LAX Unveils New Tom Bradley International Terminal

LAX Tom Bradley Int'l Terminal - H 2013
Courtesy of Los Angeles World Airport

LAX Tom Bradley Int'l Terminal - H 2013

The $1.6 billion terminal opened Wednesday as part of LAX Capital Improvements Program and holds 18 new gates, plus a 150,000-square-foot pavilion with 60 dining and luxury retail shops.

The new Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX airport opened Wednesday to the tune of $1.6 billion (in a $4.1 billion LAX Capital Improvements Program) and is considered the crown jewel of an ongoing makeover of the facility, the sixth busiest in the world. The $4.1 billion LAX Capital Improvements Program will be the largest public works project in the history of Los Angeles.

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Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT), named after L.A.'s 38th and only African-American mayor, is cutting-edge and modern, sophisticated and sexy. Designed by Fentress Architects (whose other projects include Denver International Airport and the Green Square Complex in Raleigh, NC), the terminal's look is inspired by the Pacific Ocean, with a flowing roofline. Additionally, the spacious, 110-foot Great Hall is flooded with natural sunlight with an aluminum roof that arches over the structure, creating a theme that unifies the terminal inside and out.

The most notable and futuristic feature is the Time Tower, the world's largest interactive feature that can display more than 60 pieces of multimedia content (from CGI to live feed from international cities like Rio De Janeiro and Bangkok) across 5,480 square feet of LED surfaces. This Integrated Environmental Media System (IEMS) is the first of its kind for airports, and is said to have almost 2,000 square feet of video, enough to cover a full facade of the 81-story Eiffel Tower in Paris.

The terminal is double the size (a whopping 1.2 million square feet) of the original space.

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There are 18 new gates (for 30 international air carriers) of which nine can accommodate new-generation planes like the Airbus A-380. The boarding gate waiting areas are roomier, with almost half the seats integrated with electrical outlets. Additionally, thanks to the bigger spaces for larger jets, airlines will likely roll out benefits for premium passengers. For example, Qantas recently debuted a Chauffeur Drive service for business- and first-class passengers flying in and out of LAX. Customers are picked up in a luxury vehicle from their home to meet their flight, then picked up on arrival at their destination.

Travelers will have a last taste of L.A. with the 150,000-square-foot Villaraigosa Pavilion, which will feature more than 60 dining and luxury retail shops. Twenty-two of the upcoming brands are local to L.A., including Fred Segal, Umami Burger, Chaya and ink.sac. International passengers -- approximately 9 million every year -- will now have lasting impressions of the City of Angels before they depart.