An all-new Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) experience will be ready a full 18 months sooner than planned.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti joined leaders from Delta and Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) to announce the acceleration of the Delta Sky Way terminal modernization project  – a $1.86 billion project to modernize, upgrade and connect Terminals 2, 3, and the Tom Bradley International Terminal that will now be ready in mid-2023.

The announcement came during a “topping out” ceremony Thursday as the final steel beam was secured to complete the central headhouse structure, where Delta’s consolidated check-in lobby, security checkpoint and bag claim facility will be located.

“LAX is a central pillar of our economic strength — part of the connective tissue bringing our city to the rest of the world — and we remain focused on enhancing its infrastructure, strengthening our workforce, and transforming the traveler experience,” said Mayor Garcetti. “Even as we confront the immediate crisis of COVID-19, we are accelerating our work to devise a premier airport where visitors are greeted by reimagined terminals, workers land in good-paying jobs, and the city of the future truly takes off.”

Lower passenger volumes at LAX and throughout the U.S. are allowing for the temporary closure of Terminal 3 and the acceleration of the project, making it possible for the facility to open in mid-2023, instead of late 2024.

“If there’s a silver lining to fewer people flying right now, it’s that we have an opportunity and a team with the know-how to pull the future forward on infrastructure projects like Sky Way at LAX, which will deliver an exceptional experience much faster than planned for our customers and employees,” said Mark Pearson, Delta Vice President – Corporate Real Estate, in a statement. “This is all possible thanks to the incredible support of LAWA, the City of Los Angeles and our construction partners who are aligned with our vision, and our employees who continue to be nimble in supporting customers throughout each phase of construction.”

Delta’s LAX central headhouse will open in the first quarter of 2022. The facility will also provide connectivity beyond security between Terminals 2 and 3, currently only possible via shuttle bus.

“As we reimagine Los Angeles International Airport, the modernization of Terminals 2 and 3 is an example of how we are realizing our goal to be one of the top international airports in the world by creating new facilities and passenger experiences that are modern, streamlined and built on a framework of advanced technology,” said Justin Erbacci, Chief Executive Officer, LAWA, in a statement. “The new headhouse will be a new front door for Delta Air Lines guests, creating a key linking point for the north terminals and providing easy access to the Automated People Mover train when it begins operations in 2023.”

When completed, the modern LAX facility will offer more security screening capacity, automated security lanes, more gate-area seating and Delta’s largest Delta Sky Club. This is in addition to the Delta ONE at LAX check-in space and a concession program in partnership with Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield Corporation.

The Delta Sky Way project is part of the $14 billion LAX Modernization Program that will see LAX transformed in advance of the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Los Angeles, of which Delta is the inaugural founding partner. It is being completed in partnership with LAWA and the City of Los Angeles, and is part of more than $12 billion in airport infrastructure projects that Delta is investing in at several of its key hubs in Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, Salt Lake City and Seattle.

Delta has also accelerated construction of the $3.9 billion transformation of its New York – LaGuardia hub with an anticipated new completion by the end of 2025 – six months ahead of schedule. Meanwhile, the new Salt Lake City Airport that opened in September of this year will see projects including airfield pavement work and remaining gates at concourses A and B completed by mid-2024 – a full year ahead of schedule.

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