Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in the US has broken ground on the $508m renovation of its 30-year-old Terminal 1 as part of its modernisation programme.
Upon completion, the renovated terminal will accommodate 13 Boeing 737-800 aircraft with larger boarding bridges, hydrant fuelling systems and aircraft apron pavements.
Terminal 1’s ticketing lobby will be improved while an automated handling system for checked bags and additional structural improvements, such as seismic retrofitting, replacement of the passenger boarding bridges and refurbished arrival/baggage claim areas, will also be a part of the modernisation.
Additional seating, larger restrooms and renovated shops and restaurants will also ensure a better passenger experience.
The concourse design will incorporate a Californian feel with open views, natural light and extra lanes are expected to shorten federal passenger security screening lines.
The airport will carry out the renovation work in phases to minimise disruption to passenger services, which is expected to be completed in 2018.
Speaking about the project, Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti said: "The Terminal 1 improvement project will bring a better passenger experience and 1,500 construction jobs to LAX. As part of our $7bn investment in LAX, we are remodelling every terminal and creating 40,000 jobs, because Los Angeles deserves a world-class airport."
The terminal handled close to 9.65 million passengers in 2013 and is known for traffic congestion and long queues.
Terminal 1 is home to Southwest Airlines and its subsidiary AirTran Airways. Initially is being funded by Southwest, the project will eventually be reimbursed by LAX operator Los Angeles World Airports.
Southwest’s vice-president for airport affairs Bob Montgomery said: "The modernisation of Terminal 1 has long been in our sights. The renovation will allow us to better serve our customers today as well as provide the opportunity to expand our network options."
Apart from Terminal 1, Terminal 2 is also undergoing a $300m makeover while Terminal 3 has been partially remodelled by Virgin America and Virgin Australia. Improvements plans for the other terminals are also underway.