Delta Air Lines and Los Angeles World Airports on Tuesday celebrated the completion of the first phase of the “Delta Sky Way at LAX,” the joint effort to transform a terminal at Los Angeles International Airport. This segment of the joint $2.3 billion investment between Delta and LAWA was completed 18 months ahead of schedule, according to the carrier.
The project consolidates Terminals 2 and 3 and is scheduled to open on April 20, with a centralized check-in lobby offering 32 self-serve kiosks and 46 check-in positions along a 250-foot wall with baggage drops, signage in both English and Spanish, Sky Club volume and gate information.
Delta in April also will open a new Sky Club lounge with more than 30,000 square feet of space including an indoor/outdoor bar, a year-round Sky Deck and showers. In addition, all building systems will be LEED Silver-certified, according to Delta.
“It’s truly an exciting day, and equally exciting is we stood together four years ago and broke ground and told the community, our customers, our employees, all our constituents that we were going to change the face of L.A. and LAX, and look at what we’ve done,” said Delta CEO Ed Bastian.
Once the project is complete, expected in 2023, the combined terminals will be located in a 1.2 million-sq.-ft. complex with 27 gates and will be connected to the Tom Bradley International Terminal, according to Delta. Security facilities also will receive an upgrade, and as of April 20, seven security lanes will be opened, with another seven to be added by late summer.
In partnership with the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, qualifying customers will be able to choose using facial recognition technology to check bags, pass through security and board their flight hands-free through use of their digital identity—created with a customer’s SkyMiles number, passport number and TSA Known Traveler Number, according to Delta.
The upgrades come as business travel continues to recover for the carrier, currently at 60 percent of 2019 levels globally and expected to reach 65 percent by the end of the first quarter, Delta VP of sales for the West Scott Santoro told BTN. “Business is back and coming back at a fast clip,” he added. Another Delta spokesperson said that every corporate account has had employees traveling again.
Delta met with “four to five dozen” corporate travel managers the past two weeks on both coasts, and “most restrictions have been lifted for most of the larger corporations we do business with,” Santoro said. “They’re now able to fly without permissions or approval from senior teams.”
The challenge, however, has been to figure out where those travelers are coming from, as many employees are not necessarily working from the same hubs they did before.
“Now, companies are trying to get those workers back into each of those cities,” Santoro said. “Even the travel managers are trying to figure this out. A couple said, as we progress through the summer, more stability should be back in the headquarters of where offices are, as they reopen. Each day we’re seeing a new office park reopen.”
As for the new LAX facilities, customers “will walk into the large spacious check-in facility that business travelers are not used to in L.A., with the new technology throughout the terminal and one of the most spacious Sky Clubs we have for business travelers, designed by business travelers,” Santoro said. The carrier said it is the largest global carrier at LAX.
Santoro added that corporate clients changed where they do business during the pandemic, and Delta is finding out what their future needs are, because where they are traveling to is changing. “I can’t talk about future scheduling, but building this beautiful brand-new [facility] which soon will have 27 gates, I can’t say that we’re not going to add further service as we proceed through the summer,” he said. “You will start to see new dots on the map, just as we provided new dots on the map during the pandemic. Cities we weren’t flying to, we’re flying there now. Business has shifted.”