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LAX expansion plans call for a new terminal east of Sepulveda Boulevard

LAX expansion plans call for a new terminal east of Sepulveda Boulevard
An artist's rendering shows a possible design for Terminal 9, which would be Los Angeles International Airport's first major terminal east of Sepulveda Boulevard. (Los Angeles World Airports)

Documents released Thursday by Los Angeles airport officials call for an expansion and reorganization of the nation’s second-busiest airport, including changes to existing runways and the construction of a passenger terminal east of Sepulveda Boulevard.

In a 142-page environmental document, city airport officials said the expansion would bring more sophisticated facilities for travelers, improve runway safety, and add at least 21 gates for domestic and international flights.

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The new and expanded terminals should open before Los Angeles hosts the 2028 Summer Olympic Games, Los Angeles World Airports spokesman Heath Montgomery said. More precise timing and a cost estimate will be determined during a future environmental analysis, he said.

The expansion plans come on the heels of the city’s ongoing $14-billion effort to overhaul the aging airport’s road network and terminals. Airport officials are adding a $1.6-billion midfield concourse west of the Tom Bradley International Terminal, and terminals used by Delta, American and Southwest airlines are undergoing costly face-lifts.

The plans released Thursday call for a new terminal east of Sepulveda Boulevard, currently home to airline hangars, maintenance facilities and a concourse for American Eagle, an American Airlines regional carrier.

The facility, long discussed with airline executives, would add 12 gates that could accommodate wide-body jets for international flights, or as many as 19 for narrower planes that fly domestically.

To accommodate the new terminal, LAX would add a fourth stop to a long-awaited airport train that will carry travelers and workers between a consolidated car rental facility, a Metro light-rail station and the airport’s central terminal area. The circulator train, called a “people mover,” broke ground last month and is scheduled to open in 2022.

The new terminal would have its own security processing, drop-off area and parking garage, and would be connected to the rest of the central terminal area with a pedestrian bridge over Sepulveda, the documents said.

An artist's rendering shows a possible design for an expansion of Terminal 1, which is home to Southwest Airlines, and the elevated walkways and tracks of the future airport circulator train, called a "people mover."
An artist's rendering shows a possible design for an expansion of Terminal 1, which is home to Southwest Airlines, and the elevated walkways and tracks of the future airport circulator train, called a "people mover." (Los Angeles World Airports)

The plans also lay out a four-level, nine-gate expansion of Terminal 1, home to Southwest Airlines. The airport would build over a parking lot just east of the existing terminal, west of Sepulveda, to expand the facility by 745,000 square feet, the documents said.

The environmental documents call for safety improvements and reorganization along the runways on the northern side of the central terminal area, but those changes would not require moving the runway closer to homes to the north, the study says.

In 2016, as part of a settlement agreement with neighborhood groups, airport officials indefinitely shelved longtime plans to move the northern runways 260 feet closer to Playa del Rey and Westchester.

Officials to the south voiced concerns Thursday that the LAX expansion would expose residents to more noise, traffic, pollution and nearly a decade of construction.

“For now, we don’t see any benefit to our residents, who already deal with some of the worst airport ramifications in the nation,” El Segundo Mayor Drew Boyles said a statement. City leaders, he said, “will use any strategy necessary to protect our residents.”

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