Los Angeles city and airport officials unveiled the renovated Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) May 26th, hailing the $737 million project for being completed on time and under budget.

The significant renovation was designed to make traveling through the terminal safer, faster and more convenient to passengers and is expected to help LAX retain its competitiveness as the premier West Coast international gateway, officials said.

This was the first major upgrade to the Bradley Terminal since 1984, when the one-million-square-foot terminal was originally built in anticipation of the Los Angeles Olympics, along with the double-deck roadway and concourses that connected airline ticketing counters to satellite boarding gates.

“This renovation project improves the travelers’ experience as they pass through LAX, while enhancing passenger safety by reducing congestion in the airline check-in lobbies and on the curbside,” Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said. “The upgrades also improve customer service so travelers’ experiences in our great city will be positive ones that will make them want to return.”

The three-year project, which began construction in February 2007, included major interior renovations to: airline check-in and passenger arrival lobbies; customs and immigration arrivals hall with larger, high-capacity baggage carousels; arrivals corridors; restrooms; in-line baggage screening system, and public art displays. Boarding gates were also upgraded, including two aircraft gates to accommodate new-generation aircraft such as the Airbus A380 super jumbo jet.

Along with a much more contemporary look, the terminal also incorporated improved accessibility for passengers with disabilities; upgraded utilities such as energy-efficient lighting, and fire-and-life safety systems; new restrooms, elevators and escalators; climate control/ventilation systems; new paging system and clearer signage (including dynamic video panels and digital signage that automatically updates flight information).

The U.S. Green Building Council has awarded the revitalized terminal LEED Silver certification for an existing building, the first for a renovation project at a U.S. airport.

“This is the first and only LEED Silver certified airport project for an existing building in the country, and where the work was performed in a fully operational terminal,” said City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, whose 11th District includes LAX. “This is modernization at its greenest, and its best. I’m proud of our work here, and I challenge others to match it.”

Airport officials noted that the largest single component of the project added 45,000 square feet of space to house a new $140-million in-line, checked-baggage security screening facility, which is designed to reduce congestion in the airline check-in lobby by eliminating the need for passengers to wait in line for their checked luggage to be screened.

In the arrivals lobby, walls of flat-screen displays and glass panels of changing light, and a circular LED (light-emitting diode) element provide a vibrant, colorful introduction to the city, officials note. The $22.9 million Enhanced Passenger Experience Project also included public art installations such as a permanent video art program, which is comprised of 17 artists/artist teams commissioned to produce original video artworks that can be viewed at two venues within the arrivals lobby.

The airlines at the Bradley Terminal also separately funded over $20 million to build new, larger first- and business-class lounges.

“Passenger-friendly terminals and conveniences, airplane-friendly taxiways and gates are all ‘must-haves’ as airports around the world compete for the economic vitality that world-class airports create,” Los Angeles World Airports Executive Director Gina Marie Lindsey said. “Our goal is to modernize LAX to ensure it retains its vital role as the cornerstone of Southern California’s air transportation system.”

The project was funded by a combination of sources, including passenger facility charges, revenue bonds, airline reimbursements and airport revenues.