Airport commissioners Monday approved the sale of more than $1.6 billion in bonds this year to help pay for long-awaited improvements to Los Angeles International Airport and to refinance previous bonds for terminal projects.

About $700 million of the bond issue will finance construction of a new cross-field taxiway, airfield intersections and firefighting facilities. The proceeds also will help pay for improvements to the Tom Bradley International Terminal, new escalators and elevators throughout the airport, a new baggage system for Terminal 3, and the purchase of property near LAX.

The balance of $925 million will be used to refinance bonds that have been sold to pay for other airport improvements. Sales of the bonds to investors will begin in late October and continue throughout the year.

Airport officials say the bond issuance will increase the airport’s outstanding debt by as much as $2 billion. Annual debt payments are expected to increase by about $50 million to between $120 million and $130 million per year.


The payments will be covered by fees, rents and charges paid by airlines and passengers.

-- Dan Weikel