LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A groundbreaking ceremony was held Tuesday for the Los Angeles International Airport’s Terminal 1 Modernization project.

LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Councilman Mike Bonin, airport director Gina Marie Lindsay and others were in attendance at the 10 a.m. ceremony where the $508 million remodel of the Southwest Airlines terminal is scheduled to begin.

Terminal 1, which also houses Southwest’s subsidiary, AirTran Airways, was built in 1984 and has 15 gates.

The remodel includes a new 12-lane security screening checkpoint, 24 new dining and retail options, a fully automated checked-baggage inspection and sortation system, refurbished arrival/baggage claim area and new lounge-style seating areas at gates.

The remodel also features a reconfiguration of the street access to the terminal, which has experienced some of the worst traffic congestion at LAX, particularly during peak travel times.

The money for the project comes from airport fees, rather than through tax money from Los Angeles residents.

“(The money) actually comes from rates and fees that are charged here at the airport, to the airlines, as well as all the other businesses that operate here at the airport,” LA World Airports Executive Director Gina Marie Lindsey said. “No general tax dollars at all.”

2013 saw the completion of a multimillion dollar effort to renovate and modernize the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX.

Construction on Terminal 1 is expected to be completed in 2018 and will be phased to minimize inconvenience to customers, employees, and guests.

“The Terminal 1 improvement project will bring a better passenger experience and 1,500 construction jobs to LAX,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “As part of our $7 billion investment in LAX, we’re remodeling every terminal and creating 40,000 jobs. Because Los Angeles deserves a world-class airport.”

Southwest Airlines serves 25 cities from LAX and is the airport’s eighth busiest airline with 117 daily departures.

The terminal will remain open during construction.


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