New Los Angeles Airport T1 ‘a destination in its own right’

By Andrew Pentol |

lax airfield

The Terminal 1 renovation began in 2014 and is part of an overall LAX modernisation programme.

Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), Southwest Airlines, employees and customers officially unveiled the new LAX Terminal 1 today (30 November).

Mayor Eric Garcetti, also attended the ceremony which saw the unveiling of the $516.7m redevelopment by Southwest which includes new dining and retail options.

The new facility also features ‘a larger and more efficient’ centralised screening checkpoint and larger seating areas in gates.

“We customised the Terminal 1 experience, both in the design and leasing, to fit the Southwest brand and customer,” Dan Hough, Vice President, Development & Asset Lead at LAX, URW Airports Southwest told TRBusiness. “Southwest is all about fun and expected moments, and T1 truly speaks to that.

“The design of the terminal is bright, energetic and also efficient and easy for Southwest travellers, who tend to dwell in a terminal for less time than they do with other carriers.”


The Terminal 1 renovation, which began in 2014 is part of an overall LAX modernisation programme. The first phase was completed in 2016, with the final 10 of 20 retail and dining options revealed earlier this year.

Mayor Garrcetti said: “Los Angeles is a city of dreamers and doers and the reimagined Terminal 1 reflects the creativity at the heart of our city. Working together with Southwest Airlines and our partners, what we have created is more than a terminal that connects passengers to flights — it’s a destination in its own right.”

Joe Buscaino, Council Member, Southwest Airlines added: “Today, the City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles World Airports are celebrating a momentous occasion. This the completion of a half-billion dollar investment into our airport by Southwest Airlines.

“As investment and partnerships continue to take flight. Travellers can get a sneak peek of the future of LAX by visiting Southwest’s Terminal 1 — a new first‐class experience for every traveller, visitor and Angeleno.”


The New Stand store and kiosk carry a rotating mix of travel essentials, gifts and accessories.

Mike Bonin, a fellow Council Member commented: “The work happening to modernise LAX is focused on making our airport a more convenient and inviting place to travel through for Angelenos and visitors.

“From the improved security screening facilities, new restrooms and concessions that feature local eateries, LAX is rapidly becoming the world‐class airport this city deserves. The renovations to Terminal 1 will make this part of LAX more secure and more environmentally‐friendly. I applaud Southwest and LAWA on their progress so far.”


Constructed in the early 1980s in advance of the 1984 Olympic Games, the project was completed with minimal impact to customer service and flight operations, keeping around 10m customers moving through the facility each year of the development.

Deborah Flint, CEO, LAWA said the T1 modernisation had been a phenomenal effort by all partners at LAWA, Southwest and URW Airports and the results raised the bar for what guests could expect when they came to LAX.

Val Velasco, Vice President, Board of Airport Commissioners remarked:  “Today’s reveal of Terminal 1 marks a significant milestone in our continued improvement and modernisation of LAX.

“Not only are we transforming LAX into the airport for the future, but we’re doing so with a local workforce and businesses to ensure that our community is involved in and benefits from all that we do.”


The major objective of the T1 project was to eliminate queues that crowded the approaches to ticketing, security and at shops and restaurants in ‘previously cramped’ gate areas.

Now, the 13-gate terminal features new self‐service check‐in stations, the repositioned security checkpoint and additional retail and dining offerings post‐security.

Gary Kelly, CEO, Southwest said: “Southwest carries more California travellers to, from and within the Golden State every day than any other airline and is scheduled to offer a record 800 departures a day from California next summer.

“This redeveloped Terminal 1 facility at LAX will host many of those customers and is the perfect venue for our award‐winning people to showcase their world‐famous hospitality.”


The Brookstone store offers gifts for men, women and children.


Southwest worked with LAX partner URW Airports, the terminal commercial manager, on a new and expanded dining and retail approach. This includes local brands Urth Caffé, Trejo’s Tacos and Cassell’s Hamburgers among others.

“Urth Caffe is a vibrant, local café that Angelenos love, and it works for this terminal,” added Hough. “Similarly, New Stand is a unique twist on a traditional travel essentials brand.”

With 22 dining and retail destinations spread across 23,543sq ft, the new offerings introduce 13 new brands to LAX and eight which are making their airport debut.

Hensel‐Phelps, Southwest, Construction Manager along with architects from PGAL worked with URW to integrate shopping and dining destinations throughout the terminal, giving airport guests greater options and more visibility to their gate.

As part of the Terminal 1 unveiling ceremony, Mayor Garcetti also opened the first long‐term LA Original store, operated by Marshall Retail Group. LA Original will be the first‐year occupant of a retail space at the front of the terminal that will rotate regularly to introduce guests to trending brands and new products.


Urth Caffé offers organic coffee and fine teas and a fresh, healthy and sustainable menu.


La Original, a pilot programme of the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles and the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, provides a platform to promote locally designed, assembled, or manufactured goods. This is through a line of LA‐branded products from across Los Angeles. Proceeds support creative entrepreneur programs.

Dominic Lowe, Executive Vice President and Group Director, URW Airports said: “The Southwest brand is all about customer service and little surprise‐and‐delight moments. Today you can feel that energy pulsing in the new terminal.

“Terminal 1 is true testament to the results we can achieve in airports when we all come together with a shared vision.”


The Kiehl’s store offers a range of natural skincare solutions.

A comprehensive retail and dining offer includes an Organic Beaming Superfood Cafe, LAX-first Be Relax spa, Brookstone gift outlet for men and women, Californian Pizza Kitchen, I Love LA travel essentials and souvenir/gift shop, MAC cosmetics store and New Stand store and kiosk.

The latter carries a rotating mix of travel essentials, gifts and accessories while its free mobile app offers music, deals and a digital wallet.

Last year, Terminal 1 served 9.6m passengers as LAX hit 84.5m across all its terminals (including TBIT).


Left-right: A Be Relax Spa, Treat Me Sweet confectionery store and Sol Surf outlet are part of the 20-strong dining and retail offer in LAX T1.


Concession revenue at LAX reached $451.1m (+6.8%) in 2017 as total operating revenue matched that growth to reach $1.4bn, according to LAWA financial disclosures for the fiscal year ended 30 June 2017. Of that, income from duty free contributed $78.1m.

Westfield Corporation entered into a Terminal Commercial Management Concession Agreement at Terminal’s 1, 3 and 6 to develop, lease and manage retail, F&B and other services in 2012 for a period of 17 years.

Construction by the same project team is underway on Terminal 1.5, a connecting structure between Terminals 1 and 2. This will further expand baggage claim areas and offer Southwest Customers connectivity to the new LAX automated people mover.


The dining and retail destinations are spread across 23,543sq ft.


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