Los Angeles International Begins Terminal 6 Refurbishment

A multi-million dollar overhaul of Los Angeles International Airport’s Terminal 6 is underway. The sixty-year-old satellite terminal will see significant improvements to gate areas, departure lounges, and jetbridges. Upgrades will also occur at security zones. When completed in 2023, the overhaul will result in faster passenger flows and a better in-terminal experience.

Alaska Airlines is the biggest airline using LAX’s Terminal 6. Photo: Alaska Airlines

“LAX is bringing to life our vision for a reimagined airport from top to bottom, providing the very best terminals, transportation and services to our guests,” said Sean Burton, President, Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners.

“Terminal 6 represents another opportunity to put our best foot forward to the world as we deliver on our infrastructure promises.”

Refurbishment is underway & administered by Alaska Airlines

In the last year of normal flying, 2019, LAX was the second busiest airport in the United States and the third busiest in the world. The airport handled 88.1 million passengers that year. LAX saw 700 flights a day, hosting 72 commercial airlines flying to 113 airports across the United States and a further 91 airports elsewhere.

The leaseholder and biggest airline at Terminal 6 is Alaska Airlines. San Francisco-based Boutique Air and Southern Airways also use the terminal. In addition, Air Canada leases two gates and also shares a common-use gate in Terminal 6.

Alaska Airlines is administering the US$230 million Terminal 6 refurbishment. Alaska Airlines’ Shane Jones says the overhaul is about improving the passenger experience.

“The guest experience is at the heart of everything we do, and the focus in this project is to improve every step of the journey, from the security checkpoint with the latest technology to modern expanded holdrooms with powered seating, to improving our operational performance with key infrastructure upgrades.”

Construction works are underway at LAX’s Terminal 6. Photo: Los Angeles International Airport

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Overhaul of security zones at Terminal 6 planned

In addition to new jetbridges and a complete overhaul of the departure lounges and gates, access to US Customs and Border Protection’s Federal Inspection Station is set for an overhaul. The refurbishment will also modernize the Transportation Security Administration’s security screening checkpoints.  This will include five automated screening lanes and three standard lanes.  A drive-through bus gate will provide better access for passengers transferring to or from other terminals.

The Terminal 6 refurbishment is additional to the ongoing construction of a terminal vertical core that will connect Terminals 5 and 6 to the future automated people mover train system.

Outside Terminal 6 and less obvious to passengers but also budgeted into the Terminal 6 refurbishment are upgrades to apron paving, fuel lines and other airfield infrastructure.

A rendering of the Terminal 6 experience after the refurbishment. Photo: Los Angeles International Airport

LAX says Terminal 6 refurbishment work the short term pain

LAX is midway through a $14.5-billion capital improvement program that includes all nine passenger terminals. Since its first opening in 1961, this is the third significant overhaul at Terminal 6. The terminal saw a second-level concourse with four gates added in the mid-1980s. Around 20 years later, the baggage claim area, ticketing lobby and terminal concessions space got a major upgrade.

As a new round of work begins, three gates at the southeast end of the Terminal 6 satellite are currently closed as work occurs. Over the next two years, upgrades will occur at the 11 remaining gate areas. After the short term pain of construction work, the result will be a significantly improved airport experience. According to Justin Erbacci, Chief Executive Officer at Los Angeles World Airports, it will be worth the pain.

“We are excited to begin work on this next terminal project, as we create a world-class airport for Los Angeles and our guests,” he says. “The modernization of Terminal 6 is a crucial piece of how we are elevating the guest experience at LAX.”