LAX to connect American and international terminals

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The Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) has approved an $82.3 million contract for a new secure connector between the Tom Bradley International Terminal and American Airlines' terminal four.

The move comes as questions are being raised about how the Fort Worth-based carrier and US Airways will combine operations at Los Angeles International (LAX), where domestic gate space is constrained and available unoccupied gates are in disconnected locations around the airport.

The contract includes construction of the new secure connector between the terminals, a bus port to connect the international terminal to terminals five, six, seven and eight, a checked baggage inspection system building and a new security checkpoint for arriving international passengers, according to the LAWA board of airport commissioners meeting agenda on 18 March.

American has agreed to pay $33.2 million in design costs of the new facility, whose total cost is $147.5 million, according to LAWA. The airline is reported to have preferred access to four of the terminals 18 gates.

The Oneworld alliance member denies this, saying that it only expects to "have access to common use gates" in the international terminal.

LAWA did not respond to questions by press time.

The airport operator is in the process of expanding the international terminal with the addition of seven new gates when it is complete in 2014. This includes nine capable of handling large aircraft, such as the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental.

American and US Airways have not commented on their plans to combine operations at the airport - or any other airport - to date. American has preferential use of 13 in terminal four and US Airways has preferential use of three in terminal one, however, the latter is in discussions with LAWA regarding a possible move to terminal three.