Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) has now opened a new 15-gate addition to the Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT). The West Gates at the Midfield Satellite Concourse will serve airlines flying to domestic and international destinations and is part of the airport’s modernization program.
The new West Gates are open
LAX celebrated the official opening of the new West Gates. The $1.73 billion expansion includes 15 gates with a modernized terminal experience. The airport advertises the extensive use of natural light in the new gates and will come with passenger-friendly features like expanded seating areas, power outlets, and WiFi.
Mayor Eric Garcetti stated the following on the opening of the new West Gates:
“LAX is our gateway to the world — a global crossroads where dreams take flight and where we welcome the future of our city with open arms. Completing the West Gates is the latest step in our unprecedented campaign to reimagine LAX — to help our airport realize its potential as a premier, 21st century destination, as a source of jobs and economic growth for local workers, and as a site of seamless travel for millions of passengers.”
Speaking at the launch event, Mayor Garcetti characterized the new gates as being part of the catalyst for bringing people back to Los Angeles:
“This is the newest and best facility we have. So, for folks who wonder, this is smoother, better, newer, shinier, you can smell that new car smell still here, and together with LA Tourism, we’re investing in bringing people back. If you’re vaccinated anywhere in the world come to LA. So, you can come back not quarantine. People who are vaccinated can come back and people who’ve never visited before this is the time to come to LA.”
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About the new gates
The building was designed to complement the TBIT. The new gates feature to emulate a swell in the ocean, as an homage to Los Angeles’s position as a coastal gateway.
There are “neighborhoods” within the building that include several aircraft gates, a restroom core, and retail concession spaces. This branches off of the central “downtown” area, which is recognizable from its high ceilings, elevator towers, and its location in the main core of the building. The interior finishes and colors were carefully selected to reflect the urban fabric of Los Angeles.
The 15 gates can cater to a variety of aircraft. Depending on the size of the aircraft, the West Gates can serve 12 to 15 aircraft at once. Two gates can serve the larger Airbus A380 or Boeing 747-8s. The remaining gates can handle other widebodies like the Boeing 777, 787, or Airbus A330. In addition, the gates are easily able to accommodate aircraft like the Airbus A320 family.
To access the gates, passengers can use the underground pedestrian tunnel from the TBIT. The tunnel originates near Gate 148. There are also airfield buses that will transport passengers to the new gates.
Technology is a big part of the new gates. The airport has embraced the use of biometrics, which involves having customers looking into a camera, being matched with their data, and boarding the flight. A biometric pilot test at the airport boarded an Airbus A380 in 20 minutes.
There are also electronic gates. There, passengers can scan their boarding pass or passport and be cleared to board a flight. This can also help speed up the boarding process.
More space for lounges
More lounges are coming to the airport. The West Gates feature nearly 60,000 square feet available for lounges. In spring 2022, Air France plans to unveil a new lounge at the airport. This will be accessible to its La Première, Business, and Flying Blue Elite Plus customers.
In addition, there are plans to create a common-use lounge. In these spaces, passengers can purchase daily access. More details will come on the lounges.
What the new gates mean
Several airlines have already started operating from the gate. This includes ultra-low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines. However, Frontier plans to exit the airport this fall.
Allegiant Air is also now operating out of the West Gates at Los Angeles. The airline uses the airport as a base and has four Airbus A320s located at the airport. The airline is targeting more opportunities to grow. It currently serves 33 cities in 21 states from Los Angeles, with new services planned.
Allegiant’s passengers will check-in at Terminal 1 and be bussed out to the new gates. While not the best option for passengers, the airline is more than happy to have more room to grow from these gates than its previous home at LAX.
In general, the airport is primed for growth. Los Angeles is emerging as a top leisure destination. The city is also a gateway to local businesses and the entertainment industry will allow the airport to keep its status as a premier Californian and American airport. Already, airlines are coming back to the airport as travel starts to recover.
Like most other established airports, LAX is in the midst of a massive modernization program. The total program is expected to cost around $14.5 billion, allowing the airport to grow more efficiently and have room to cater to new airlines.
What do you make about the new West Gates at TBIT? Let us know in the comments!