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Southwest wants to do more upgrading at LAX

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Southwest Airlines has already begun work on a major renovation of Terminal 1 at LAX. Now the carrier wants to do more, and that will add to the costs. 

If you’ve flown out of Terminal 1 at LAX, you’ve probably waited in the security checkpoint line that often spills out to its curb. So you know it needs an upgrade.  Southwest reached a deal with Los Angeles World Airports last year to renovate the terminal for around $384 million dollars.  

The original list of upgrades includes improving the passenger security screening checkpoint, a new baggage sorting system, upgrading holdrooms and other building infrastructure, refurbishing the arrival/baggage claim area, replacing passenger boarding bridges, and replacing aircraft paving sections and associated fuel hydrant pit locations to accommodate larger planes.

 Here's what Southwest wants to add, as the L.A. Airspace blog originally reported:

If that seems like a lot, it is... and it will move the projected budget up to $509 million dollars.  

"From the design effort that we’ve been in, we’ve just have understood the building more and some of the primary things that caused this were seismic upgrades.," Southwest Vice President Bob Montgomery told the Los Angeles Board of Airport commissioners on Monday.

Since that represents a seismic shift in the budget and timeline, and the airport will eventually pay for it, some Airport commissioners wanted to know if that kind of increase in scope is normal.  Gina-Marie Lindsey, Executive Director of Los Angeles World Airports, the city agency that runs LAX said it’s not unique to LAX.

"I think it's the nature of going into a very, very old house and trying to make the value judgement in what you think initially," Lindsey told the commissioners.  "But then you get into the bones and start doing the design and you say ‘well, here are opportunities. Should we seize those opportunities or should we not?'"

Lindsey said she expects United Airlines will also want to do more as it renovates Terminals 6, 7, and 8.  The Airport Commissioners approved Southwest’s new plans unanimously.  The renovations will happen in stages, with some parts done as soon as early next year, and other projects finishing in early 2018.