking up four gates at Terminal 6. The gates were formerly used by Continental Airlines, before it merged with United. The new combined United Airlines has been using them for several years.

When American picks up the gates, it will operate about 180 daily departures to 55 destinations from 28 gates, airline spokesman Andrew Christie told me. (Ned Russell of Flight Global points out that 10 of these gates are used by American Eagle, so American will have only 18 mainline gates under the new arrangement — still not a lot in relative terms.)

Christie wasn’t sure, but I believe the gates being transferred are 60-63. There is a United Club nearby, but Christie said American may not take it over.

“Working in a capacity constrained airport can be challenging,” Christie said. “With the agreement with United for the additional space we will be able to improve our customer service there and provide the customers with a better travel experience.”

This is not a perfect situation. American will now have gates that are literally all over the airport, and there will be no great way for passengers to transfer among them.

Here’s what American will have soon:

  • American is the exclusive carrier in Terminal 4. That will remain its base.
  • American operates American Eagle flights from a commuter terminal. The terminal is  accessible by bus from the main American terminal. This will not change.
  • US Airways, an American Airlines Group company, operates from Gates 30, 31A, 31B in Terminal 3. Passengers connecting to other American Airlines flights will have to continue to take a bus from these gates to their connecting flights. Christie said eventually American may stop using these gates.
  • American will have four gates in Terminal 6, subleased from United. There is a tunnel inside security– it has long been closed but should reopen — that connects Terminal 4 to Terminal 6. It is a long walk, however. Passengers must walk through Delta’s terminal.
  • American will eventually operate many of its international flights from the Tom Bradley International Terminal. The international terminal will be connected to Terminal 4 via a walkway now under construction.
  • At busy times, some American flights use what are called “remote” gates on the western edge of the airport. Travelers then must take a bus to Terminal 4. These gates may continue to be used.

I expect United to slightly trim its schedule to make up for the loss of four gates. United confirmed to me that Portland and San Jose will be cut Sept. 20. Both are operated by Skywest Airlines as United Express. “The flights weren’t meeting our expectations,” United spokeswoman Mary Clark said.

The internet says United is also axing its L.A. to Kelowna (British Columbia) flight, also operated by Skywest.

United will retrench in its Terminals 7 and 8. Los Angeles World Airports is planning a $400 million renovation of United’s operation at LAX.  

Meanwhile, in what American’s Christie deemed a “separate transaction,” US Airways is returning to United two gates that it had leased in Terminal 2 at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

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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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