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More construction ahead as Delta relocates at LAX

More construction ahead as Delta relocates at LAX
Delta Air Lines invested $229 million to overhaul Los Angeles International Airport's Terminal 5, but now the Atlanta-based carrier is moving to terminals 2 and 3 at the airport. (Getty Images)

The battle to dominate at Los Angeles International Airport rages on: Delta Air Lines has received a green light to go ahead with a $1.9-billion plan to relocate and expand its operations.

Under an agreement approved by the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners this week, Delta will move from terminals 5 and 6 on the south side of the airport to terminals 2 and 3 on the north side, closer to the Tom Bradley International Terminal.

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The new location means Delta gets access to 22 gates instead of only 16 gates in its current location. Plus, Delta can move closer to its code-share partner airlines, including Aeromexico and Virgin Atlantic.

The good news for travelers is that Delta plans to spend part of the $1.9 billion on new lounges, a new in-line baggage system, extra terminal seating and other upgrades. Only last year, Delta finished spending $229 million to overhaul Terminal 5.

The massive outlay by Delta signifies how important LAX has become to air carriers who want to serve the region's big-spending executives, celebrities and international travelers.

American Airlines relocated at LAX two years ago to consolidate its operations with its merging partner, U.S. Airways, in Terminal 6.

"This new plan should be seen as illustrative that we are committed to be the airline of choice for Angelenos," Delta spokeswoman Elizabeth Wolf said.

The bad news for travelers who have had to navigate construction cones and scaffolding because of Delta and American's previous upgrade projects, as well as an overall LAX modernization effort, is that Delta's latest project will mean more construction for several more years.

Delta hopes to relocate to terminals 2 and 3 sometime next year, but the upgrade work could linger until 2023.

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