Thursday, August 12, 2010

Alaska Airlines to relocate to Terminal 6 at LAX

Long-awaited work on domestic facilities at Los Angeles International Airport will finally begin this year as Alaska Airlines prepares to move into Terminal 6, officials said Monday.

With preliminary costs of $200 million, the terminal renovation calls for additional airline gates, more security lanes, and a new baggage screening system, said Ed White, vice president of corporate real estate for Alaska Airlines.

When completed, Terminal 6 would be able to accommodate Alaska Airlines' domestic and international flights, White told the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners.

The project, set for completion in early 2012, will be funded by Alaska Airlines, LAX and the Transportation Security Administration, airport officials said.

"It's a tired terminal," White said. "It not only needs to be opened up, but also needs to be spruced up in the entire customer area."

Renderings show the terminal bathed in ice blue lights and walls accented with wood paneling. The terminal's ticketing lobby and baggage claim areas also will be roomier.

Alaska Airlines has shown interest in moving into Terminal 6 for about three years, but a "convoluted set of leases" with other airlines housed inside the building kept that from happening, said Steve Martin, chief operating officer for LAX.

A series of deals in recent months have cleared the path, allowing Alaska Airlines to move in, Martin said.

In a separate matter, airport officials are preparing for the next round of bids for dining and retail contracts at LAX, even though the current set of proposals remains mired in controversy.
Officials hope to issue a call for bids by December for companies interested in operating shops and eateries inside Terminals 1, 2, 3, 6 and the Tom Bradley International Terminal.

Consideration of all bids won't happen until sometime in 2011, even though the airport's current set of concession contracts expires at the end of this year.

The delay could hamper completion of the ongoing Bradley terminal expansion project, which requires that new concession operators participate in the building's design and construction process.

While the "paramount objective" is finding concessionaires for the Bradley terminal, the bids will not be split from Terminals 1, 2, 3 and 6, said Gina Marie Lindsey, executive director of LAX.

The move comes as the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office reviews the airport's bidding process for five proposed dining contracts spread across Terminals 4, 5, 7 and 8.

Airport officials had hoped those contracts would be approved by the start of summer, but one of the losing bidders has alleged a conflict of interest in the selection process. The proposed deals could be tossed aside if the City Attorney's Office finds any wrongdoing.

"While we've tried to be patient on the award of contracts for Terminals 4, 5, 7 and 8, I think we need to move on," Lindsey told the airport commission.

(Art Marroquin - The Daily Breeze)

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