Politics

Luxe LAX lounge to help VIP passengers avoid paparazzi

Airport Police Officer O. Gatewood on bike patrol outside Tom Bradley International Airport Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014.
Airport Police Officer O. Gatewood on bike patrol outside Tom Bradley International Airport Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014.
Sharon McNary/KPCC

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A private security company has struck a deal with Los Angeles World Airports to create a VIP passenger lounge at LAX to help celebrity and wealthy clients avoid the paparazzi and general public.

The luxe lounge at LAX would be run by Gavin De Becker Associates LP, a private security firm, under an agreement recently approved by the airport's governing board. The company would revamp an old office building on the Imperial Boulevard side of the airport.
 
It will be the first all-inclusive luxury passenger lounge in the United States, said Debbie Bowers, deputy director for commercial development at LAX.  The lounge is similar to one at London's Heathrow Airport.
 
"The royal family uses it, you have ambassadors, you have political people besides just more high profile people like sports people and celebrities," Bowers said.
 
The lounge would have its own TSA and customs checkpoints, also paid for by the lounge operator. Limos would shuttle passengers to their commercial flights using  tarmac access roads alongside the runways.
 
In return, the airport gets $34 million over the next 10 years.

Bowers said the luxe lounge would also reduce disruptions in the terminals when paparazzi spot traveling celebrities.