Airport news: LAX, New York, Dallas, Newark, Denver

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Photo: Grimshaw Architects

What Newark’s Terminal A will look like after it is remade into Terminal 1.


In recent airport news, Los Angeles officials awarded a $4.9 billion contract for construction of that proposed automated people-mover system at LAX; First look at interiors of TWA hotel at JFK; a concourse at Dallas/Ft. Worth will get more aircraft gates and additional concessions; a look at Newark Liberty International’s planned new Terminal A; and Denver International will add some new food and beverage concessions to United’s B Concourse, including a Shake Shack.

Photo: Los Angeles World Airports

An automated people-mover system has long been part of the future plans for Los Angeles International Airport, and the city council last week voted in favor of a $4.9 billion (!) contract to start construction on the project. (With all the various terminal expansion and improvement projects going on at LAX, why not throw in another big construction project right in the middle of the airport?) The city awarded the contract to LAX Integrated Express Solutions, which will use transportation equipment from Bombardier Transportation. According to City Councilman Joe Buscaino, the people-over system will eliminate “the frustration of the tangled traffic inside the horseshoe” at LAX. “Coupled with the new consolidated rent-a-car facility and the LAX/Crenshaw line, in a few short years going to LAX will become stressless,” he said. When it starts running ion 2023, the system will carry up to 10,000 passengers an hour, linking the car rental center and Metro light rail with the terminals. You can see a video preview of the system. Big question: Will anyone ride it in auto-obsessed LA? Hmmm.

Retro nostalgia will be the theme of guest rooms at the 512-room TWA Hotel now under construction at New York’s JFK Airport, which is due to open next year. Linked to JetBlue’s Terminal 5, the hotel’s centerpiece will be the landmark TWA Terminal at the airport, which opened in 1962 with an innovative design by renowned architect Eero Saarinen. In a preview of its guest rooms, the hotel’s developer said that to protect against aircraft noise, windows will be 4.5 inches thick, with seven panes of glass. Retro touches in each room will include a walnut-and-glass cocktail bar, Saarinen-designed mid-century modern furniture, bathrooms featuring Hollywood-style vanities with bubble lights, amenities with the old TWA logo, and a 1950s-style rotary phone.

Photo: TWA Hotel

Dallas/Ft. Worth International and American Airlines have agreed on a plan to increase the size of the airport’s Terminal E Satellite and use it as the home for American’s regional flights. The expansion project, which should be finished by the summer of 2019, calls for the construction of six more aircraft gates, for a total of 15 — all designed to handle regional jets — as well as space for more passenger concessions. Seating at the gate areas will get more power outlets for charging passengers’ devices, and the project will include new elevators and moving sidewalks for easier access to the facility from Terminal E’s main concourse.

Grimshaw, an international design firm selected as the lead architect for Newark Liberty International’s Terminal One project, has released renderings of what the finished project will look like. Construction begins this month on the $1.4 billion, four-year project, which will see the airport’s existing Terminal A replaced with a new 1 million-square foot Terminal 1, featuring 33 aircraft gates, a spacious and airy passenger concourse, moving walkways and an eventual link to the airport’s AirTrain people-mover system. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey noted that the existing Terminal A is outdated, with “unacceptable congestion at the curbside check-in, long lines at the lobby check-in and security checkpoints, undersized passenger hold room areas, inconvenient and an insufficient number of concessions and bathrooms, inconvenient access to elevators, and insufficient claim device capacity.” (That’s correct. It’s awful.) Terminal A is currently used by Alaska, American, JetBlue, Air Canada and Southwest.

The fast-growing Shake Shack restaurant group recently opened its first location in downtown Denver, and now it is coming to Denver International Airport as well. The Denver City Council has approved 10-year leases for several new concessions at DEN, targeting the second-floor mezzanine level in the middle of United’s Concourse B. In addition to Shake Shack, the new B Concourse concessions will include Snooze, a breakfast restaurant; and Osteria Marco, a branch of a popular eatery in downtown Denver’s Larimer Square. Other new outlets in the B Concourse mezzanine will include Qdoba, Peet’s Coffee, Jamba Juice and Hacienda Colorado. In Concourse C, the existing Rock Bottom restaurant/brewery will be replaced by Great Divide Brewing. The new concessions should start opening later this year and into 2019.

Photo: DFW Airport

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