LAX will open new TBIT Terminal on Sept 18, 2013

LAX GATE 134

Gate 134 at LAX TBIT. Photo by harriet baskas

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) has announced that September 18th will be the first day of flight operations at the new $1.9 billion Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT).

City officials will be on hand for the festivities, which mark the completion of Phase I of the project and include 18 new boarding gates designed to accommodate larger, new-generation aircraft such as Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-8. Phase I also includes new shopping and dining outlets, a children’s play area, a spa and other passenger amenities.

Kick off of the event is scheduled for 1 pm with the welcome of the first arriving flight. But which flight is a bit, uh, up in the air.

“We have the possibility of two different airlines arriving at the 1 pm time-frame,” said Nancy Castles, spokeswoman for Los Angeles World Airports, “However, we also have a B-747-8 at 12:45 a.m. and a B-787 at 1:30 pm. So, depending upon whether or not the A380s actually arrive on time, we may change to the other new-generation aircraft from Boeing. Who knows whether the airlines and the tailwinds cooperate that day.”

And there’s a bit of mystery to the festivities themselves. In preparation for the party, the airport asked the public for ideas on how to celebrate. Some of the unusual suggestions included:

· A giant piñata in the shape of an A380 filled with red confetti in various lengths.

· Marathon runners of all ages running through to break the ribbon.

· A giant “Jack-in-the-box” to pop out.

· A “Medieval Times” ribbon-cutting with kings and queens.

· Dance, strut and follow a New Orleans Rebirth Brass type of band in to the New TBIT

· And a buffet with foods of many countries set up on one or two runways.

What did the airport decide to do? “A combination of several,” said Castles, “All of which were modified to some degree to make the ideas work as much as we could.”