Providing an enhanced customer journey at one of the largest infrastructure projects in Los Angeles, the new Delta Sky Way facility at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) efficiently consolidates and modernises the use of Terminals 2 and 3.

Boasting increased security lanes and gate-area seating with a world-class concession programme in partnership with Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW), the facility allows a direct connection to the Tom Bradley International Terminal via the secure outside connector, and the largest Delta Sky Club.

Arup is the Design Team Lead and Engineer of Record, leading multiple firms, engineers, architects, and planners for project delivery. We provided essential disciplines necessary for success, including airport planning, civil, structural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering, lighting design, acoustic design and paging, sustainability consulting, operational readiness activation and transition, digital advisory, information technology and communications, security, fire and life safety and fire alarm services.

Throughout the project, Arup engaged and liaised with both city and airport departments and personnel to gain a detailed understanding of the airport and Delta Airline’s joint goals.

Starting the project - relocating Delta Air Lines in three nights

To initiate the redevelopment, Delta’s base of operations needed to shift from Terminals 5 and 6 to Terminals 2 and 3. The relocation was anticipated to take place over 6 months, due to the lack of capacity in any of the four terminals, the high volume of traffic, and the number of stakeholders.

Arup, Delta, and the project team proposed the relocation could be done in 3 nights and successfully completed the challenging move. The task was finished without incident or impacting airport operations. This approach was less expensive than the original plan, and less disruptive for passengers.

A wide range of projects were required to facilitate the move, including an overhaul of ITC systems, installation of proprietary systems and equipment, renovation and rebranding of passenger facilities, various capacity enhancements, and the restriping of 53 aircraft gates.

After relocation, Delta experienced a 50% reduction in taxi times for inbound aircrafts and a 25% improvement in connection times – enabling a successful commencement of the Delta Sky Way redevelopment project.

Leading a complex multidisciplinary design team

Arup led the redevelopment’s next phase following the successful relocation of Delta’s operations. This project initially delivered the integration of Terminals 2 and 3 into one operation with landside and airside services, and a unified customer journey with optimised airline operations.

Capacity increases for both greater passenger numbers throughout and a wider aircraft variety was enabled. In addition, upgrades to baggage handling provided combined security and matrix screening to serve both terminals and make efficient use of personnel and space.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s unprecedented reduction of air traffic - Arup, Delta and the project team designed a dynamic approach to the phasing of construction. Realising an opportunity, the project team consolidated operations into Terminal 2, instead of the initial plan to spread operations throughout Terminals 2 and 3. This accelerated the project to be completed 18 months ahead of schedule.

Data management

The team relied on 15,000 drawings, site photos, videos, and panoramic images to deliver the project with minimal impact on airport operations. To ensure the team could access data and documentation efficiently, Arup designed a custom document management system. The organised data has made it easy to access all project files by navigating a plan of the existing terminal remotely using a tablet. This has empowered the team to solely focus on the delivery of the project rather than document management.

The Arup team has done a tremendous job in turning this program into a reality, with a focus on collaboration and problem solving.

Mary Loeffelholz

Delta Air Lines, VP Corporate Real Estate