The airline already has 12 of the 15 gates, but with US Air moving to Terminal 3 it's in a position to expand its service out of LAX. As part of the plan, Southwest and L.A. World Airports will also be investing $400 million into renovations, including a checked baggage security system, improved passenger security checkpoints, a new lobby, and new passenger boarding bridges. The City Council still has to approve the changes. Believe it or not Terminal 1 is almost 30 years old. From the Cranky Flier:
Looking at the weekday schedule in June, Southwest appears to have 113 departures per day plus 3 that are under AirTran. That means Southwest is currently putting 9.67 flights out of each gate at LAX every weekday. That is tremendous utilization. But up until now, it has had no opportunity to grow unless it wanted to split its operation into a different terminal, something that would be a real mess.
From the Daily Breeze:
Though Southwest will lead the renovation, Los Angeles World Airports will eventually fund the bulk of the upgrades, either by giving the airline rent credits or by paying it a lump sum, according to a report written for the board by airport staff. About $16 million of the renovations will be considered Southwest proprietary improvements and will be absorbed by the airline, documents show. Some security improvements likely will be eligible for federal grants. "Obviously, Terminal 1 is pretty dog-eared," said Gina Marie Lindsey, executive director of Los Angeles World Airports. "I want to manage expectations here. While $400 million is a lot of money, it doesn't result in a brand new, sparkling, gleaming, terminal. But it will make some very important functional improvements."