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American Airlines revealed details of the “largest individual investment at an airport in its 92-year history” at Los Angeles International Airport on Wednesday morning. In a ceremonial groundbreaking with dignitaries from Los Angeles World Airport management and LA’s city government,  including the mayor, American Airlines CEO Doug Parker demolished a check-in counter to mark the beginning of the 10-year, $1.6 billion project to modernize AA’s presence at LAX.

This project will “re-imagine” AA’s Terminals 4 and 5, which LA City Council member Joe Buscaino described during the ceremony as an “aging relic of a terminal.” Indeed, Terminal 4 is one of the original terminals at LAX. While there have been multiple additions and renovations since, the underlying building is from TK.

The first step of this construction is to build a new “Terminal Core” between Terminals 4/5, with the eventual opening of a unified departures hall. Currently, AA has separate check-in areas at each terminal, meaning passengers need to know which terminal they’ll depart from or have to transfer terminals curbside before checking in, or via the underground walkway after. This new joint check-in area is designed to simplify the process for AA’s 16 million annual LAX passengers.

Once the LAX people mover is complete in 2023, the Terminal Core will be connected via an elevated walkway expected to open in 2024:

The Terminal Core will eventually house 16 lanes of security, feeding passengers to AA’s 28 gates in Terminal 4 and 5, as well as American Eagle gates in the so-called “Eagle’s Nest.” Passengers will also be able to transfer between the two terminals airside without having to use the current underground passageway.

If construction at LAX sounds familiar, you’re right. LA mayor Eric Garcetti pointed out that the airport is “in the midst of a $14 billion re-imagination.” In addition to this $1.6 billion project by American Airlines, Delta has already begun its $1.9 billion project and then there’s the $4.9 billion people mover.

The big goal is completing work by the 2028 Summer Olympics, to be held in Los Angeles.

In an interview after the ceremony, Parker assured that American Airlines would have access to the same number of gates during construction that it’s currently using — meaning that AA won’t have a reduction in the number of flights it currently operates from its West Coast hub.

Parker also said that this 10-year construction project won’t stunt AA’s growth at “one of [its] most important markets.” Pointing out that AA is investing in renovating airports across the US, Parker said that the airline “knows that the way to deliver the customer service that we want to deliver into the future is [by] modernizing these airports.”

The construction project is expected to create approximately 6,000 new jobs in the Los Angeles area.

At the ceremony, American Airlines and its construction partners unveiled the renderings of the new terminal project. In addition to the images above, here are the other renderings of the project:

The view of the Terminal Core from airside:

And interior renderings of the new terminal:

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