Another airline to invest big in LAX, but some of that money may go back to the carrier

American Airlines has announced plans to invest $1.6 billion to upgrade its terminals at Los Angeles International Airport over the next 15 years.
(Reed Saxon / Associated Press)

The world’s largest airline has announced plans for a big investment in Los Angeles International Airport — the latest commitment by a major carrier to help upgrade the crowded facility.

American Airlines Chief Executive Doug Parker said Friday that his airline plans to spend more than $1.5 billion to upgrade the airline’s terminals at LAX airport over the next 10 years.

“This investment will not only improve the customer experience, but it will also give our team members a better place to work every day,” Parker said.


The announcement comes only a month after Delta Air Lines announced that it is spending $1.9 billion over the next four years to upgrade its two terminals at LAX.

The investments make sense, considering that demand for air travel has remained strong nationwide and Los Angeles has become a vital entry point for travelers from Asia and Latin America. LAX also is hugely popular with business travelers and the entertainment industry.

But such investments are not exactly a gift to the airport. In the past, most of the investments made by airlines to upgrade LAX terminals have been reimbursed to the carriers in the form of cuts to fees and charges the airlines must pay to operate at the airport, according to airline officials.

Airlines pay for building rentals, fuel, land rentals and permits, among other things. In the current airport budget, such fees generated about two-thirds of all revenues to LAX.

The deal to refund American Airlines for its investment has yet to be spelled out or approved by the Board of Airport Commissioners, airport officials said.

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