By Ed Mertz

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Airport officials joined Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Tuesday for a “hard hat tour” of a $1.42 billion renovation project at LAX.

READ MORE: Mobley Leads No. 20 USC To 93-73 Victory Over Utah

KNX 1070’s Ed Mertz reports the tour of the Tom Bradley International Terminal came as construction approached the halfway mark.

An estimated $4.1 billion overall will be invested in the airport, Villaraigosa said as he guided a group of Los Angeles World Airports officials inside the steel ribs and corrugated skin which make up the structure.

READ MORE: Anaheim Ducks Hold Off Vegas Golden Knights For Wild 6-5 Win

The mayor highlighted the proposed 18 brand new gates to handle the next generation of huge airplanes, half of which will be capable loading and unloading the new A380 Airbus — a capability that Villaraigosa said would make LAX the first in the nation to do so.

He also pointed to the need for the aging airport to be able to meet the demands of more frequent international flights.

“Each daily nonstop international flight generates $621 million to the LA economy and 3,100 jobs,” Villaraigosa said.

MORE NEWS: Jacqueline Avant, Wife Of Music Executive Clarence Avant, Found Shot To Death In Beverly Hills Home Invasion

Qantas is expected to being using the new Bradley terminal starting in September, while the entire terminal is slated to open by March of 2013.