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New LAX international midfield terminal approved, construction to start in 2015

Jets on the tarmac at LAX
Jets on the tarmac at LAX
Freddy Sherman

Los Angeles International Airport is a large, spread-out facility. Many international travelers must take shuttle buses from the main international terminal to remote gates, some almost two miles away. A proposed terminal to be built in the middle, or midfield, received approval from LAX commissioners on July 22, signaling the beginning of a long process.

The approval allows the project to move forward, with the awarding of a $50 million contract for pre-construction services and project management. Actual construction is expected to begin in 2015, after a construction contract is awarded.

The new terminal will be constructed in two phases, with the first phase producing 11 gates and the second adding an another 18. The gates will be able to handle the new super-jumbo planes like the Airbus A380. Passengers will reach the new terminal via an underground tunnel system on some kind of people mover. A bridge to the terminal was considered, but the tail height of the super jumbos made it impractical.

Construction of the new midfield terminal is just a part of the airport's multi-billion dollar expansion. The newly upgraded and recently opened Tom Bradley International Terminal is the latest example of the expansion and has been well-received by the traveling public. The new space successfully brings a high-end shopping and dining experience to an airport previously lacking both. The LAX expansion and new terminals also create new rentable retail space, adding to the airport's bottom line while improving the travel experience for passengers.