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Los Angeles International Airport has been in the news a lot recently, between the opening of the long-awaited new terminal at Tom Bradley International Terminal and announcements of tons of new routes from Delta – including an hourly shuttle flight from LA to San Francisco – and American, which has launched several new domestic and international routes from here.
Keeping things interesting, Delta announced this week new and increased service between Los Angeles to Seattle, WA; Boston, MA; and Guanajuato, Mexico. The new service between Los Angeles and Guanajuato, Mexico will begin on December 21, 2013, aboard their CRJ900 aircraft, the Boston route (which was previously available seasonally, should be operated year round now on a 737-800 craft twice daily starting April 8, 2014.
The hourly Los Angeles to San Francisco shuttle service began September 3, 2013. The new service features 14 daily flights in each direction, which leave at the top of the hour. The route will be operated by Delta Connection partner, Compass Airlines using E-175 aircraft with a 76 passenger capacity configured with 12 seats in the First Class cabin, 12 Economy Comfort seats and 52 Economy seats.
Taking Delta on head on, American Airlines announced new routes earlier this year from Los Angeles to:
- Eugene, Ore., operated by SkyWest Airlines)
- Redmond, Ore. (operated by SkyWest Airlines)
- Pittsburgh, Pa.
- Indianapolis, Ind.
- Columbus, Ohio,
- Hartford, Conn.
- Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport in Bentonville, Ark.
The airline has also filed to begin non-stop service from LAX to Sao Paulo, Brazil, starting November 21, 2013 (this is one of the increased South America frequencies the airline applied to the FAA for back in February).
For the part of the airport itself, LAX 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 last week. The new terminal building has18 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, as well as a bunch of new shops and restaurants.
As part of the Hollywood makeover, the long-awaited new Star Alliance Lounge at Los Angeles International Airport officially opened this week. Developed and managed by Air New Zealand and open to First Class, Business and Star Alliance Gold Card passengers, the 18,000 square-foot lounge features a California-inspired outdoor area complete with lounge chairs, a bar, firepit, water features and a balcony where you can watch planes approach, along with views of the city.
Along with the terrace and a large bar area, there is a library space, den, study and media room, as well as 8 shower rooms. Complimentary WiFi, printing, fax and copy services are available for business travelers, plus an innovative iPad loan program, with a passport placed as a “security deposit.”
In fitting with its location, a wide range of California wines are available at the complimentary bar, as well as hot and cold food and drinks. On top of looking chic, the area is eco-friendly as the Alliance worked closely with the Green Building Council of America to ensure that all the materials and furniture were sustainable, which was so successful that the lounge project team are now pursing a LEED Gold Certificate.
What with a renewed focus from the major legacy airlines, and the completion of its new international terminal along with its increased capacity and the introduction of new longer-range craft like the A380 (which BA plans to start flying here in October) and B787, Los Angeles has cemented its place as the major West Coast hub and international gateway for several carriers. I think folks out in California are going to begin seeing more and more routes every month, both domestically to regional hubs, as well as in both directions internationally across the Pacific to Asia and the South Pacific, and over the Atlantic to Europe.
Now if only the increased traffic and competition would help bring airfares down, that would be a real bit of good news!