Construction could begin by the end of 2021 on the initial phases of an expansion project which could bring new passenger gates to Los Angeles International Airport.

The LAX Airfield and Terminal Modernization Project, according to an environmental study published on October 29 by Los Angeles World Airports, calls for an extension of Terminal 1 onto an adjoining surface parking lot.  The proposed L-shaped structure, called Concourse 0, would include 11 new passenger gates along the west side of Sepulveda Boulevard.

On the south side of the airport "horseshoe," LAWA has proposed a new Terminal 9, which would be located across Sepulveda Boulevard from the central terminal area.  The new building would include 12 passenger gates for international and domestic travel.

The new passenger facilities would be accompanied by realignments of several access roads, as well as modifications to taxiways and runways on the northern side of the airport.

Terminal 9 would have a dedicated drop-off and arrival area, as well as a pedestrian bridge connecting it to the central terminal area.  Additionally, plans call for the addition of a new station to the under-construction LAX automated people mover system.

According to the environmental impact report, construction of the proposed passenger facilities and associated infrastructure would occur in four overlapping phases.

The initial phase of construction would focus on extensions and modifications to LAX's north airfield, beginning in late 2021 and continuing through mid-2026.

Work on infrastructure projects in advance of the Concourse 0 expansion are expected to begin roughly one year later, with conclusion expected by late 2024.  Completion of Concourse 0 is anticipated by late 2026.

Following roughly one year of site preparation and other association projects, heavy construction of Terminal 9 is expected to begin in 2023, with completion scheduled to occur in late 2027.

Completion of all projects associated with the expansion is expected by 2028.

LAX is already in the midst of a $14-billion capital improvement program which includes renovations of existing terminals, the addition of a 12-gate midfield satellite concourse, and its new automated people mover system.

Upgrades to the nation's second busiest airport have come as the COVID-19 pandemic has cut passenger traffic to 65 percent below normal levels, according to Spectrum News 1.  Only 31 million passengers are expected to pass through the airport this year - down from 88.1 million in 2019. 

A LAWA official told Spectrum that the industry expects to take three-to-five years to return to 2019 passenger levels.