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Delta plots aggressive expansion at LAX following New York push

Skift Take

Delta is about to face some steep competition from the new American following its bull-headed expansion in New York, and could be shifting focus west or build up a complementary coastal hub.

— Samantha Shankman

Delta Air Lines is bullish about Los Angeles.

The Atlanta-based carrier, the third-largest at Los Angeles International Airport, is adding 17 new flights to eight new destinations, boosting the number of seats from LAX by 12 percent.

In addition, Delta has teamed up with airport officials to invest $160 million in upgrades at its terminals, including adding last summer a luxury bar at the SkyTeam lounge. (Instead of helping themselves at a self-serve bar, members can now order a drink from a bartender.)

Why the big investment in L.A.?

Los Angeles is one of the nation’s top domestic markets for corporate travel, said Bob Cortelyou, Delta’s senior vice president for network planning.

“The economy is strong and it’s time for us to take advantage and expand the Delta experience in Los Angeles,” he said.

LAX is already in the midst of a $4.1-billion modernization, which will include an expansion of the Tom Bradley International Terminal and 18 new gates for international passengers. Work is expected to be completed in 2014.

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