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MSC North FAQs

The Midfield Satellite Concourse North Project is a part of the multi-billion dollar modernization program underway at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). LAX is the nation’s third busiest airport in annual passengers, and the fifth busiest airport in annual aircraft operations. Although it has functioned as an airport since 1928, the main terminal complex at LAX was constructed in 1961 and its facilities must be continually updated and maintained to meet the needs of travelers and airlines in the 21st century.

What is the Midfield Satellite Concourse (MSC) project? Where is it located?

The Midfield Satellite Concourse North Project consists of a new multi-level concourse, associated aircraft parking aprons, taxiways/taxilanes, and utilities. The MSC North Project will be located in the central area of the airfield west of Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

Will the MSC increase the number of flights or passengers at LAX?

No. The new concourse will not affect the total number of passengers at LAX, or the number or frequency of aircraft flights. It will provide state-of-the-art facilities for existing aircraft and passengers at LAX, and flexibility for ongoing modernization needed at other LAX terminals which could include pavement rehabilitation and the provision of new passenger boarding bridges, that may require the closure of existing gates.

What is the purpose of the MSC, and who will benefit? How is the public served by this project?

The MSC North Project is a part of the modernization program currently underway at LAX. Among the projects already completed are the Theme Building renovation and improvements at Terminal 6, along with airfield safety measures. The new Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) is currently under construction, as well as the modernization of Terminal 5. These projects are designed to provide improved, state-of-the-art facilities for travelers at LAX. Once completed, the gates at MSC North will permit greater flexibility in scheduling necessary improvements at other facilities without disrupting day-to-day airline operations, and ensure a high level of service for LAX passengers during the modernization updates. These gates will not increase travelers or aircraft at LAX, but they will ensure that uninterrupted operations and schedules can be maintained during construction at other terminals.

It seems like there is a lot of existing construction at LAX. Why is this project necessary for airport operations?

Modernization is a continuing process at LAX as the needs of travelers and airlines change and as improved safety measures are implemented. The current program is designed to make LAX a premier destination for visitors and residents alike. All of the construction projects are coordinated to provide a seamless experience for travelers, and to minimize disruption while still adhering to rigorous completion schedules.

How does the Stipulated Settlement relate to the MSC?

The MSC North Project is part of the approved LAX Master Plan, and subsequently has been studied in the Master Plan Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The Project will comply with the elements included in the Stipulated Settlement concerning jobs, construction practices, training, outreach activities, and limits on the total number of passenger gates and total annual passengers at LAX.

Is the MSC North Project part of the Specific Plan Amendment Study?

No, the MSC North Project is separate and independent from the Specific Plan Amendment Study (SPAS) process. The MSC North Project can move forward independently, similar to the modernization of TBIT, and is consequently known as a 'green light' project.

Isn’t there a cap on the total number of gates at LAX? Does MSC add gates?

The gate cap in the Stipulated Settlement requires that by December 31, 2015, the number of active gates at LAX will be no more than 153, with certain exceptions for peak passenger periods, and only if the total number of annual passengers exceeds 75 million. The MSC North Project is the first phase of the MSC Program that can accommodate up to 11 gates, and will adhere to the provisions of the Stipulated Settlement. At all times during the build-out of the MSC North Concourse and the MSC Program, LAX will be in compliance with the Stipulated Settlement.

Why is MSC North Project proposed now? Why is LAWA doing only one phase at a time?

The MSC North Project is being phased to permit a construction process that is minimally disruptive to ongoing operations, and to complete the MSC North Concourse as quickly as possible. LAWA needs these facilities to accommodate day-to-day operations while the modernization of other terminals is underway, and to better accommodate the larger aircraft currently operating at LAX. Most LAWA projects, given their size and cost, are typically built out in phases. The MSC Program is extensive, and phasing was always intended, like the modernization project for TBIT. LAWA cannot afford to displace large areas in the landside and/or airside, and has become proficient in managing the phased nature of major projects. At this point, LAWA can only move forward on the first phase given all the modernization projects at LAX, the current capital estimate, and funding availability.

Will LAWA prepare an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the MSC North Project?

The MSC was analyzed at a programmatic level in the certified LAX Master Plan EIR approved in 2004. LAWA will prepare a project-specific EIR to analyze impacts specific to the first phase of the project.

How can the Specific Plan Amendment Study (SPAS) assume a full build-out of MSC when only the MSC North Project is currently proposed?

The SPAS EIR is a programmatic EIR and does not study all the program elements at the project level detail. The MSC is studied in the SPAS EIR as a related project, and it is considered as a whole so that all potential impacts are fully analyzed. The Draft EIR for the MSC North Project will analyze the specific project level impacts associated with its implementation and the remainder of the MSC Program at the program level. When the schedule for a subsequent phase or phases is determined, there will be further project level environmental review before it is implemented. The current schedule assumes that all phases will be completed by 2025.

What’s the schedule for this project? How long will construction last, and when will it begin?

The schedule for the MSC is preliminary:
  • The Notice of Preparation was released on February 8, 2013.
  • The Draft EIR was released for public comment on March 6, 2014.
  • The Final EIR is anticipated to be completed and released in Second Quarter 2014.
  • LAWA deliberations on certification of the EIR and approval of MSC North are estimated in the Second/Third Quarter 2014.
  • Once approvals are secured, construction is estimated to begin in the Third/Fourth Quarter 2014 and is anticipated to take approximately 60 months.


What kinds of impacts can we expect from the MSC construction?

The DEIR will identify any potential significant impacts from the MSC North Project, such as construction duration, traffic, and haul routes, and it will also describe appropriate mitigation measures. LAWA projects comply with all Master Plan requirements, and all applicable City regulations on construction hours and activities.

Who makes the final decision on the MSC North Project?

The Los Angeles City Council will make the final decision on the MSC North Project and EIR. The City Council must take actions to certify the EIR and to approve the project. The FAA must also approve the plan for purposes of safety and efficient operations.

How can the airport justify spending money on this project when it claims it cannot afford to bring light rail to the airport?

LAWA is working with Metro to identify the best alternative for public transit access to LAX and the appropriate source of funding for the Metro project once it is planned and cleared environmentally.

What are the environmental impacts of the MSC North Project?

The Draft EIR will thoroughly analyze any potential environmental impacts which the project may have. The public will have an opportunity to provide comments on any areas of concern at a scoping meeting, and then again when the Draft EIR is completed and circulated for review and comment.

Will there be local jobs created by the MSC? Construction or long-term? Who will do the work and how will they be selected?

Projects at LAX generate jobs throughout the region, for planning and construction, and for ongoing operations. Contractors are selected by the Board of Airport Commissioners through a public bidding process which examines capabilities, experience and cost effectiveness.

How can the public get involved in the MSC process?

The public will have the opportunity to get involved from the beginning of the process. There will be a public scoping meeting during the NOP comment period to gather comments on the areas of environmental review that the Draft EIR will analyze. Upon completion, the Draft EIR will be circulated to gather public comments on its findings. During the MSC EIR process, there will be many opportunities to attend meetings and provide input on the project. LAWA will hold public meetings to provide project updates and solicit community views and concerns.

Where can I get further information or ask questions?

You can follow the progress of the MSC on the project website, email LAWA staff at mscnorthinfo@lawa.org, or call 800.919.3766.

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