LAX Officially a United Hub as Expansion Project Begins
United Airlines [UAL], which last month began a $200 million
expansion and renovation at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX),
now officially considers the facility a hub. Even though the 18-month
project represents one of the largest investments by an airline at
LAX, Pete McDonald, managing director for United in Los Angeles, said
that traffic there will grow at a "conservative rate."
United is the largest carrier at LAX with a 23.04 percent share
of the passenger market. However, McDonald said that the hub status at
LAX will not reduce United's operations at other hubs, including
nearby San Francisco International Airport (SFO). He said the two
airports will receive "equal amounts of concentration" by the airline
and both will see similar growth strategies.
United offers seven weekly U.S.-Asia flights out of SFO and four
flights out of LAX. But the carrier now considers LAX its "gateway to
the Pacific" and McDonald said officials are considering further long-
term expansion to the region from LAX. Immediate expansion plans,
however, include launching flights from LAX to Tampa, Fla., next month
and to Lihue, Hawaii, this summer. United also just increased its
regional United Express service from the area through a marketing
agreement with SkyWest.
McDonald said the LAX expansion will create a 43 percent
increase in floor space, allowing for a larger passenger seating area.
In addition, the airline will build new concession areas and install a
centralized security system giving passengers immediate access to
connecting flights in three terminals. Project plans also include a
new dual taxiing system that will allow United aircraft to arrive and
depart simultaneously between Terminal 7 and the Shuttle Terminal.