The  $7.3-billion capital improvement program at Los Angeles International Airport continues with Tuesday’s groundbreaking of a $508-million Terminal 1 Modernization Program. The renovation is being performed by Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) in partnership with the terminal's only operator, Southwest Airlines.

Image courtesy of Southwest Airlines
The terminal's upgraded ticketing area features large windows to provide natural light.
Image courtesy of Southwest Airlines
Passenger drop-off areas and entrances will be relocated to reduce congestion.

Construction will be phased by the Irvine office of construction manager Hensel Phelps Construction Co. to minimize impact to the terminal’s operations. Completion is anticipated by spring 2018.

Originally built in the early 1980s, the terminal’s transformation will bring a better passenger experience to LAX, said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti at the groundbreaking. "As part of our $7 billion investment in LAX, we're remodeling every terminal and creating 40,000 jobs,” he added.

Designs by the Los Angeles office of architect and engineer PGAL reorganize the interior uses of the building and shift the ticketing lobby and main entrances to the west to reduce congestion. A revamped ticketing lobby features additional windows for more natural light. New security screening systems with 12 lanes are intended to shorten checkpoint lines.

As with the airport’s other modernized terminals, LAWA contracted with Los Angeles-based Westfield to develop the concourse retail and dining areas, which will feature a variety of finishing materials and sculpted facades. The 25,242 sq ft of retail/dining space is nearly double that of the existing terminal, with the first of 24 spaces expected to open next summer.

To accommodate the airline’s larger Boeing 737-sized aircraft, Hensel Phelps will install new passenger boarding bridges and upgrade aircraft apron pavement, hydrant fueling system and electric-vehicle chargers.

Construction will also include a fully automated checked-baggage inspection and sortation system, a refurbished arrival/baggage claim area and renovations to office spaces.

Other ongoing major projects at LAX include a $115-million connector between Terminal 4 and the new Tom Bradley International Terminal, improvements to Terminal 2 totaling about $300 million and a $250-million renovation to Terminal 5.