Air Transport World

Finishing touches put on "new LAX." (Los Angeles International Airport)

Los Angeles--Ten years of frustration and three years of massive construction are finally drawing to a close at Los Angeles International Airport, which by the start of the Summer Olympics in July will have put the finishing touches on $700 million worth of terminal area expansion and airfield renovation that it expects will take care of the needs of its passengers for the remainder of the 20th century.

Already completed and in operation are a $60-million double-decking of the loop roadway that links the airport's nine terminals, and that now separates departing and arriving passengers; the new $46.5-million domestic Terminal One; a $100-million expansion of the United Airlines' terminal; and $30 million worth of improvements at American Airlines' terminal.

Slated for occupancy in June is the million-sq.-ft., $123.2-million West Terminal, which will house some 22 international airlines along with what is said to be the nation's largest Customs and Immigration facility. The West Terminal and Terminal One together represent a doubling of the airport's previous terminal space. A remarkable feat

Also nearing completion are $76.5 million worth of airfield improvements, a new 57.4-acre cargo complex, $36 million worth of parking structures, an $18.9-million expansion of the central utility plant, and some $4 million in landscaping.

Of the $700 million that the Los Angeles Department of Airports estimates is being spent to create the "New LAX," about half is coming from the Department (primarily via bonded indebtedness--no local tax monies are being used) and the remainder represents spending by airlines and other tenants on their own facilities. Of course, since the bulk of the airport's revenues are derived from those tenants in the form of landing fees, rentals, concession fees and such, it might be said that the tenants are footing the entire bill. (The Department's operating revenues totaled $105.4 million in fiscal 1983, with $25 million coming from landing fees of 75 cents per 1,000 lbs., $12.8 million from terminal and cargo area rentals, $32.2 million from concessionaires, $13.6 million from rental car operators, and the remainder from miscellaneous sources).

"We are literally creating a 'New LAX' on top of the old," general manager Clifton A. Moore told ATW during a tour in February of the new facilities at the world's third-largest airport. And thanks to an outstanding exercise in planning and scheduling by the numerous contractors involved, LAX has been able to maintain "business as usual" during the construction. In a justifiable bit of horn-footing, the airport terms this "a remarkable feat considering that LAX is the first major airport in history to undertake an improvement program of such magnitude in an active terminal area. …

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