West Gates, the sleek modern new concourse at Los Angeles International Airport, opened on April 24, 2021, with fanfare and a small opening ceremony
“This is a big day in a big city that’s building out a big new infrastructure,” L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said during the ceremony. “We have for the last eight years, from transit to the port to the airport to our roads, been building a new city. And this airport reflects that. This is one of the crown jewels of that effort…. A place to bring comfort, convenience and welcoming to folks that are coming back home, to people that are visiting for the first time, and an even higher level of service for both international and domestic travelers.”
In a typical year (that is to say; not 2020), Los Angeles International Airport sees between 80 and 90 million passengers passing through to catch nearly 700,000 flights. It’s a major departure port for flights going all over the world. The new concourse, meant to both modernize the airport and relieve congestion, adds 15 more gates. West Gates is five levels and 750,000 square feet, and over a quarter-mile long.
The West Gates concourse is themed around a “digitally based travel experience,” according to airport officials. It has comprehensive wi-fi access, thousands of charging ports, biometric boarding gates and touchscreen kiosks. The airport is planning to integrate 5G coverage in the coming months. The 4.5-year construction project cost just over $1.7 billion, and is only approximately an eighth of the L.A. Airport modernization project.
The rest of the modernization project includes an automated people mover train to travel between terminals, an integrated rental car facility, and a new parking structure to add 4,300 parking spaces for travelers. Soon, a new metro station will connect the airport to Los Angeles County’s light rail system, something which has been promised but not realized for almost two decades.