LAX will get worse before it gets better, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti warned travelers this week, as the airport’s busiest airline, American, began work on a $1.6-billion overhaul of Terminals 4 and 5.
But it will get better, the mayor assured travelers. LAX is the fifth-busiest airport in the world and second busiest in the United States (after Atlanta). The city-run facility has long struggled with the amount of elbow room it has in the face of growing passenger traffic.
The latest project will reconfigure American Airlines’ entrance areas into a single large hall with more windows, larger bathrooms and additional power outlets. Ticket counters and check-in areas are also being revamped to reduce wait times before TSA screenings.
The mega-project is expected to take 10 years. At the end of the project, LAWA said, it will reimburse American for most of the work, as part of its lease agreement.
Over the past decade, LAX has spent $8.5 billion on new projects and renovations.
Construction begins soon on a $4.9-billion elevated train, dubbed the People Mover, that will loop through the airport and connect to a unified rental car facility and the nearby Green Line. The project will result in construction cranes throughout the already-congested terminal horseshoe.
Set to open in 2023, the People Mover will funnel customers to the rental car operation and eliminate the companies’ need for shuttle vans, which contribute to terminal dropoff congestion.
Last year, crews also began work on a midfield passenger terminal that will add dozens of gates west of the Tom Bradley International Terminal.