Operations

California Operators Prepare For Major LAX Upgrades

Martin Romjue
Posted on March 20, 2019

A rendering of the automated people mover train that will connect three stations in the LAX central terminal area with three stations outside the airport, ensuring rapid access for departing and arriving passengers starting in 2023. (LAMP image)

A rendering of the automated people mover train that will connect three stations in the LAX central terminal area with three stations outside the airport, ensuring rapid access for departing and arriving passengers starting in 2023. (LAMP image)

LOS ANGELES — City officials broke ground March 14 on an automated people mover (APM) that will connect travelers with terminals at Los Angeles International Airport while creating new locations to pick-up and drop off passengers.

Once the train is completed in 2023, the APM will connect with L.A. Metro's light rail system. The train is the centerpiece of the Landside Access Modernization Program (LAMP), which also includes a Consolidated Rent-A-Car (ConRAC) facility and related roadway improvements.

The LAMP plan was a leading topic at a March 6 Greater California Livery Association meeting near LAX where operators saw a presentation of the plan. Still unknown is how exactly LAMP will affect pick-up and drop-off access for charter party carriers during and after construction.

GCLA board director and Los Angeles operator Chris Hundley advised GCLA members they will need to plan for and negotiate reduced curbside access in the next few years during LAX construction.

GCLA board director and Los Angeles operator Chris Hundley advised GCLA members they will need to plan for and negotiate reduced curbside access in the next few years during LAX construction.

Industry Advocates

To reach a resolution, the GCLA and Advocates for Fairness in Transportation (AFT) have joined together to work with Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA).

“We are talking with LAWA,” said Mark Stewart, an Orange County operator and former GCLA President who has been retained by both trade groups to help lead efforts to secure the best airport access for operators. “Policy decisions have not been made on limousines and TNCs.”

GCLA board director Chris Hundley, who runs Limousine Connection in North Hollywood, told GCLA members the groups are engaging in the “best open dialogue ever with LAX” and referred to the issue as a work in progress.

Construction of the APM in the airport’s central terminal area (CTA) will result in a temporary 38% loss in curbside access for all vehicles looping through the airport.

“We’re going to have 1.5 years of pain before we see any gain,” Hundley said. “So be prepared. We know it’s coming. That’s life.”

Stephanie Sampson, public relations manager for LAMP, gave California operators an overview of airport improvements during the Greater California Livery Association member meeting Wednesday, March 6, 2019 in Los Angeles. (LCT photos)

Stephanie Sampson, public relations manager for LAMP, gave California operators an overview of airport improvements during the Greater California Livery Association member meeting Wednesday, March 6, 2019 in Los Angeles. (LCT photos)

Stewart and Hundley fielded questions from operators following a presentation by Stephanie Sampson, public relations manager for LAMP. Sampson provided an overview of the entire upgrade project from start to finish.

LAMP Bring LAX Into 21st Century

The $5.5 billion LAMP is part of $14.3 billion in airport-related improvements over the next 10 years, Sampson said. “The focus of the LAMP project is to improve access to the terminals, reduce traffic congestion, give you time guarantee access to terminals, and improve the guest experience.”

The automated people mover would run on a 2.25 mile elevated guideway with three stations outside of the terminal loop and three inside the terminal loop. The stations outside the terminal loop include one at the Consolidated Rent-A-Car Facility (ConRAC), one which will connect to the Metro light rail system (airport Metro connector), and one at the Intermodal Transportation Facility – West (ITF-West), which is a 4,700 stall parking structure.

Construction on the elevated automated people mover guideways begins in April.

Construction on the elevated automated people mover guideways begins in April.

ConRAC, the people mover system, airport Metro connector (AMC), and roadway improvements are scheduled to be done in March 2023, and ITF-West in 2021. The opening of ITF-West will enable the airport to offset the temporary loss of a few hundred parking paces for visitors while construction proceeds in the CTA. All current parking structures in the CTA will remain.

Once LAMP is finished in 2023, passengers can move from the airport Metro connector to terminals in 10 minutes or less. “This brings us into the Millennium of how an airport should operate with a train connecting you to your terminals,” Sampson said.

The people mover train will stop at elevated stations connected to airport terminals via walkways.

The people mover train will stop at elevated stations connected to airport terminals via walkways.

According to a LAWA press release announcing the groundbreaking, trains will arrive every two minutes, have wide doors for easy access, large windows for viewing, and plenty of hand holds and seats for those in need. Station platforms are open air and will have escalators, elevators, and moving walkways for quick access to the terminals. The trains will relieve traffic congestion and are expected to serve 30 million travelers annually from 2023.

Curbside Challenges

Three train stations will be built down the center of the airport terminal area and connect to terminals on either side via elevated walkways.

Construction is scheduled to start next month on the main columns for the elevated train guideway, and will reduce curbside access for ground transportation vehicles.

“As we go through construction and gear up for 2020, we will have lost 38% of our curbside boarding space,” Sampson told the GCLA. “At the end of 2020, that number will drop to 30% and we will start getting back our curb space. This construction will be going on and impacting how you pick up passengers and your customers, and it will all be going on at the same time.” CTA construction is scheduled to end in 2022.

The APM will connect to the Metro light rail system at an airport Metro connector in the Century Boulevard area.

The APM will connect to the Metro light rail system at an airport Metro connector in the Century Boulevard area.

Rising LAX Passenger Traffic

LAMP evolved from the reality of increasing air passenger traffic and airport ground traffic congestion. LAX handled 87.5 million passengers in 2018, up from 84.6 million in 2017. Over the next few years, the airport projects a 1-2% increase in number. Much of those increases are driven by Los Angeles area tourism which now brings in 55 million annual visitors. LAX is ranked as the No. 1 airport in the U.S. for passenger origins – those beginning and ending their trips here.

“People are coming here and enjoying what we have to offer,” Sampson said.

On April 11, 2018, a 30-year, $4.9 billion contract with LINXS, the developer of the APM, was unanimously approved by the Los Angeles City Council, marking the largest contract ever awarded in the city’s history. Since then, LINXS has focused on finalizing the design of the guideway, operations systems, and stations along the 2.25 mile path — work that now allows for the start of major construction on the project, the press release stated. Through this public-private partnership contracting model, LINXS is designing, building, and financing the project and is also responsible for operating and maintaining the trains and stations for a 30-year period.

For more information on the LAMP project, visit FlyLAX.com/ConnectingLAX.

LCT related article: Leading Industry CEOs Advocate For Airport Access

Related Topics: airports, California operators, Chris Hundley, construction, LAX, Los Angeles, Los Angeles operators, Mark Stewart

Martin Romjue Editor
Comments ( 2 )
  • Anthony

     | about 4 months ago

    You have many type of passengers.... tourists and people flying home... then there are the executives that are in town for important meetings.... every minute counts... on major holidays it can take 44 minutes to enter airport and leave.... the issue is all the vehicles that have flooded into the lax facility.. For all the uber and lyft passengers that are looking to pay 9 dollars for their ride.. well, make them take the blue electric bus to a designated area.. Allow the livery companies that the customers are paying too dollar for their transportation... just like an airplane.. first class gets off the plane 1st and loads the plane 1st... the luggagw is marked priority.. they pay extra for that type of travel options.. now they are all in the same swiming pool and their valuable time is ruined by a tech app that burns through billions.

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