A recent settlement agreement between Los Angeles World Airports and Alaska Airlines, Inc. has cleared the way for a proposed $271-million renovation of Terminal 6 at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

The Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners voted April 4 to approve the settlement of a lawsuit filed by Alaska Airlines regarding terminal charges.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Alaska Airlines, Inc. agreed to dismiss its claims in the litigation and LAWA and the airline company would enter into a 10-year lease agreement for Terminal 6. The lease agreement was also approved by the Board of Airport Commissioners April 4.

The settlement is subject to Los Angeles City Council approval.

“This is another milestone as we modernize LAX to improve service, safety and efficiency for the traveling public,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “It’s also a boon to the local economy as nearly 700 jobs, as well as numerous construction related material purchases, are created by this project.”

The proposed project will merge Alaska Airlines’ domestic and international operations into a single terminal, helping to improve efficiency and save passengers time, airport officials said. The project also includes features to improve passenger comfort and convenience, such as spacious boarding gates, a new airline club lounge, and new lighting and signage.

“Our modern ‘Airport of the Future’ facility will improve efficiency and greatly enhance our customers’ experience at LAX,” said Karen Gruen, Alaska Airlines’ managing director of corporate real estate. “And our new location at Terminal 6 will provide faster and more convenient connections for our customers on Mexico flights and for those arriving or departing on code-share flights serviced by our partner Delta Air Lines.”

Included in the project is a new in-line, checked baggage inspection system, which will eliminate passengers having to stand in line while federal security personnel screen their luggage. Along with a new airline club lounge, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility at Terminal 6 will be modernized to accommodate Alaska’s international passengers, who currently process through federal inspection at other terminals.

Other planned features include waiting areas and new state-of-the-art gate information displays, as well as specialty lighting, finishes and other architectural elements selected by the airline.

Construction in Terminal 6 will be phased in order to minimize disruptions to passengers and terminal operations, airport officials said. The project is expected to be completed by summer 2012.

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