Long Beach Airport adds to list of terminal improvements, costs increase by $12 million

Long Beach Airport is expanding the scope of the improvements it’s making to its facilities, with plans to add a 30-foot-wide video board, upgraded restrooms and new infrastructure to allow skycaps to perform curbside check-in.

Additional improvements to the airport will include customized bench seating in the airport’s plaza and the installation of terrazzo flooring to match the flooring of the new ticketing lobby that opened in April.

The new anticipated cost of the Phase II Terminal Area Improvements project is $104 million, according to city documents.

The City Council approved a $12 million increase to the project contract Tuesday night, but most of that funding will go toward increased costs from pandemic-induced postponements and inflation.

“The efficiencies of having [construction crews] do multiple things at once weren’t there, and when you draw it out, it gets more expensive,” said Kate Kuykendall, the airport’s spokesperson.

The Phase II project was approved in 2018, but before much of the work could begin, the COVID-19 pandemic cut into the project’s budget by dramatically reducing passenger activity, which is a major source of revenue for the airport.

The project has been buoyed by bonds issued by the airport, grants from the federal government and a rebound in passenger traffic.

Kuykendall said that the new video board being installed at the baggage claim would provide visuals to enhance the passenger experience while people wait in line for their luggage, and it could be used for the airport’s art programs.

The improvements to the historic terminal building’s bathrooms will help alleviate some of the issues the airport has been seeing with old pipes that need to be replaced, Kuykendall said.

Rental car services are being transferred into the old terminal building, which is undergoing a historic preservation process, and some fees paid by rental car companies will go toward paying for the fixes, as will fees paid by passengers who fly out of the airport and bonds that the airport issued for the airport earlier this year.

The new ticketing lobby and baggage screening area completed under the project are already open to the public, and the remaining parts of the improvement project are expected to be completed by the spring of 2024.

After the new baggage area is completed, the airport plans to demolish the old area and build new pre-security restrooms, baggage service offices and concessions.

In 2023, the airport plans to put out a request-for-proposals for a new vendor to take over the old Legends of Aviation restaurant that was on the second floor of the historic terminal building but closed in 2014.

Preserving the past: Work begins on Long Beach Airport’s historic terminal building

Long Beach Airport remains shy of pre-pandemic passenger volume

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Jason Ruiz has been covering City Hall for the Post for nearly a decade. A Long Beach resident, Ruiz graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a degree in journalism. He and his wife Kristina and, most importantly, their dog Mango, live in Long Beach. He is a particularly avid fan of the Dallas Cowboys and the UCLA Bruins, which is why he sometimes comes to work after the weekend in a grumpy mood.
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