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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LAX: to make connections easier, American and US Airways will operate shuttle bus inside security

US Airways is expecting to move to Terminal 3 at Los Angeles International Airport next week, leaving Terminal 1, which it has shared with Southwest Airlines.

I’m being told that Feb. 12 is the targeted move date. I’ll update if that changes.

American Airlines, which is merging with US Airways, has printed up posters in an attempt to make things easier for travelers. Here’s the good news: American and US Airways will run shuttle buses inside the secure area of the airport to facilitate connections between the two airlines. This means passengers won’t have to re-clear security to switch airlines. The buses will leave every 20 minutes.

That’s a big deal, because American’s Terminal 4 and US Airways’ Terminal 3 are not particularly close to one another, despite the numbering scheme. There’s also no way to walk from one terminal to the other without re-clearing security.

Here are posters you’ll see soon at Terminal 3 and Terminal 4.

American-US Airways 2

American-US Airways 1

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