Call it an unexpected bonus from the coronavirus pandemic: Construction on the $1.9 billion renovation of Delta Air Lines’ Terminals 2 and 3 at Los Angeles International Airport is running 18 months ahead of schedule.Airport and Delta officials, who announced the news on Nov. 12, cited reduced air traffic levels brought on by the pandemic as a key reason for the progress.
Faster progress: Planned consolidated lobby for Delta Air Lines' Terminals 2 and 3 at LAX now expected to open in mid-2023
Reduced passenger levels prompted the temporary closure of Terminal 3 and greatly reduced vehicle traffic in the airport terminal loop, freeing up construction crews to work more rapidly. As a result, airport and Delta officials said, the completion date has been moved up to mid-2023 from the initial target of late 2024.
“By working in close partnership and cooperation with Delta Air Lines, Los Angeles World Airports is leveraging opportunities to create efficiencies and deliver this project ahead of schedule by more than a year,” Sean Burton, president of the Board of Airport Commissioners, said at a ceremony marking the completion of the frame of a new front entrance for both Terminals 2 and 3.
The $1.86 billion project is being led and principally funded by Delta. It involves renovation of the two terminals and linking them with a new front-facing structure called a headhouse. This new front entrance will include a consolidated check-in lobby, security checkpoint and baggage claim facility. It could open as early as the first quarter of 2022.
The project will also allow for a direct connection from both terminals to one of the stations for the $2 billion automated people mover now under construction to whisk passengers from the central terminal area to rail connections and a consolidated car rental facility. The people mover project is set for completion in 2023, so the accelerated timetable for the Terminals 2 and 3 renovation project means that connection could be ready when the people mover begins operation.
“If there’s a silver lining to fewer people flying right now, it’s that we have an opportunity and a team with the know-how to pull the future forward on infrastructure projects like Sky Way at LAX to deliver an exceptional experience much faster than planned for our customers and employees,” Mark Pearson, Delta’s vice president of corporate real estate, said at the news conference.
With passenger traffic running at about one-third the level of last year, there are opportunities to speed up other parts of the $14 billion modernization now underway at LAX, according to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.
“Even as we confront the immediate crisis of Covid-19, we are accelerating our work to devise a premier airport where visitors are greeted by reimagined terminals, workers land in good-paying jobs, and the city of the future truly takes off,” Garcetti said.
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