Delta Air Lines passengers flying through notoriously congested Los Angeles International Airport will soon enjoy about double the amount of terminal space and nine additional passenger gates due to a $1.9 billion renovation that is more than a year ahead of schedule.

Delta executives and LAX representatives offered a sneak peek at the expanded and renovated terminal project Tuesday. The terminal opens to the public in April. It will feature 27 gates — compared with the 16 passenger gates offered before the overhaul — and 1.2 million square feet for passengers, compared with 600,000 square feet in its previous location at LAX.

The slowdown in passenger traffic during the pandemic allowed Delta to speed up construction, putting the project about 18 months head of schedule. Parts of the project, including the outdoor bar in the 30,000-square-foot club lounge, won’t be open until next year.

In an interview, Delta CEO Ed Bastian said the extra space and additional gates will help ease LAX’s congestion and make the airport more attractive to travelers.

“We never had the facilities to manage it because we couldn’t slow down to build out what we needed for the future,” he said. “The pandemic, one of the silver linings was that it allowed us to slow down and build up.”

The new terminal project was the result of a massive reshuffling of terminals in 2017 so that Delta could move its LAX operations. The move cuts international connecting times by up to 20 minutes, according to the airline.


LAX, the nation’s second busiest airport, has been ranked as one of the nation’s most congested and most difficult to navigate airports, a problem airport and Los Angeles city officials hope to address with a multiyear, $15 billion modernization expected to be completed as soon 2023.

During a news conference at the new Delta terminal, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti addressed LAX’s tarnished reputation, saying LAX is “an airport that was once synonymous with everything that was dysfunctional and slow.” He added that the six most feared words in Los Angeles were “can you drop me at LAX.”

Airlines such as American and Southwest are also investing in LAX by expanding or overhauling their terminals, lounges and other facilities.

In October, American Airlines is expected to complete a $1.6 billion overhaul of its facilities in Terminals 4 and 5, creating a single 300,000-square-foot hall with bigger bathrooms, more power outlets and large windows that will allow in natural light. The overall area won’t expand much, but American Airlines officials say a reconfigured ticket counter and check-in area will reduce wait times.

Southwest Airlines kicked off a $508 million project in 2014 to overhaul and modernize Terminal 1. The project is expected to be completed later this year.