LAX's big move, 'a home-improvement show on steroids,' wraps up with only minor glitches



Los Angeles International Airport’s history-making five-day shuffle is finally complete — but the move wasn’t without some last-minute glitches.

A power shutdown caused some delays in the new Delta Terminal overnight Tuesday, pushing back the takeoff time for an early morning Atlanta-bound flight. And crews continued to work past sun-up on Wednesday to finish the massive move.

Overall, however, airport officials declared the switch — thought to the be the nation’s largest-ever airport move — a success.

“We made history at LAX, moving 21 airlines, 15 over a three-day period — and everyone of them was operational,” said Mary Grady, a spokesperson for Los Angeles World Airports, the city agency that runs the airport. “We moved these airlines within a few hours and they were up and running. I would call that a success.”

The one Delta flight delay was blamed on a scheduled power outage that didn’t get back online on time. The slowdown tripped up Transportation Security Administration crews, who had to recalibrate their screening area. That left a line of travelers waiting for half an hour while officers tended to the machines.

But officials don’t expect any additional complications.

Even with the move all but comeplete, swarms of green-vested helpers will continue to guide travelers gone astray to the appropriate terminals through the week. And free green buses will continue to shuttle passengers between Terminals 2, 3, 5 and 6 — where the major move took place.

Describing it like “a home-improvement show on steroids,” Grady said she was awed by watching how the terminals “transformed over night.”

“It was all done in a few hours," she said, “but it doesn’t look like it was done in a few hours.”

The big switch began on Friday night with a small army of movers and continued on Sunday and Tuesday night. In all, it took five days.

But, Grady admitted, Tuesday “was by the far the biggest and most complicated move of all three nights.”

There were more than 200 movers, several big rigs and hundreds of dollies involved. As the morning traffic began building, Delta Air Lines wrapped up their move into Terminals 2 and 3 on Wednesday, making room for Air Canada, JetBlue and Hawaiian to move into Terminals 5 and 6.

The project emerged from months of planning. Delta Air Lines prompted the switch when it secured a lease for Terminals 2 and 3 as part of a $1.9 billion investment in the airport. The Atlanta-based carrier plans to renovate the terminal and expand its footprint.

It’s also part of a larger $14 billion modernization effort going on at LAX.

“Everything that is being done is to build a world class airport that is the gold standard,” she said. “This move is one piece of that puzzle.”

In other words, stand by for more construction.


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