Los Angeles airport approves improvements to T1 and T3

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Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) has updated lease agreements with Southwest Airlines and Virgin America to include improvements to both terminals 1 and 3 at Los Angeles International airport.

The combined projects will cost the airport operator about $145 million in rental credits to the respective airlines as they make much needed improvements to the two terminals.

Dallas-based Southwest will add 7.62m (25ft) to each side of the northern end of the concourse to expand the passenger hold rooms, expand the security checkpoint area and build a new cantilevered canopy over the passenger curbside to terminal 1 under an amended lease agreement with LAWA, according to recent board documents. These are in addition to planned upgrades to the ticketing lobbies, baggage claim area, gates and security checkpoint.

The additional scope adds $125 million to the project for a total of up to $509.8 million that the operator could refund to Southwest in the form of rent credits.

LAWA anticipates the new west ticketing lobby to open in the fourth quarter of 2015, the canopy in the third quarter of 2016, the new security checkpoint and baggage system in the fourth quarter of 2016 and the concourse expansion by the first quarter of 2018.

For undertaking the additional improvements, Southwest could earn preferential use of a the 13th gate in terminal 1 if it maintains an average of 2,200 departing and arriving seats per day.

Terminal 1 has 14 gates.

LAWA and Virgin America agreed to a new five-year lease that includes $19.3 million in renovations to terminal 3, according to the board documents. Works include an expansion of the west ticketing lobby and improvements to reactivate gate 38B.

The Burlingame, California-based carrier will also have preferential use of six gates with the potential to increase that to eight in the future, according to LAWA. Terminal 3 has 13 gates.

Virgin America will be responsible for $610,000 in branded improvements.

LAWA is planning to demolish and replace terminal 3 with a new facility after a new 11-gate midfield concourse opens in 2019, said Roger Johnson, deputy executive director of the airport development group at the operator, in January.