LOS ANGELES, Feb. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa was joined today by City Councilmembers Janice Hahn and Bill Rosendahl, airport commissioners and other officials in a ceremony to break ground on a long-awaited major modernization of the Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The $1.545-billion total cost Bradley West Project, as it is known, will create a new world-class terminal that will offer travelers the very best in airport amenities. The project also will position LAX to continue its leading role as an international gateway ready to serve customers and aircraft in the 21st century.
During the national and local economic recession, the $1.26-billion construction will create 4,000 jobs over the next four years.
"Today marks another milestone in our effort to modernize the hub of Southern California's air transportation system and restore it to the premier international gateway the airlines and our customers need and the City of Angels deserves," said Mayor Villaraigosa. "By modernizing the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX, we will provide better service for passengers from around the world. Tourism and international trade are major contributors to Los Angeles' economy that generate jobs and contribute to the City's ability to retain its position in the ever-increasing competitive global marketplace. Improving the experience for travelers at LAX will put thousands of people to work now and for years to come."
The Bradley West Project is one element of the overall LAX Master Plan. Modernization had been stalled prior to Mayor Villaraigosa's election in 2005 and the last major capital investment was construction of the current Tom Bradley International Terminal in 1984. Mayor Villaraigosa brokered a settlement in 2006 of a lawsuit filed by seven public agencies and community groups against the LAX Master Plan. The settlement, approved by the mayor and City Council, has enabled Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) to proceed with its current modernization efforts, including Bradley West.
"Tourism has become the number one industry in Los Angeles, but we must do everything we can to ensure that visitors continue to come here. Building this new terminal will help us attract airlines and travelers from all over the world, giving them the first-class airport experience they expect from a world-class city like L.A.," said Councilwoman Janice Hahn (15th District), who chairs the City Council Committee that oversees the airport. "In these tough economic times, the modernization of Bradley West is essential to stimulating our economy, creating good new jobs, and nurturing our vital tourism industry."
Councilman Bill Rosendahl (11th District which includes LAX) said, "When Mayor Villaraigosa and I brokered the LAX Legal Settlement Agreement, this is exactly what we envisioned; that the airport would work hand-in-hand with its neighbors to bring about real progress on modernizing LAX. This groundbreaking is a great victory for that process, for the LAX community, and for our city. It signals that consensus and cooperation are alive and well at LAX."
"This is a great, long-overdue project to expand the international gateway to Los Angeles," said Councilman Tom LaBonge (4th District). "The late, great Mayor Tom Bradley will be smiling down on this ceremony from the skies."
Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners President Alan Rothenberg said, "The emphasis of our airport modernization program is to dramatically improve the passenger experience from curbside to airside with a design that captures the spirit of Los Angeles, establishes new levels of passenger convenience, and exudes a sense of welcome and a comfortable pace for the harried traveler."
Airport handled more than 17.8 million foreign travelers in 2013, a record for the West Coast gateway that struggled for years to recover that portion of its market.
LAX is expected to be the first U.S. destination of an A380 passenger flight next year.
Plans call for a dramatic remodeling, resulting in the addition of 32 new airline gates capable of accommodating newer, wide-bodied jetliners.