Los Angeles International Airport's $4 Billion Make-over: Two More Years

If you’ve recently passed through Los Angeles International – better known simply as LAX – you don’t need to be reminded of the dingy hallways and slow baggage carousels of the nation’s third busiest airport. The only thing remotely modern is the Jetsonian-like Encounter Restaurant that hovers over the airport like a giant space-ship – and this structure was built more than 50 years ago.

LAX’s Encounter Restaurant and Cool Airport Eateries

LAX Modernization: Two More Years

However, LAX is in the midst of a modernization – especially its Tom Bradley International Terminal – but travelers will have to be patient. The entire construction project formally got underway three years ago but still has two more years to go. Meanwhile, costs appear to be soaring skyward.

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Problems with Baggage Screening

Officials say they remain on budget – mostly thanks to contingency funds – but some costs have yet to be calculated including at least one project of special interest to passengers: the Bradley terminal’s new $140 million dollar baggage screening system. The LA Times delicately describes it as underperforming. The system was supposed to screen more than 3,200 bags an hour, but it never got close to that figure and on many days can screen less than half that.

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New Gate for Giant Airbus A380

Meanwhile, one project expected to be completed this year is a new Bradley terminal aircraft gate that is big enough to accommodate the giant-sized Airbus 380 – the largest passenger plane in service (it can be configured to hold as many as 850 passengers). This gate is scheduled to welcome the jumbo planes in September.

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Published: April 10, 2012