Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Summer's end


 

The Labor Day holiday weekend is traditionally considered to be the end of the summer travel season in the US. The TSA reported their busiest day since mid-March: on Friday, nearly one million travelers passed through TSA screening. That number still pales in comparison to last year, when the TSA screened over two million people. Traffic numbers at LAX followed a similar trend: we had 971 operations on Friday, almost exactly half the traffic count of 1,987 from the corresponding Friday of last year. From this point, passenger travel traditionally sags as the the new school year begins. While "going to school" has taken on a new meaning this year, traffic is projected to drop for the next month or two. The big question is what will happen in November. The Thanksgiving holiday in the US is normally the busiest travel period of the year, and kicks off the holiday travel season that extends through New Year's. Whether that will happen this year, and if so, to what degree, is anybody's guess. 

Meanwhile, the state of California is once again on fire, along with other western states. The LAX weather sequence on Monday included a ceiling at 15,000 feet -- but that wasn't a cloud layer, it was smoke. When I came out of the house in the morning, everything was covered in a layer of ash. The visibility was such that, looking to the west from the tower, it was almost impossible to discern where the ocean left off and the sky began:

 

Since we're looking at the airport, it's time for some recent construction photos:


Outwardly, Terminal 1.5 is basically done. The orange pillar between the terminal and the Theme building is to be one of the columns for the automated people mover (APM)

Here's more of the people mover project. Originally the old control tower was supposed to come down, but somehow it got designated as a historic building and so the people mover will instead have to go around it. If you look just to the right of the old tower, you can see the early stages of ground preparation amidst the pylons.

The people mover project is going to curve around the Theme building and then continue through the center of the terminal complex between the parking garages. The construction has begun just outside the control tower:

 

The people mover under construction. This is the section coming from the T1 and T6 parking garages towards the Theme building, as seen from the south side of the Theme building. The concrete overpass across the middle of the photo is the upper deck road connection from north to south.

Looking up at the underside of the people mover under construction

 

Back in the tower and looking the other way, here's Terminal 3 and its connection with Terminal 2 (on the far right). At the moment, Terminal 3 is closed. Delta parks airplanes at some of the gates, but passengers are being bused over from Terminal 2.  There are mountains in the background, but you wouldn't know it from this photo.


For the sake of comparison, here's a photo from a week ago. The puffy cloud in the distance marks the location of a fire.

On the south side of the terminal complex, they're still working on the connectors between Terminals 4, 5, and 6:

This is an airport, so there ought to be a few shots of airplanes. Although the passenger numbers are down, there's been an uptick in cargo. 

This Asiana B744 is a cargo conversion of a former passenger aircraft; it once parked at the TBIT,  but now it parks at the C-1 cargo ramp. As you can see in the background, the cargo parking along the south side is full.

After a hiatus, Emirates has returned to LAX, but while they are the world's largest operator of the A380, the B777 is better suited for cargo operations with a passenger aircraft

Every now and then, I'll find something while looking through the photos that I didn't notice at the time. This is one of those:

This is the same aircraft as the previous photo






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