It’s been discussed for ages, but now the plans are real. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) will (eventually) build a bunch more gates in Concourse 0 and Terminal 9. When done, this will eliminate all remote gates and allow for a more sensible organization at the airport between alliances while quite possibly snarling road traffic. But don’t expect this to happen any time soon. If it’s done by the 2028 Olympics, I’ll consider this to have been a speedy project.
Though the optimal solution for LAX’s terminal issues would be to simply mow the thing down and start over, the airport has instead opted for incremental improvement. The original terminal layout from the 1960s remains intact, but they keep adding on. The first big expansion occurred in time for the last Olympics in LA in 1984. At that time, Terminal 1 and the Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) were built and the upper deck roadway was added to push departures up top. Terminal 2 was rebuilt shortly after, and that was pretty much it for decades.
LAX has since been trying to make up for lost time. The TBIT concourse which was woefully undersized has been knocked down and rebuilt with more gates. The north half of a Midfield Satellite Concourse (MSC) is underway, and a southern half will eventually be built. That will be connected to TBIT by an underground walkway. Nearly all of the existing terminals have already been redone or are in the process of being fixed. And a people mover that will connect the central terminal area to parking, public transport, and rental cars is underway.
But even with all this, there are still problems. Southwest has to bus passengers across the airport for international flights, United is far from its international partners, and American still has that awful remote Eagle’s Nest gate area for regional flights. When this work is done, those problems will all be solved, and the airport will have been broken down into fiefdoms. I present to you… some terrible art.
Now, here’s how we get to this point.
Concourse 0 and Terminal 1 – The Southwest Fiefdom
What today is a parking lot used to be a manufacturing site, but it’s also a hot commodity. It’s the only undeveloped part of the central terminal area west of Sepulveda Blvd that has direct access to the airfield. For years there has been talk about creating Terminal 0, but instead it looks like it will be Concourse 0. What’s the difference? Well, there won’t be an area outside security for that concourse. People will still check in and claim bags in Terminal 1 but then walk over to have more gates in 0.
The plan is to build an 11-gate concourse that will include a customs facility. Gates 9 and 11A in Terminal 1 today will be removed as part of this build-out, so it’s really an addition of 9 new gates. Assuming Southwest becomes the primary tenant, this will allow Southwest to not only move its international operation back from far-away TBIT, but it will also give the airline room to grow. It’s already out of room in Terminal 1, so this will be good news for the airline. The northeast corner will become Southwest territory.
Terminal 7/8/9 – The United/Star Alliance Fiefdom
The other big build is the long-awaited Terminal 9. This is a mess, because it will be the first terminal built east of Sepulveda Blvd since the original terminals shut down 50+ years ago. (I’ll talk about why it’s a mess a bit later, but yes, it involves roadway access.)
Terminal 9 will be a 12-gate facility meant to house United and Star Alliance partners. Today, the airlines are scattered with United in Terminals 7 and 8, Air Canada in 6, and most other international Star partners in TBIT. This will be built to handle big airplanes, and there will be a customs facility. Once it’s done, United can lock down the southeast corner of the airport.
The problem is that this will be built right on top of the Eagle’s Nest remote gates that currently serve as American’s remote regional terminal. That will be gone, and officially, those gates will be moved to the southern half of the new Midfield Satellite Concourse (MSC), but I’ll bet American never uses those gates once. Here’s why.
TBIT South and Terminal 4/5 – The American/oneworld Fiefdom
Ever since the merger with US Airways, American has tried to better consolidate its gates. It succeeded by swapping gates in Terminal 6 for those in Terminal 5 to complement Terminal 4 after Delta moved over to T2/3. But today it still has a couple gates is uses in TBIT and most of Terminal 5 is used by cats and dogs, the unaligned airlines like Spirit, Hawaiian, JetBlue, etc. It also has that dreaded bus terminal for regional flights.
You can see where this is going, and where it should go. American has already broken ground (officially) on a new single headhouse for Terminals 4 and 5, so there will be one ticketing area and one security checkpoint. It would stand to reason that American could move its regionals into Terminal 5 and take over the whole complex. Then the cats and dogs would move out to the MSC when it’s built. American can then conquer the southwest corner of the airport and consolidate with its oneworld partners in TBIT.
TBIT North and Terminal 2/3 – The Delta/SkyTeam Fiefdom
That leaves the northwest corner for Delta which is working on rebuilding Terminal 3 and connecting it behind security with Terminal 2 and TBIT. This should give Delta control of that corner of the airport along with its SkyTeam partners spilling into the north half of TBIT as needed.
Terminal 6 – The Alaska… Outpost
As long as Alaska still wants to have an LAX hublet, then Terminal 6 will be its place. Maybe an acquistion or merger will change who ends up being in there, but for now, I’m calling it the Alaska outpost (not quite a fiefdom) in the south-central terminal area. There likely would be room for some other carriers there as well, possibly even keeping Air Canada there.
TBIT MSC and Terminal 1.5 – Cats and Dogs
And what about those cats and dogs? Where will they go? The old remote gates at the west end of the airport will be demolished, so that isn’t an option (not that it was a good one anyway). If this plays out as I expect, then they will have two primary locations, but I’d imagine most gates will be in the MSC. Some will probably have ticket counters in TBIT while others will use the new Terminal 1.5 ticket area which will shuttle people out to TBIT/MSC gates. Depending upon how much demand there is, maybe some room can be dug up in other terminals at a gate here or there, but the basic layout of the airport makes sense this way.
Massive Roadway Changes
One of the biggest impacts of building Terminal 9 and Concourse 0 will be in the roadways at the airport. The primary airport entrance from the north is right on top of where Concourse 0 will be, so that has to go. Meanwhile, the primary entrance from the south is right where Terminal 9 will be. So, take a look at this.
No this is not a diagram of Norwegian’s corporate structure. This is a look at how the roads will be realigned. In short.
- Cars coming from the primary north/south route, Sepulveda Blvd, will be shoe-horned north and east of the airport to get into it. 98th St appears to be the entry point, and cars will have to go east before turning south just west of the Sheraton before they can head in to the terminals.
- Cars coming from the main east road, Century, will still go right into the terminal area.
- For those going to Terminal 9, there will be a cut-off right before the road goes into the central terminal area. People coming from the south may have a separate ramp to go right into Terminal 9.
This design will make the people mover sound even more appealing, because nobody is going to want to deal with the central terminal area roadway.
If this comes to fruition as planned, then it will be net better for travelers than it is today, primarily for those who will no longer have to use remote gates (American Eagle, I’m looking at you). But, you know, we’ll have to wait a decade and see how it all really turns out.
You can read through the plans here.
$5 billion and they won’t add even one lane to the jam-inducing Sepulveda tunnel under the runway, let alone a bike lane or pedestrian walkway. Instead the roads get a classic “enhancement”.
Why would they do that? The whole idea is to discourage people from driving into the horseshoe.
Do the bare minimum for Sepulveda, but make the Intermodal Transit Facility (ITF) and the Metro stations much more appealing to use. The Peoplemover is the main method into and out of the airport.
In my mind, they didn’t go far enough with the ITF and should have included check-in desks and luggage drop off there (wasn’t that in the original plan?).
The convoluted entries accomplish discouraging vehicle entry from Sepulveda, but most of the traffic on Sepulveda is NOT going to or from the airport. It’s passing through. Those unfortunate people are unreasonably delayed by airport congestion. Extra express lanes (not able to enter or exit the airport) through the tunnel would solve that problem.
I take the city bus up Sepulveda to Century, where I get off and WALK into the airport. It appears I will still be able to do that, which is much faster than going to the ITF, waiting for the train, taking the train, and walking from the train to the terminal. My main delay is and will still be congestion in the tunnel.
have they confirmed they de-scoped check-in facilities to check in luggage at the ITF’s?
Jofo – Are you talking about the old plan under Mayor Hahn? That one is gone. But if you mean something different where they were planning on doing bag check at the ITF, then I’m not aware. I don’t believe that’s happening.
It looks to me like the new arrangements will improve traffic on Sepulveda, including the tunnel. The current configuration, with ramps to LAX immediately at the tunnel exit (northbound), often cause airport-bound traffic to back up into the tunnel (I travel this route regularly). The new configuration will move the LAX ramps well north of Century with 4 northbound lanes starting at the tunnel exit, so plenty of room for the airport traffic to wait without impeding the through traffic. Extending the 4th lane into the tunnel would be super expensive, and probably not needed.
All lipstick on the pig. The state of US airport terminals is really embarrassing, especially in our largest most international cities.
Would AS really get all of T6 though? It has been cutting flights at LAX since the merger with VX and I think it will retreat from even more of those transcon routes that VX used to fly. I would imagine some of cats & dogs get moved there if AC moves in with UA. Maybe NK or a combination of F9/G4/SY? And would WN really get all of T0? I heard some speculation that B6 gets moved to MSC to make room for AA. It would seem like a giant waste of WB-capable gates to have B6 or NK NBs use those gates. I would think that B6 taking some gates at T0 seems like a good solution and WN still gets a nice expansion out of it.
FC, thanks to a late design change the MSC will open with three of the WB gates capable of accommodating six narrow body operation. That maybe the only place NK/B6 can grow at LAX.
FC – Remember, if this gets built in 10 years it’ll be quick, so there is absolutely no telling what would happen to Alaska by then. If it hasn’t merged with JetBlue or someone else, then that may surprise a lot of folks. So that’s really a placeholder in the sense that if Alaska continues to exist and want space,that’s probably where it’ll be. But 10 years is a very long time.
Would love to hear your thoughts on an Alaska/JetBlue merger…
Roger – I have no thoughts other than thinking they’d do well together.
But I also think they’re both very busy right now.
I have no doubt that B6 & AS will tie up, but as you said that’s down the runway. Also if they do get together, another hub someplace in the middle of the country may be useful.
Why would another hub be useful? The coasts where they already fly are where all the people and money are (look at how Dallas worked for Virgin America)
Because for the very reason you sight. The hub doesn’t need to be huge like DFW, rather you could place it at Bergstrom as Austin has emerged as a tech city & it would be easy to connect the larger coastal cities in a similar way that MDW does for WN.
MSC South is projected for completion by 2023 as about 8 NB gates – likely go there instead of the WB gates in MSC North
Like you said: A total mess “remedied” with an incremental Band-Aid approach. The *RIGHT* way to address this is, like you said, level it and start over. Is there any possible way to do that? Slot restrictions-move some stuff out to ONT perhaps? I know that at one time, Palmdale was considered but deemed to be too far (those damn mountains). But if push came to shove, why couldn’t something like that be done? Denver pulled it off by closing Stapleton. That airport was a similar hot mess. The then-new (and current) Denver airport was way out in the middle of nowhere. But it worked.
I’d like to read your thoughts on all this and what would stand in the way. Inefficient, gridlocked politics? A spoiled population that would just be resistant to change….just because it’s change….even though it would still make a better experience overall? As Denver showed us, people will go with the changes when they no longer have a choice. But no one in LA’s planning departments seems to have the spine to take this sort of stance, even though it would be the right thing to do.
How long is this-cut-and-tape approach really going to work? IS it going to work in the long run? Or is LA just plain old stuck with a lousy airport for basically forever?
Matt D – I wouldn’t knock down the airport and start over. I would just start with TBIT and build new terminal complexes to the west to look like Atlanta. Runways will be a problem, eventually, but there isn’t a great option. Ontario will come into its own over time thanks to LAX congestion and population shifts. But it’s never going to replace LAX. And Palmdale is a non-starter. The big issue is there is no single downtown as you have in some places. The LA Basin is a ton of business centers connected by suburbs. So you can’t build a truly effective public transit system to get enough people into a train to the airport. Palmdale is just too far.
There isn’t a great solution for LA short of razing neighborhoods north and south, but those neighborhoods are too rich so they will be able to prevent that. (Sad but true that economics matters in these situations.)
Don’t forget that massive swathes of neighborhoods north, east and west of the airport were bought and razed in the 1960s and 1970s. The abandoned streets, crumbling streetlights and driveways-that-lead-nowhere are all still very visible around the airport perimeter.
Many people currently living in Westchester, Playa del Rey and El Segundo are understandably sensitive to even more homes facing the wrecking ball. And unlike a lot of places in the US, the neighborhoods were actually there first. Commercial airlines didn’t move to LAX until the late 1940s.
who cares who was there first. What’s best for the whole of Southern California is and should take precedence. of course they should be handsomely paid.
Of course we have no long term plan. 4-8 or maybe 20yr’s is the best we look out towards.
“Who cares who was there first” may fly in China, where they level entire villages to build airports, but this is the United States, and even more importantly, it’s California. LAX will never grow outside its present boundaries.
Brett: You’ve done a great thing publishing this LAX plan . We all wonder about these plans. Thank you so much! CJTaylor
Why I fly out of SNA or LGB. . . . .
Wonder if they are doing anything with the remote international gates? Those things are a joke. . .
The people mover CANNOT come fast enough!
Jim M – Those gates will be removed.
Holy cow. I don’t think I’ve ever flown through LAX, but the long U-shaped design of the terminal layout must make for some really nasty traffic trying to get into the airport to drop off / pick up passengers, especially with the popularity of Uber/Lyft/etc these days.
If the proposed roadway realignment is completed, that should leave a great last impression on travelers as to how confusing and crazy LA traffic and roads are.
Its so bad words escape me. Common to be stuck in traffic 20-30 minutes. I’ve been stuck in the tunnel for another 20 minutes. And I’m not counting 405 issues here.
Getting in/out of ATL is sometimes rough, as Atlanta is a very car-focused town, but not that bad.
We’re so spoiled it’s not funny with ATL direct flights to just about anywhere reliable ops, a drive that caps out at an 1:30 from the Northside of town and well organized terminals what more can you ask for.
I have heard of 1-hour trips from the rental car agencies to be dropped of at the south side terminals, but I would never stay on a bus that long when I could just get off at T1 and walk.
I’m so confused about those hotels stuck in the middle of that entire northern road loop. Who’s gonna want to stay there now? I’m guessing LAX has eyes on that land into the future.
Frank – Oh yeah, and that loop looks like it’ll be an elevated roadway so it’ll be even worse. Those hotels will be really angry.
Citizens united declared that corporations were people… are you saying that these hotels at LAX are also people with emotions? I never knew hotels could get angry. LOL
Sorry Brett, when I read your response I couldn’t resist as I found it unintentionally hysterical.
Have a great day.
Who’s gonna want to stay there now? AV Geeks who fly in for Dorkfest. They’re the only ones that matter anyways… :P
First, thanks for the increased frequency of blogs, CF.
Second, I presume all of these concepts are based on the elimination of the central terminal gate cap. Is that correct? Some existing terminals could see reworking the number of gates, esp. in the AA DL and UA terminals with movement of large aircraft gates shifted to the parts of the TBIT they control and possibly larger and more centralized FISs.
Third, as much as the “lipstick on a pig” mindset is objectionable to some, the reality is that LAX cannot be moved without a potential huge loss of traffic. Let’s not forget that LAWA does not control all of S. California and there would be enormous political influence and objection involved in any major infrastructure project anywhere in California. DEN is likely the last major US airport to be built from scratch; Colorado even 20 years ago was very different than what California was then, let alone now.
Fourth, while all of the concepts involve “bolting on” additions to existing terminals, LAX never will be an airport where passengers will move through multiple parts of the airport on the same trip. The vast majority of passengers enter or connect at the airport with one airline or alliance in mind. LAX will always be a very high O&D airport. Thus, the success of any of these concepts is how well airlines accept the reconfigured terminals for their own passengers. Terminal 7/8/9 seems like a massive trek for some passengers but Terminal 1 with concourse 0 will not just be a quick check in and dash to the gate. The American and Delta concepts seem more traditional and functional so perhaps they gain some first mover advantage.
Fifth, private car access will likely have to be restricted in some manner to the central terminal complex which is ironic considering the role of the car in building S. California. The amount of traffic just won’t fit. The current design of most airport terminals with a single curb with multiple lines of cars/buses trying to pick up/drop off passengers just doesn’t work.
Tim – Increased frequency? I haven’t changed anything!
The gate cap should be a non-issue thanks to the last agreement that was floated with surrounding communities. But remember, this isn’t all growth. 0 and 9 will replace the all the Eagle’s Nest gates as well as the remote international gates at the west end. Those will all be gone.
I don’t know that I necessarily agree with all of that. Since you sort of addressed my earlier reply.
First you said, quote: “the reality is that LAX cannot be moved without a potential huge loss of traffic” -unquote, but then go on to say quote: “LAX will always be a very high O&D airport”-unquote which kind of validates what I said: all of this mess COULD be solved….if we really wanted to.
It’s not a question of whether or not it could be done. Only whether or not there’s a real will and desire. People aren’t going to say “oh well…..ONT is too far…..so I guess I just won’t take that trip to Brainerd, Boston, or Beijing”.
If a relocated airport is what it takes, then that’s what it will take. Given no other choice, people will play along-even if begrudgingly. Like you said. LA, and by extension, all of SoCal, is just too big of a market to just up and abandon.
IIRC, the Eagle’s nest is not comparable to gates in the central terminal complex because they can’t realistically accommodate standard size mainline passenger aircraft. Adding new gates to central terminals which can all be used to accommodate mainline aircraft is an increase in capacity of the central terminals, which, IIRC, was not allowed. My question is if the gate cap is permanently off the board (it appears that it is) which also means that there could be a shift in widebody gates to more narrowbody gates in the existing AA, DL and UA terminals if those carriers gain access to new widebody gates in the TBIT and T9.
Also, given that Delta has not fully defined its plans for terminal 3, they could potentially put more gates in their two terminals than when they started the rebuild project and when the gate cap was still in effect, again, IIRC.
CF has responded and I will reinforce that I think the desire for a clean sheet design for LAX is not going to overcome the reality that the physical location LAX has right now is superior to not only where the traffic demand in the region exists but where any potential airport could be. Add in the political considerations involved, and I don’t think anyone ever seriously considered as viable any solution to close LAX and relocate it. Adding capacity at other airports in S. California will always be the case. There is enormous risk at losing some of the local traffic at LAX if the local were shifted. Neither LAWA or the airlines are willing to take that risk.
The reason why airlines are willing to spend money to increase space at LAX is because the airport has more local demand than any single airport in the US. LAX will always have a low amount of connecting traffic but S. California as a whole will be more heavily focused on local traffic than other large US cities.
Tim – The gate cap said nothing about aircraft capacity. One gate was one gate. There was also a passenger cap but that’s gone. (LAX has already blown through it anyway.) American has already added gates in T4, and I have heard of plans to do the same in T5 down the line. I would think they’d all look at it if they felt that they needed more narrowbody capacity.
thank you. I recalled correctly.
I was pretty sure that T5 was reconfigured to add gates.
If you go back to the discussion portion of previous articles on the topic of LAX’ rebuild, there were people who adamantly argued that Delta would never be able to operate the number of gates it said it would at LAX when it moved over to T2/3. They said they would end up with the most gates for any carrier and whether that is still true or not, the number of gates in the central terminals will increase and AA and DL will both likely push as many of their international flights to gates on TBIT solely because using that facility for large aircraft (which it is better designed to do) opens up gates for domestic flights in T4/5 and T2/3.
The point is that there will be significant increases in passenger capacity because of the terminal rebuild while AA and DL are also both keen on not losing the gate growth advantage that they have both worked hard to gain.
Tim – Yes, and now to add some complexity… the LAWA gate allocation plan requires heavy usage and high passenger counts. So the more regionals you have, the less likely you are to get any new gate allocation. I bet that’s why we see widebodies in some domestic markets, it helps boost up passenger counts. So capacity is bound to grow as the arms race between airlines beating each other over the head in LA continues. My biggest concern is pavement. There is zero chance of new runway capacity and at some point, LAX will need it.
Yes, CF, we are on the same page.
There will always be a race for more gates. Most carriers will have no problem meeting the gate usage requirements… there is far greater demand for gates than supply and that will continue.
Yes, there will be widebodies on domestic flights, partly as a result of the size of the LAX market to all of the legacy carrier hubs but also because, for operational reasons, they need to rotate aircraft off of their Pacific operations and to their hubs.
In reality, most airlines could probably push more passengers and flights through gates at LAX using large narrowbodies – the A321 and 757-200 in domestic configuration is pushing 200 seats and can be turned in about an hour – or the 757-300 which pushes 240 seats with a few more minutes of turn time. The largest US carrier widebodies seat about 350 seats.
The best incentives that LAWA has given have been linking increased access to TBIT gates for AA and DL to adding new international markets which has and will continue to spur new longhaul international route growth. LAX has long been a heavily US carrier domestic but foreign carrier international airport and that gap might be closing as a result of incentives for US carriers to add international flights along with their strengthened finances and stronger international partnerships which require working together in a market like LAX where most international routes have already been taken by foreign carriers.
As for the runway issue, LAX still has the best runway configuration of any airport on the west coast. Other airports including SFO would kill for the runway setp LAX has. Two pairs of parallel runways that permit near continuous dual departures and arrivals is better than the vast majority of global airports have. Only large hub, brand new airports or those like ATL and ORD that had the vision to obtain enough space to add runways do any better. LAX also has above average on-time performance compared to large US airports. If the landside situation is lacking to some people, the airside situation is far better than a lot of people realize.
I doubt if LAX or any other west coast airport will see another major runway.
@Tim ‘As for the runway issue’ – totally agree. Love landing and taking off from LAX, and so very rarely need to hold on the way in (once on the ground, however…..). The geography certainly helps – Heathrow, for example, will never truly enjoy a setup like this (and for similar reasons to those made for not scrapping the current LAX), will not be replaced by an alternative airport in my lifetime (even though it probably should be).
“If a relocated airport is what it takes, then that’s what it will take.”
Greater Los Angeles has 5 airports – LAX, LGB, SNA, BUR & ONT but the four secondary airports are so restricted that none of them can rise to the level of a MDW, DAL or HOU. To me the LAX problem is solved by having as much domestic traffic move away from the international airport as possible. Now that would take a real change of attitude but I think that makes more sense than relocating LAX to the inland empire.
To truly make LAX work it would need to be Atlatafied which is just not going to happen. It’s also about 1000 acres smaller than ATL. There is also no open land anywhere to pull a DEN move. (For the record, AUS is the newest airport on virgin land.) So as long as there is no will to basically raze the terminals and start over LAX will always suck until people get over their NIMBY crap and let the other airports grow.
the only restriction ONT has is its location. Eventually it will overcome that.
southwest bailed on ONT once it has some room at LAX
AUS was not built on virgin land. It was formerly Bergstrom Air Force Base, a B-52 hub during the Vietnam era.
While ONT would work for me to visit family or friends, currently none of the airlines I like to fly offers service there. They all offer service to LAX with connection options when needed.
Matt, perhaps it is the case in your line of work that people won’t forgo trips even if the airport were moved, but as a westside-based business traveler, I and my colleagues absolutely would cut back on work travel. Some trips can’t be avoided, of course, but a lot of trips can through videoconferencing, and it’s more of a judgment call about the additional benefit of face-to-face meeting vs. efficiency of teleconferencing. When you take a short and convenient trip to LAX and replace it with a punishing, 2-hour slog east to Ontario or Palmdale, we will find the balance changes to videoconferencing for a lot of trips.
Shame. The Star Alliance lounge rocks with that outdoor patio. Hopefully that would be something they’d carry over to T9…
Excellent article. Thanks for breaking it down for us.
A bit of a long shot, but might it be possible to convert the current TBIT into a midfield concourse? If a new central check in area is built between T3/4 for DL, AA, and everyone in TBIT (move the parking underground or off-site, whatever), more gates could be added to the ‘inside’ of TBIT relatively easily. The centralized check-in seems to be easier on traffic and works well at PIT, MSP, many airports abroad, and I’m sure more domestic ones that I can’t think of right now.
How would that work? If that happens, then the AA connecter would be a waste and would have to be demolished. How would people go to the terminal then? Another underground tunnel? If the TBIT is going to be converted into a midfield concourse, then LAX would be a disaster. LAX would have to demolish so many roads and parkways, some parts of the APM (Auto People Mover) would be destroyed.
“….Palmdale was considered but deemed to be too far (those damn mountains). But if push came to shove, why couldn’t something like that be done? Denver pulled it off by closing Stapleton. The then-new (and current) Denver airport was way out in the middle of nowhere. But it worked.
I’d like to read your thoughts on all this and what would stand in the way. Inefficient, gridlocked politics? A spoiled population that would just be resistant to change….just because it’s change….even though it would still make a better experience overall? As Denver showed us, people will go with the changes when they no longer have a choice.”
With an LAX closure there would be non-City of Los Angeles choices with BUR, LGB & others. It’ll be difficult to fund development of a major facility at PMD without having nearly ironclad guarantees of patronage. Additionally, with such a premium being placed on the value of time, the distance of PMD – regardless of potential future modes of access – will continue to be a hindrance.
If this were China or France you would have a new airport in Palmdale and High Speed Rail / TGV connecting the Central Valley, downtown LA, wiht spurs to LAX, LGB and the Westside.
“It would stand to reason that American could move its regionals into Terminal 5 and take over the whole complex.”
The new lease agreement between AA & LAWA (a) permits AA to ultimately possess a total of 10 of the (soon-to-be) 15 T-5 gates, and (b) prohibits the use of T-5 as a replacement for the Eagle satellite. While not explicitly stated elsewhere, until new gate capacity is brought on-line, the CTA contact gates will be used near-exclusively by mainline equipment (AS & UA being exceptions).
My opinion is this also signals that the Eagle satellite will go away prior to the completion of the MSC-South, likely being placed in an interim facility once site prep for T-9 begins.
The length of term of the LAWA-AA lease is such that perhaps the Eagle proviso eventually gets negotiated away as ‘x’ # of new gates (new gate capacity) is phased in.
Page 8 of the document CF linked:
“Operations at the American Eagle Commuter Terminal are planned to be relocated to the Midfield Satellite Concourse (MSC)South Concourse, which is a separate terminal project having independent utility that was previously identified in the MSC Environmental Impact Report “
Yes, I’m well aware of what the document states. And, having spent 25 of my 30 airline industry years at LAX, I can tell you that several ‘plans’ for airline location/airline relocation have vaporized – for various reasons. Not suggesting that that is probable here, but possible.
However, I will give a perspective on why American Eagle operations at MSC-South are (likely) untenable….costs of operating from that facility. LAWA has a tariiff in place for gate usage predicated on seat capacity of the aircraft using the gate. The tariff is somewhat regressive in that charges on operations for smaller capacity/gauge aircraft are higher proportionately than that of larger capacity aircraft. Add in associated jetbridge usage fees, gate holdroom usage fees, fuelling system hookup fees, etc. In short, operating the smallest capacity aircraft into the most expensive terminal facility limits AA ability to recoup it’s facility costs.
I’ll add one other thought – AA has been keen for years now on obtaining what UA (and now AS & DL) have – the ability to operate regional partner flights from CTA gates. I don’t get the sense that that desire has diminished. Perhaps the final outcome here will be AA operating Eagle flights from both T-4 & T-5 gates, rather than attempting to consolidate into one terminal.
Time will ultimately tell.
Valid, though MSC South is currently planned as a low-cost “temporary” structure — the RFP for its design is currently on the LAWA business opportunities page
Let’s not pretend LAX’s woes will go away … as in EVER.
BUR is boxed in. Tiny airports like San Bernadino are non-starters. SBA and PSP are way too far to be realistically an option other than for the furthest of LA exurbs. LGB and SNA are the factorial of NIMBY-galore. Which then brings to the only supposedly viable alternative of ONT. The issue isn’t about absolute population growth on the east side, but whether the weighted mean point of population density will meaningfully shift east.
But by virtue of every airline desperate for a slice of LAX pie, the unlimited supply of cheap fares will ensure few will truly go out of their way to fly ONT when they’re geographically agnostic to either side. LAX is the airport with largest O&D volume is heavily a function of how poorly traffic distributes across the region’s 5 core airports (and numerous more on the edges).
The poor spread is amplified when considering Bay Area, and area with slightly less than half the population of LA Basin, and arguably a lesser tourism draw (nothing Disney SeaWorld or UniversalStudios anything up there), manages to have trans-onceanic long-haul service to all 3 of its airports. Comparatively, there are only 2 routes out of ONT that require passport control at all – a heavily VFR-skewed Volaris service to GDL and CI to TPE, the latter in a somewhat limbo state as the jury isn’t out regarding the long-term viability of said service.
So let’s focus on fixing LAX, cuz ONT ain’t coming up to speed anytime soon.
Airlines are about to find out that they have to respond to consumers in L.A. soon, as construction on all of these boondoggle projects begin.
Take a look at LAX on Google Maps in Satellite Mode:
Isn’t the large rectangle made up by West (Sepulveda), North (Westchster Parkway, Arbor Vitie), East (La Cienega), and South (Imperial Highway) largely low-density, moderate value commercial property that would enable a Eastward build of “landside infrastructure” via Eminent Domain if necessary?
I expect the new >$2B Rams/Chargers Stadium just East of 405 Freeway to further increase the land value of this area for both residential and commercial property and give yet another reason for Eastward build of “landside infrastructure”
SoCalFlyer – Much of that is being remade as part of the automated people mover project. In theory it could be redeveloped into a remote ticketing area at some point because the people mover will already be there, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. It wouldn’t add any gates anyway.
I have a question CF: why wouldn’t they design Concourse 0 more like T1 with the pier further west and airplanes/gates wrapping all the way around it? Just eyeballing it looks like they would be able to add a lot more gates that way? Right now it seems to be a waste that the entire east side of the pier won’t be able to have gates because they’re siting it too far east. Give up a couple of the gates along the southern connection between T1 and CO to move the pier west and you could add 5+ gates on the east side of the C0 pier.
Tory – My assumption is that there wouldn’t be enough width for a full alleyway to fit that. It’s not a wide enough spot. At least, that’s my best guess.
Something you and others missed. The Central roadway area will become less congested. All those airport hotel and car rental buses will pick up off site, people will use the train to get to/from.
What you are missing, Jordan, is that the 405 and the 105 will become even more of a $&@? show than they are today, because of the people mover.
The traffic that is no longer in the horseshoe and along West Century doesn’t just “poof,” disappear — even if this is La-La Land; it has to go somewhere, and that somewhere is the world’s most-congested freeway network.
And don’t bother with that “people will ride the train” nonsense…
So much for a better passenger experience, and so much for 120 million passengers a year.
Good news, though, is that we are speeding up the global warming process, letting cars sit on the freeways longer, belching out more exhaust!
Just saw this comment and I have to say it doesn’t make any sense.
How does a ppl mover contribute to more traffic on the surrounding freeways? It increases the number of ppl getting the the airport? Nope that’ll stay constant…
If anything the ppl mover will connect to the new rail line leading to downtown and the green line further reducing the number of cars to the airport.
And please do bother with that “people will ride the train” nonsense. I commute to lax daily from union station on the flyaway bus and they’re mostly at 80% capacity in the mornings and almost full on the off work hours, so people are willing to take public transport to the airport.
Keep finding things to complain about when $12 bil is being put into lax over the next 8 yrs.
henry LAX: What quantitative analysis do you have for all of your conclusions?
Opinion is not fact and it’s not evidence. In fact, nothing that you wrote about air travel demand in Southern California is supported by data.
just look at history – how many times we’ve been preached the “LAX is 405% congested, and traffic *has* to migrate to the surrounding airports” story for how long now ?
obviously the drastic capacity pulldown during the recession by B6 didn’t help ONT matters, but fact is, 2018 is first time they’ve regained 2008 levels, and still a bit off from 2007 all time high volume (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontario_International_Airport) meanwhile LAX grew 46.3% in raw pax numbers using 2008 as the baseline. (https://www.lawa.org/en/lawa-investor-relations/statistics-for-lax/10-year-summary/passengers)
And just for completeness sake, i did a quick back-of-envelope calc of market share distribution of airports within a region. Using full-year 2018 pax numbers, no special adjustments made, LAX commands ~78% of LA Basin, with SNA ONT BUR LGB splitting the rest (ignoring things like SanBernadino or what have you). That works out to systemwide volume of ~110-115M, give or not (these are purely back of env).
By sheer absolute volume, LAX is ~820% that of its nearest competitor
Meanwhile, for the same Jan-Dec 2018 period, out of system-wide volume of 142M
(SWF has negligible contribution so i didn’t waste time), they’re split 44.8% JFK 33.4% EWR 21.8% LGA, with no airport commanding a majority and also no airport below 1/5th … and that’s without having to resorting to stuffing in HPN+ISP to artificially weaken JFK’s share.
So while JFK has 34.3% more volume than EWR, the differentiate is nothing remotely close to the incontrovertible dominance that of LAX. In fact, as shocker as that is, JFK’s share is in-line with how Heathrow performs among the London 5 – full year 2018 shows 45.6% LHR share out of systemwide 176M.
So yeah, it doesn’t take 200 EHT scientists to figure out LAX’s pattern is the exception not the norm.
Where O&D demand originates (where the ticket is purchased) and the airport of origination of an O&D trip are two very different things in Southern California.
80% of demand in the Basin flies in and out of LAX, unlike the better-dispersed Bay Area market, because the City of L.A.
Less than half of the demand in Southern California originates from a zip code closer to LAX than other airports, and just about every other airport in the region has at least 1.5-2 passengers drive to LAX for every passenger that uses each one of those airports, about 40 million of the roughly 90 million O&D passenger trips to and from the Basin every year, per IATA data.
The MSC is part of TBIT and not cats and dogs. It’s impossible for them to move to the check in area from t5 as there simply isn’t room. TBIT is an international terminal.
Some domestic flights may depart /arrive from there and passengers bussed to/from the other other terminals
Ideally the garages opposite to the east should be demolished and the TBIT extended allowing for a much greater landside /check in hall with walkways to t2 ( 2/3) and 4
They also need to renumber the structures. Terminal 8 is not a terminal. It’s just a concourse and extension of 7
Therefore we have terminal 1, 2-3 become 2, TBIT also designated 3, 4-5 become 4, 6 and 7
Concourse 0 ? It’s an extension of 1
As some commenter’s have said- only lipstick on a huge pig. The cool Terminal 9 is great. But the same tired, old, obsolete T’s2-8 are in the same configuration. One in-One out alleyways for aircraft. Causes frequent taxiway congestion holding for that ONE gate to be accessed waiting for the queue of airplanes taxing in and out of that alley.
Dreadful. But, typical LAWA…..
Yes, it needed to be leveled. No way to do that. The new International Terminal and the new half-pint twin needed to be placed much farther west. Then LAWA could have redesigned the other terminals to be spread apart allowing for a two-lane entry/exit for aircraft.
Quite a thread bump, EdgeofRetirement.
You mentioned, “….the same tired, old, obsolete T’s2-8 are in the same configuration. One in-One out alleyways for aircraft. Causes frequent taxiway congestion holding for that ONE gate to be accessed waiting for the queue of airplanes taxing in and out of that alley. Dreadful. But, typical LAWA…..”
I recall when T-9 plans were initially flouted (2009/2010 timeframe). The then LAWA Deputy Executive Director of Airport Development, Roger Johnson, desired to address exactly what you cited – take out one of either Terminal 5 or Terminal 6, then rebuild the surviving terminal equidistant between Terminals 4 & 7.
In addition to the obvious airside benefit, that plan would’ve created additional landside frontage for the remaining south side terminals, and removed a significant amount of vehicular traffic from the CTA.
Alas, that plan died quietly. The cost-benefit couldn’t justify the removal of active gates at a gate constrained facility.
I hope Terminal 9 and Concourse 0 sloves all these problems! LAX is in a mess right now.
Do you have any predictions on what the new MSC south would look like?
RKAviation – I assume it’ll end up looking the same as the north, but I don’t think they’re far enough along to know what kind of mix of narrow vs wide body aircraft are possible.