First, let’s describe LAX for those who aren’t in the know. The terminals are all in a horseshoe shape, as you can see below.
Terminal 1 – 9.4 flights per gate per day
Terminal 5 – 4.5 flights per gate per day
Hmm, you think Terminal 5 is underutilized? Clearly.
For those who are interested in the details, I looked at today’s (Jan 11) schedule for both terminals.*
Terminal 1 (16 gates)
Southwest – 118 flights
US Airways – 33 flights
Delta – 50 flights***
Aeromexico – 9 flights
Do you think that JetBlue would like to get their hands on those gates now that they’ve gone into SFO? Maybe Southwest wants some more room to grow? You know it. For that reason, consumers should rejoice that LAWA has decided to take back the leases on Terminals 2 and 5 so they can control them going forward. This means Delta will no longer be able to squat on those gates and other airlines will have a shot to use them.
I know I’m often critical of LAWA but this move deserves praise. It’s going to cost a pretty penny, $150 million or so, but it’s worth it in the long run.
*Additional info: Terminal 1 is full of narrowbody flights with only 5 regional jets. In Terminal 5, they may have 11 widebodies but they also have 15 regional jets.
**I know Terminal 1 has 16 gates, but Terminal 5 has either 13 or 14. I count 50B, 51A/B, 52A, 53A/B, 54A/B, 55A, 56, 57, 58A, 59A so I think it’s 13, but worst case it could have even lower utilization if there is one more gate.
***Delta actually has 58 flights scheduled today, but 8 of those are flying out of Terminal 6 so I didn’t count them.