Official Opening of Tom Bradley International Terminal – LAX

by on September 19, 2013 · 17 comments

in Airline Industry

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Those of you who have flown through LAX in the past three years have probably noticed a lot of ongoing construction. The airport is currently in the midst of an 8-year $4.1-billion renovation, and the major project for the past several years has been the construction of the new $1.9-billion Tom Bradley International Terminal, which was completed and opened to receive its first flights yesterday.

The New Tom Bradley Terminal received its first flights yesterday.

The New Tom Bradley Terminal received its first flights yesterday.

The new terminal building will have 18 new gates to accommodate current-generation jets including the A380 (8 of the gates are specifically for these aircraft) and B787 and 747-8 – and nearly half of all the seats at these gates have dedicated power outlets.

But even more exciting is that the terminal’s new Great Hall, the Antonio Villaraigosa Pavilion has 150,000 square feet (3 football fields) of retail, dining and new lounge space.

The "Time Tower" installation is made of LED screens and is 72 feet high.

The “Time Tower” installation is made of LED screens and is 72 feet high.

The retail and dining segments of the project were overseen by retail space behemoth Westfield and feature 31 new restaurants including 17 local LA brands including Border Grill, The Larder, ink.sack, Umami Burger, LAMILL Coffee, Petrossian and more. There’s also a new $25-million duty free retail outlet and 36 new stores – including names like Bulgari, Fred Segal, Kitson and Michael Kors – 9 of which are making their airport debut here.

The new construction is expected to achieve LEED Silver certification and was designed by Fentress Architects with a distinctive glass roof (and plenty of skylights) with a wave-like structure that’s is already being heralded as a new Los Angeles landmark.

Inside the shopping portion of the new Great Hall.

Inside the shopping portion of the new Great Hall.

The new terminal is expected to see over 17 million passengers pass through each year on the 30 airlines that will fly in and out of here – a much-needed improvement on the aging infrastructure of the old international terminal – especially because the new facility is expected to be able to process 4,500 passengers per hour (compared to 2,800 passengers per hour now).

Over the past few years as I’ve sat at the window of an airplane and watched construction on this site get underway and progress, I’ve been impressed at the sheer scope of the project, if somewhat skeptical about how it would turn out, but this truly looks like a great addition to LAX, and a vast improvement over the current international terminal.

Los Angeles has become such a huge West Coast hub and international gateway, it’s about time we had the international terminal to match, and the new building and all its amenities definitely looks like we’re headed in the right direction. I can’t wait to actually try flying out of here myself, and more importantly, transiting back through here upon my return to see how the passenger processing really goes.

I’m not scheduled to fly out of here for another month or so, but if any of you pass through, let us know how your experience is!

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  • Gilad Rom

    Thats nice. Too bad the rest of LAX is stuck somewhere around 1965.

  • Greg Hao

    Couple points to quibble with… it’s nice to see the interior of Tom Bradley getting a much needed upgrade but that’s never really been the problem with LAX. The biggest issue with Tom Bradley has to do with the fact that it’s at the very end of the “U” and during rush hour, it’s a pain to get to. Until they solve the traffic problem, LAX will continue to be a nightmare.

    Also, “Los Angeles has become such a huge West Coast hub”? LAX has always been _the_ west coast hub and hasn’t it been amongst the top ten busiest airports in the world since it’s been built?

  • Whiskarina

    Dang! For a minute there I thought it said “Tom Brady International Terminal”… I know he is a great quarterback and moving to Los Angeles with Gisele.. but geez… guess I need new glasses…doh!

  • Mary Iacono

    Petrossian: Spend as much on your appetizers as you did on your transatlantic economy seats. Aw, who am I kidding? I’ll have the waffles and caviar, please.

  • Hey what

    “The Antonio Villaraigosa Pavilion”

    I thought you had to be dead to get a pavilion named after you. Oh, well most people in Los Angeles felt he was a dead man walking for 8 years!!!

  • mmt

    flyertalk AA forum is describing the new terminal as a morass of bussing and delayed connections. Getting to immigration is apparently not well being handled at the time of the opening; stars carrying bags seems to be the drill.

  • NguyenVanFalk

    And it won’t get any better considering LACMTA is still being obstinate in planning for any Metro extensions to the actual terminal buildings.

  • Stephan

    Sad to see people getting their names dedicated to public buildings while they are still alive. I think this is wrong and smacks of nepotism and graft, but what’s new!

  • Matt C.

    I’ve always preferred SFO myself – 44.5M pax in 2012, compared to 63.5M at LAX. Much easier getting in and out, friendlier agents. Point taken though that LAX is clearly the frontrunner and the sixth busiest airport in the world.

  • mikeg

    I flew out of B thursday afternoon and none of the restaurants were open yet. To be fair, temporary signs before the security lines did indicated the only food options were pre-screening. The gate experience was a mess. While it IS a beautiful space, somehow Aeroflot’s ground staff were wildly baffled with how to handle what seems like an age-old boarding process for an A330. It was comical and perhaps even understandable—the desk agent announced business boarding followed by gate staff in front of the scanners snapping at us to get back in line. This seems like something that shouldn’t be an issue just because there are new gates.

    Numerous, poorly communicating gate agents insisted that we should be in single file lines to board, one for economy to one side of the gate and one for business on the other. However, there were no markings for this—not sure if there will be sky priority signage added etc, but I’ve never heard of single file boarding lines that extend into the terminal (not without stations anyway). I don’t know if this is just Aeroflot’s approach or opening day shortcomings. It seems like new tile and doors shouldn’t be so baffling to a standard boarding process.

    Having said that, the terminal is gorgeous.

    The skyteam lounge on the 4th floor was a bit lackluster, but did have lots of fresh cut fruit. It wasn’t clear if this lounge use was temporary. I overheard a staff member say they couldn’t wait for the new lounges to open?? The lounge was branded for korean air I believe.

    Looking forward to a “fully” opened terminal B at LAX!!! The dinning, shopping and social seating areas seemed great!

  • Greg Hao

    A friend of mine told me the other day that she does SNA-SFO-Asian destinations which really goes along with your line of thinking. I might do that myself on my next trip to Asia.

  • Greg Hao

    Ugh. Don’t get me started on Metro. How stupid is it that the airport line ends in Redondo Beach, miles away from the actual airport!

  • Al

    What are you talking about? First off, nothing new,the old terminal was names after Tom Bradley. And it looks like Tom Bradley died in 1998.

  • Hwood

    LAX has been an USA embarrassment airport. Try any of the larger city’s in China or the Far East to compare. Singapore is a breeze.
    We are about 35 years late

  • Gilad Rom

    Yeah. Incheon in Seoul or Tokyo in Japan put the US to shame, for sure.

  • ralphcarlson

    Unfortunately not Villaregosa!

  • Tav

    You can thank the taxi unions for that.

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