10 AUG 2018: It’s been called “a cross between a rundown bus terminal and a refugee camp,” and “terrible, outdated, dirty, disgusting and bland.” Fox News voted it the second worst airport in North America and the annual J.D. North America Airport Satisfaction Study ranked it the third most dismal facility on the continent in 2017 based on feedback from more than 34,000 travellers. LAX, you don’t get no respect.  

Fortunately, there’s a light at the end of the terminal for Los Angeles International Airport, which is more than half way through a massive renovation project – to the tune of US$14 billion – to improve what is the second busiest airport in the US (and fifth in the world) with 85 million annual passengers.

Officially called the LAX Landside Access Modernization Program (LAMP), the project to “improve the LAX passenger experience, relieve congestion and enhance LAX’s status as a world-class airport,” is the largest public works program in the history of Los Angeles.

Indeed, in what is considered Phase 2 of the project, which began in 2009, Delta Airlines alone will spend US$1.86 billion to modernize, upgrade and connect Terminals 2, 3 and the Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) starting this fall.

Similarly, more than a billion dollars will be spent on passenger safety and security, while literally no stone – from shopping, dining and entertainment, to getting to and from the airport with greater ease – is being left unturned.

And while passengers have suffered many general indignities since the facility opened in 1930, and especially during the past decade during the ongoing construction process, much has been accomplished, including renovated terminals 2, 6 and TBIT, with the latter international terminal, in a bit of good news for Canadian travellers, considered “the star of the show.”

Here is a brief look at some of the enhancements to date, and a glimpse of what’s still to come:

Automated People Mover (APM)

The Automated People Mover (APM) will be an above-ground airport transport system connecting LAX passengers with the airline terminals, a new centralized rental car facility, new pick-up and drop-off locations with airport parking facilities and Metro’s regional transit system. The primary APM features include:

• 2-3-minute wait time at each APM station
• Free 24-hour access to the Central Terminal Area (CTA)
• 6 stations connecting passengers to key LAX locations
• Above ground system, 4 kms in length
• Ability to transport up to 6,000 passengers per hour

Consolidated Rent-A-Car Facility (ConRAC)

Currently, the rental car agencies are located in 23 different properties in the LAX vicinity within two different jurisdictions. The Consolidated Rent-A-Car Facility (ConRAC) will accommodate rental car agencies serving LAX at one conveniently centralized location. Primary features include:

• Access to a variety of centrally-located rental car options
• Direct access to airline terminals & regional freeway system
• Reduced congestion by eliminating rental care shuttles currently operating in the CTA and on local roadways

Intermodal Transportation Facilities (ITFs)

The ITFs would offer facilities close to the 405 freeway and Sepulveda Boulevard to allow for pick-up and drop-off of passengers, check-in kiosks, parking, connections to shuttles and transit and direct access to the CTA via the APM system. ITF features include:

• Direct access to the airline terminals
• Flight check-in, boarding passes, information kiosks and other amenities
• Access to shuttles and other transit services
• Convenient pick-up and drop-off, and public parking

Traffic and Roadway Improvements

Proposed roadway improvements are designed to reduce congestion and vehicle emissions and enable passengers to access LAX more efficiently and directly without the need for their vehicles to enter the CTA. Roadway improvement features include:

• Improved access in/out of the CTA & to the LAX region
• Bicycle and pedestrian improvements
• Additional street lanes and new freeway ramps

Beyond LAMP, other updates to LAX include:

LAX Sustainability and Design

The Project will be designed to promote sustainability and reduce environmental impacts. Sustainability features include energy efficient design, water efficiency and conservation, construction waste reduction and recycling, air quality emissions reduction measures, and natural resource protections.

AskLAX Kiosks

LAX has launched self-assistance kiosks in two of LAX’s terminals, Terminal 2 and the international ierminal. Shaped like a giant smartphone, the 36-inch touch screen includes terminal maps, concession and retail information, emergency information, transportation options and traffic conditions. Guests can even take email-able selfies and speak directly with a LAX Guest Experience Member (GEM) over video chat in real-time.

Refreshed Terminals

Among the completed projects, the new Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) includes new aircraft gates and concourse areas, and a Great Hall for premier dining, retail and other guest amenities. The new terminal opened in September, 2013.

Also completed or well underway are several major airfield and facility projects, including a replacement Central Utility Plant, new taxiways and taxi lanes, and major renovations and infrastructure upgrades in all of the other terminals.

In-Line Baggage Handling and Screening System Program

The In-Line Baggage Handling and Screening System Program will improve and automate the security screening of checked baggage at all LAX terminals and will make travel through LAX safer, faster and more convenient. The total cost of the program covering all nine LAX terminals is estimated at $613 million, with reimbursement expected to total $460 million from the Transportation Security Administration.

The renovation project is expected to be completed in 2023.



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Michael Baginski

Editor at Large, Mike Baginski is well known and well respected within the industry across Canada, the US, in the Caribbean, Mexico and numerous other destinations outside North America.

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