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Touring LAX's future international terminal

January 24, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Big changes for international travelers: The Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport is getting a new wing, complete with a terminal to accommodate the new giant Airbus A380. Eyewitness News took a tour of the project.

Computer-generated pictures of LAX's new Bradley Terminal show a shiny, state-of-the-art complex clad in steel and glass.

Officials say construction of the massive international terminal is now nearing the halfway point.

And to show off the progress, the Los Angeles World Airports Executive Director Gina Marie Lindsey and L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa led the media on a walking tour amid the work in progress.

"This is the largest single public works project ever in the history of the city of Los Angeles," said Lindsey.

The new terminal spans nearly half a mile and contains enough steel to build five Eiffel Towers. Something like this costs a lot of money, but the mayor says it also generates a lot of jobs.

"Four-point-one-billion-dollar investment here, approximately 40,000 new jobs," said Villaraigosa. "We hadn't done any major renovation here at LAX since 1984."

Newer larger planes were a big reason for the updated terminal. The Airbus A380 is so big they need special gates to load and unload passengers. Airport officials say nine of the new terminal's 18 gates will accommodate the larger planes.

Also settled, they say, are any "line-of-sight" concerns. Air traffic controllers had complained that they wouldn't be able to see planes moving behind the new terminal from the LAX tower.

"We're using radar, we're using gate-docking systems and we're using cameras to address the line-of-sight issue," said LAWA Deputy Executive Director Roger Johnson.

In the meantime, it will be a while before the public sets its sights on the inside of the terminal. It isn't expected to open until some time in 2013.