Los Angeles airport opens new international concourse

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Updated with further details of opening from Los Angeles World Airports

Los Angeles International airport opened a new international concourse today, the first phase of a $1.9 billion makeover of its ageing Tom Bradley International terminal.

The new south concourse is part of a larger project expanding the north and south concourses with 18 contact gates as well as the central great hall for a total of 109,533m2 (1,179,000ft2) of useable space. Nine of the new gates are designed for group six aircraft – Airbus A380, Boeing 747-8 and the largest Boeing 777s.

Five gates on the west side of the new south concourse opened today, with three gates on the west side of the new north concourse already operating.

The expanded facility is designed to process 4,500 passengers per hour, according to airport operator Los Angeles World Airports.

The makeover is much needed. The Tom Bradley terminal was long plagued with long waits and queues, a lack of amenities post-security and the need to bus passengers to and from many arriving and departing international flights.

The terminal previously had only 11 contact gates with a design capacity of 2,800 passengers per hour.

Singapore Airlines flight 12 from Singapore via Tokyo Narita operated on an Airbus A380 is the ceremonial first flight to the south concourse, however, the facility has been operating since early today. The flight is scheduled to arrive at 13:10 local time.

Construction began in 2010 with the new north concourse and great hall opening earlier in 2013. Eastside boarding gates on the south concourse are scheduled to open next year with the entire project complete by 2015.

The Tom Bradley terminal opened in June 1984 in time for the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. This is the first significant expansion to the terminal – as well as the airport – since its opening nearly 30 years ago.