In airport news this week, Los Angeles moves forward with a couple of new construction projects; Delta overhauls its Sky Club at Raleigh-Durham; Chicago introduces a new tool for passengers to determine taxi waiting times; Minneapolis-St. Paul adds some new gates and restaurants; and Air Canada cuts the ribbon on a Maple Leaf lounge at Montreal.
Pending final approval from the city council, the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners has given a tentative OK to environmental and design plans for what it is calling the Terminal 1.5 project – construction of a six-level, 417,500 square foot building connecting Terminals 1 (Southwest) and Terminal 2 (International). It won’t have any boarding gates, but will provide a new baggage claim area on the lower level, a ticketing lobby on the upper level, security screening on the concourse level and office space on the top two levels. Pre-security walkways on the first two levels will connect Terminals 1 and 2. The facility is expected to open in the summer of 2019. Meanwhile, airport officials are releasing a request for qualifications for design and construction of LAX’s planned Consolidated Rent-A-Car Center, which will be near Interstate 405 in Manchester Square. It will be linked to terminals by an automated people-mover system.
On December 6, Delta officials will cut the ribbon on the airline’s renovated Sky Club at Raleigh-Durham Airport, located on the second level of Terminal 2 across from Gate C3. The club has new contemporary furnishings; power outlets and charging stations near every seat; faster Wi-Fi; an expanded business center; a bar with free beverages including local craft beers, premium wines and cocktails as well as Starbucks coffee and self-serve espresso machines.
Noting that passenger counts at its Terminal 2 (Humphrey Terminal) have increased by 5.4 percent this year, Minneapolis-St. Paul International said it has opened four new aircraft gates at that terminal, which is used by Southwest, Sun Country, Icelandair and Condor. Besides the new gates (H11-H14), the project also included a new nursing mothers’ room and an indoor pet/service animal relief area. In Terminal 1, meanwhile, two new food and beverage options have opened. Concourse E is home to LoLo American Kitchen and Craft Bar, with seasonal local cuisine and craft beers; and Concourse D is the site of Republic, a “gastropub” offering local beers and small plate cuisine – along with live music performances during peak travel periods.
The Chicago Department of Aviation announced a new texting tool that passengers can use to get live updates on taxi waiting line times at the city’s two airports. Users simply text the word “taxi” to 312-883-8404 for O’Hare Airport waiting times, or 312-883-7969 for Midway Airport. The city also offers “e-hailing” for taxis through apps available at www.Chicabs.org, and the Aviation Department provides taxi wait times, traffic updates, weather and special travel alerts through its website at www.flychicago.com.
Following a year-long overhaul, Air Canada’s International Maple Leaf Lounge at Montreal Trudeau has reopened. Located between Gates 52 and 53, the 11,000-square foot facility has room for 259 passengers. It has floor to ceiling windows, a full service bar with free drinks, a live food station, specialty coffees, free Wi-Fi, showers, a work area and more. It’s open to eligible Air Canada and Star Alliance customers.
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