LAX completes terminal renovation
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa was joined by City Councilmembers Bill Rosendahl, Janice Hahn and Tom LaBonge, airport commissioners, airlines and business leaders in a ceremony to commemorate the completion of the Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) Renovation Project at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The $737-million project was designed to make traveling through the terminal safer, faster and more convenient to passengers, as well as provide a Southern California welcome to arriving international visitors. The significant changes are expected to help LAX retain its competitiveness as the premier West Coast international gateway, especially to the fast-growing Asia-Pacific Region. The 38-month project was completed on time and under its $755-million budget.
“The Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport is the first and last impression 10 million travelers have of Los Angeles every year,” said Mayor Villaraigosa. “This renovation project improves the travelers’ experience as they pass through LAX, while enhancing
passenger safety by reducing congestion in the airline check-in lobbies and on the curbside. The upgrades also improve customer service so travelers’ experiences in our great city will be positive ones that will make them want to return.” Council member Bill Rosendahl, whose 11th District includes LAX, said, “This is the first and only LEED Silver Certified airport project for an existing building in the country, and where the work was performed in a fully operational terminal. This is modernization at its greenest, and its best. I’m proud of our work here, and I challenge others to match it.”
“Tourism has become the number one industry in Los Angeles, but we must do everything we can to ensure that visitors continue to come here,” said Councilmember Janice Hahn (15th District), who chairs the City Council Committee that oversees the airport. “Revitalizing this terminal will help us attract airlines and travelers from all over the world, giving them the first-class airport experience they expect from a world-class city like L.A.”
“This terminal now extends a warm welcome to Los Angeles for the more than eight million international passengers who arrive at LAX each year,” said 4th District Councilmember Tom LaBonge, president of Los Angeles Sister Cities, Inc. “The late, great Mayor Tom Bradley will be smiling down on this ceremony from the friendly skies.” Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners President Alan Rothenberg said, “LAX is the U.S. West Coast’s premier international gateway - especially to Asia-Pacific, the fastest growing commercial aviation region in the world. We greatly appreciate the Mayor’s support to LAWA in reaching today’s milestone. Major renovations to the Tom Bradley International Terminal greatly improve passenger comfort, convenience and safety and will help LAX retain its global competitiveness.”
Los Angeles World Airports Executive Director Gina Marie Lindsey said, “Passenger-friendly terminals and conveniences, airplane-friendly taxiways and gates are all ‘must-haves’ as airports around the world compete for the economic vitality that world-class airports create. Our goal is to modernize LAX to ensure it retains its vital role as the cornerstone of Southern California’s air transportation system.”
The three year project, which began construction in February 2007, included major interior renovations to airline check-in and passenger arrival (meet-and-greet) lobbies; customs and immigration arrivals hall with larger, high-capacity baggage carousels; arrivals corridors; restrooms; in-line baggage screening system, public art displays, and boarding gates (including two aircraft gates to accommodate new-generation aircraft such as the Airbus A380 super jumbo jet and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Along with a much more contemporary look, the terminal also incorporated improved accessibility for passengers with disabilities; upgraded utilities, energy-efficient lighting, and fire-and-life safety systems; new restrooms, elevators and escalators; climate control/ventilation systems; new paging system and clearer signage (including dynamic video panels and digital signage that automatically updates flight information). New Information Technology components to support the upgrades and promote better passenger flow also were installed. The largest single component of the project added 45,000 square feet of space to house a new $140-million (included in project total) in-line, checked-baggage security screening facility located behind-the-scenes. The new facility reduces congestion in the airline check-in lobby by eliminating the need for passengers to wait in line for their checked luggage to be screened. The airport installed many van-sized, explosive detection systems in the airline check-in lobby following passage of a federal law requiring all checked luggage be screened using electronic measures by 2002.
A $22.9-million (included in project total) TBIT Enhanced Passenger Experience Project is another aspect of the terminal’s revitalization that focused on the aesthetic, rather than on utilitarian aspects. Large, high-definition, flat-screen monitors and entertainment display audio zones in baggage claim provide passengers with a warm “Welcome to Los Angeles!” as well as information about what to see and do in Los Angeles. In the Arrivals Lobby (meet-and-greet area), walls of flat-screen displays and glass panels of changing light, and a circular LED (light-emitting diode) element provide a vibrant, colorful introduction to the city. The Enhanced Passenger Experience Project also included public art installations in keeping with the City of Los Angeles’ Public Percent-for-Art Program, whereby one percent of construction costs be designated for public art. Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) and the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs collaborated to create a permanent video art program comprised of 17 artists/artist teams commissioned to produce original video artworks that can be viewed at two venues within the Arrivals Lobby. One is a linear strip of 29 back-to-back, 46-inch liquid crystal display screens for a total of 58 screens suspended from the ceiling in a serpentine shape with an overall length of 90 feet - the longest video project at a U.S. airport. The other is a media wall composed of 25 46-inch screens in a 5-screen-by-5-screen matrix.
The airlines at TBIT also separately funded over $20 million to build out new, larger first- and business-class lounges. Four airline lounges replaced 16 individual lounges and expanded the terminal’s overall lounge space to 47,000 square feet - an increase of 72 percent over previous space. Three of the new lounges serve airline alliances, and the fourth is for customers of airlines not affiliated with an alliance. Amenities incorporated into the lounges include: Wi-Fi access, individual work stations, business center services and showers.
Cost and Funding
The overall Tom Bradley International Terminal Renovation Program completion cost is $737 million. Cost for construction work was $567 million and another $170 million was allocated for architectural and engineering designs; purchase of new passenger loading bridges; and construction of the first boarding gate for new-generation aircraft, lounges and terminal offices. The total budgeted amount was $755.3 million.
The project was funded by a combination of sources, including passenger facility charges, revenue bonds, airline reimbursements and airport revenues. The U.S. Transportation Security Administration provided partial reimbursement of $105 million for the $140-million in-line baggage screening system. No monies from the City’s general funds were used.
Upon completion of the project, the U.S. Green Building Council awarded the revitalized Tom Bradley International Terminal its prestigious Silver LEED-EB (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-Existing Building) Certification, the first-ever for a renovation project at a U.S. airport. The Silver certification recognizes the project’s efforts at maximizing operational efficiency while minimizing environmental impacts. The project was the first at LAX to incorporate LEED standards. It achieved 20 percent energy savings and 24 percent water conservation with hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual savings expected in the future. For electricity use alone, future reductions of 5,381,903 kilowatt hours are expected for annual savings of $570,872. In addition, more than 75 percent of construction and demolition waste was recycled or salvaged. Other “green” initiatives included: