Los Angeles International Airport

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"LAX" redirects here. For other uses, see LAX (disambiguation).
Los Angeles International Airport
Laxlogo.svg
LAX LA.jpg
IATA: LAXICAO: KLAXFAA LID: LAX
WMO: 72295
Summary
Airport type Public
Owner City of Los Angeles
Operator Los Angeles World Airports
Serves Greater Los Angeles metropolitan area
Location Los Angeles, California
Hub for
Focus city for
Elevation AMSL 126 ft / 38 m
Coordinates 33°56′33″N 118°24′29″W / 33.94250°N 118.40806°W / 33.94250; -118.40806Coordinates: 33°56′33″N 118°24′29″W / 33.94250°N 118.40806°W / 33.94250; -118.40806
Website www.lawa.org
Maps
FAA airport diagram
FAA airport diagram
LAX is located in Los Angeles Metropolitan Area
LAX
LAX
Location within the Los Angeles metropolitan area
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
6L/24R 8,925 2,720 Concrete
6R/24L 10,285 3,135 Concrete
7L/25R 12,091 3,685 Concrete
7R/25L 11,096 3,382 Concrete
Helipads
Number Length Surface
ft m
H3 63 19 Concrete
Statistics
Passengers (2013) 66,667,619
Aircraft operations (2013) 614,917
Economic impact (2012) $14.9 billion[3]
Social impact (2012) 133.9 thousand[3]
Source: Federal Aviation Administration[4]

[5]

Los Angeles International Airport (IATA: LAXICAO: KLAXFAA LID: LAX) is the primary airport serving the Greater Los Angeles Area, the second-most populated metropolitan area in the United States. It is most often referred to by its IATA airport code LAX, with the letters pronounced individually. LAX is located in southwestern Los Angeles along the Pacific coast in the neighborhood of Westchester, 16 miles (26 km) from Downtown Los Angeles. It is owned and operated by Los Angeles World Airports, an agency of the Los Angeles city government formerly known as the Department of Airports.

In 2012, LAX was the sixth busiest airport in the world by passenger volume with 63,688,121 passengers, an increase of 3% from 2011.[6][7] The airport holds the claim for "the world's busiest origin and destination (O & D) airport" in 2011, meaning it had the most non-connecting passengers,[8][not in citation given] and the third busiest in the world by aircraft movements. It is also the only airport to rank among the top five U.S. airports for both passenger and cargo traffic.[9]

LAX is the busiest airport in the Greater Los Angeles Area; however, other airports including Bob Hope Airport, John Wayne Airport, Long Beach Airport, and LA/Ontario International Airport also serve the region. It is also notable for being one of few U.S. airports with four parallel runways.

LAX serves as a hub for American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air, Great Lakes Airlines, and US Airways Express. The airport also serves as a focus city for Southwest Airlines, Virgin America, Allegiant Air, Air New Zealand, Qantas, and Volaris. LAX is the only airport in the US to serve as a hub for all four legacy airlines (Delta, United, Alaska, and American).

History[edit]

Los Angeles Municipal Airport on Army Day, c. 1931
Hangar No. 1 was the first structure at LAX, built in 1929, restored in 1990 and remaining in active use.[10]
Los Angeles International Airport with Marina Del Rey in the foreground and Palos Verdes Peninsula in the background

In 1928, the Los Angeles City Council selected 640 acres (1.00 sq mi; 260 ha) in the southern part of Westchester for a new airport for the city. The fields of wheat, barley and lima beans were converted into dirt landing strips without any terminal buildings. It was named Mines Field for William W. Mines, the real estate agent who arranged the deal.[11] The first structure, Hangar No. 1, was erected in 1929 and is in the National Register of Historic Places.[12]

Mines Field opened as the airport of Los Angeles in 1930 and the city purchased it to be a municipal airfield in 1937. The name became Los Angeles Airport in 1941 and Los Angeles International Airport in 1949.[13] In the 1930s the main airline airports were Burbank Airport (then known as Union Air Terminal, and later Lockheed) in Burbank and the Grand Central Airport in Glendale. (In 1940 the airlines were all at Burbank except for Mexicana's three departures a week from Glendale; in late 1946 most airline flights moved to LAX, but Burbank always retained a few.)[14]

Mines Field did not extend west of Sepulveda Boulevard;[15] Sepulveda was rerouted circa 1950 to loop around the west ends of the extended east–west runways (now runways 25L and 25R), which by November 1950 were 6,000 feet (1,800 m) long.[16] A tunnel was completed in 1953 allowing Sepulveda Boulevard to revert to straight and pass beneath the two runways; it was the first tunnel of its kind. For the next few years the two runways were 8,500 feet (2,600 m) long.[13][17]

On July 10, 1956, Boeing's 707 prototype (the 367–80) visited LAX. The Los Angeles Times said it was its first appearance at a "commercial airport" outside the Seattle area.[18]

The April 1957 Official Airline Guide showed 66 weekday departures on United Airlines, 32 American Airlines, 32 Western Airlines, 27 TWA, nine Southwest, five Bonanza Air Lines and three Mexicana Airlines; also 22 flights a week on Pan American World Airways and five a week on Scandinavian Airlines (the only direct flights from California to Europe).

American Airlines' 707-123s flew the first jet passengers out of LAX to New York in January 1959; the first wide-body jets were TWA's Boeing 747s to New York in early 1970.[13]

In 1958, the architecture firm Pereira & Luckman was contracted to plan the re-design of the airport for the "jet age". The plan, developed with architects Welton Becket and Paul Williams, called for a series of terminals and parking structures in the central portion of the property, with these buildings connected at the center by a huge steel-and-glass dome. The plan was never realized, and the Theme Building was built on the site intended for the dome.

In the new terminal area west of Sepulveda Blvd that started opening in 1961, each terminal had a satellite building out in the middle of the tarmac, reached by underground tunnels from the ticketing area.[19] United's satellites 7 and 8 were first to open, followed by 3, 4 and 5; satellite 2 was the international terminal several months later and satellite 6 was to be the last to open.[20][21]

Since the 1920s, a neighborhood called Surfridge had been on the coastline west of the airport, part of the larger community of Palisades del Rey along with the neighborhood to the north now known as Playa del Rey. When the airlines switched to jet airliners during the 1960s and 1970s and Surfridge's residents complained about noise pollution, the city used its eminent domain powers to condemn and evacuate Surfridge. The government bulldozed the homes but did not bulldoze the streets, and the fenced-off "ghost" streets west of LAX are still there.

In 1981, LAX began a $700 million expansion in preparation for the 1984 Summer Olympics. The U-shaped roadway past the terminal entrances got a second level, with arriving passengers on the lower level and departing on the upper. Connector buildings between the ticketing areas and the satellite buildings were added, changing the layout to a "pier" design. Two new terminals (Terminal 1 and the Tom Bradley International Terminal) were built and Terminal 2, then two decades old, was rebuilt. Multi-story parking structures were also built in the center of the airport.[13]

On July 8, 1982, groundbreaking for the two new terminals were conducted by Mayor Tom Bradley and World War II aviator General James Doolittle. The $123 million 963,000-square-foot (89,500 m2) International Terminal opened on June 11, 1984, and was named for Bradley.[13]

On April 29, 1992, the airport closed for violence and cleanup after the 1992 Los Angeles Riots over the Rodney King beating.

The airport closed again on January 17, 1994 after the Northridge earthquake.

In 1996 a $29 million, 277-foot-tall (84 m) air traffic control tower was built near the Theme Building.[13]

The Theme Building decorated with light displays for the Christmas season

In 2000, before Los Angeles hosted the Democratic National Convention, fifteen glass pylons up to ten stories high were placed in a circle around the intersection of Sepulveda Boulevard and Century Boulevard, with more pylons of decreasing height following Century Boulevard eastward, evoking a sense of departure and arrival. Conceived by the designers at Selbert Perkins Design, the towers and 30-foot (9.1 m) "LAX" letters are a gateway to the airport and offer a welcoming landmark for visitors.[22] Illuminated from the inside, the pylons slowly cycle through a rainbow of colors that represents the multicultural makeup of Los Angeles and can be customized to celebrate events, holidays or a season. This was part of an overall face-lift that included new signage and various other cosmetic enhancements that was led by Ted Tokio Tanaka Architects. The LAX pylons underwent improvements in 2006, as stage lighting inside the cylinders was replaced with LED lights to conserve energy, make maintenance easier and enable on-demand cycling through various color effects.[23]

LAX has been a hub for TWA, Air California, Braniff International, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Pacific Southwest Airlines, US Airways, Western Airlines, and the Flying Tiger Line.

Starting in the mid-1990s, under Mayors Richard Riordan and James Hahn, modernization and expansion plans for LAX were prepared, only to be stymied by a coalition of residents who live near the airport. They cited increased noise, pollution and traffic impacts of the project. In late 2005, newly elected Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was able to reach a compromise, allowing some modernization to go forward while encouraging future growth among other facilities in the region.

It is illegal[dubious ] to limit the number of passengers that use an airport, but in December 2005 the city agreed to limit the passenger gates to 163. Once passenger usage hits 75 million, a maximum of two gates a year for up to five years will be closed, intending to limit growth to 79 million passengers a year. In exchange civil lawsuits were abandoned, to allow the city to complete badly needed improvements to the airport.[24]

The airport is a hub for United Airlines, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines,[25] and a focus city for Southwest Airlines, Allegiant Air, Air New Zealand, Qantas, Virgin America and Volaris. It also serves as an international gateway and hub for Delta Air Lines and houses a line maintenance facility for Delta's primary maintenance, repair and overhaul arm, Delta TechOps.[26]

Today,[timeframe?] LAX is in the midst of a $4.11 billion renovation and improvement program to expand and rehabilitate the Tom Bradley International Terminal to accommodate the next generation of larger aircraft, as well as handle the growing number of flights to and from the Southern California region, and to develop the Central Terminal Area (CTA) of the airport to include streamlined passenger processing, public transportation and updated central utility plants. As of 2013, Los Angeles International Airport is the biggest airport in California. The multi-year projects are expected to be completed by 2014 and is the largest public works project in Los Angeles history.[27][28]

The "X" in LAX[edit]

Before the 1930s, existing airports used a two-letter abbreviation based on the weather stations at the airports. At that time, "LA" served as the designation for Los Angeles Airport. But with the rapid growth in the aviation industry the designations expanded to three letters c. 1947, and "LA" became "LAX." The letter "X" has no specific meaning in this identifier.[29] "LAX" is also used for the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro and by Amtrak for Union Station in downtown Los Angeles.

Aircraft spotting[edit]

The "Imperial Hill" area (also known as Clutter's Park) in El Segundo is a prime location for aircraft spotting. Another popular spotting location sits under the final approach for runways 24 L&R on a lawn next to the Westchester In-N-Out Burger on Sepulveda Boulevard. This is one of the few remaining locations in Southern California from which spotters may watch such a wide variety of low-flying commercial airliners from directly underneath a flight path.

Space Shuttle Endeavour[edit]

At 12:51 pm on Friday, September 21, 2012, a Shuttle Carrier Aircraft carrying the Space Shuttle Endeavour landed at LAX on runway 25L.[30] It is heard[by whom?] that over 10,000 people saw the shuttle land in person. Interstate 105 was backed up for miles at a standstill. Imperial Highway was shut down for spectators. Along the way the shuttle passed many landmarks in the Los Angeles area including the Santa Monica Pier, Getty Center, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Griffith Observatory, Malibu coastline, the Hollywood Sign, Universal Studios Hollywood, the Disneyland Resort, and Los Angeles City Hall. It was quickly taken off the Boeing 747 and was moved to a United Airlines hangar. The shuttle spent about a month in the hangar while it was prepared for transport to the California Science Center.

On Friday, October 12, Endeavour left the hangar at 2:00 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time and moved eastward on Manchester Boulevard on its way to the California Science Center. The shuttle transport vehicle (STV) was constructed of over 60 individual wheels and weighed over 12,000 pounds (5,400 kg). It was designed to move the shuttle at a speed of 2 miles per hour (3.2 km/h). This was both for safety concerns for the shuttle and so people could take many photos. As the entire planned route was only 12 miles, it should have only taken 6 hours to complete. Instead, the shuttle arrived in one piece on the morning of Sunday, October 14, 2012.

Theme Building[edit]

Main article: Theme Building

The distinctive white googie "Theme Building", designed by Pereira & Luckman architect Paul Williams and constructed in 1961 by Robert E. McKee Construction Co., resembles a flying saucer that has landed on its four legs. A restaurant with a sweeping view of the airport is suspended beneath two arches that form the legs. The Los Angeles City Council designated the building a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in 1992. A$4 million renovation, with retro-futuristic interior and electric lighting designed by Walt Disney Imagineering, was completed before the "Encounter Restaurant" opened there in 1997.[31] Visitors are able to take the elevator up to the roof of the "Theme Building", which closed after the September 11, 2001 attacks for security reasons and reopened to the public on weekends beginning on July 10, 2010.[32] Additionally, a memorial to the victims of the 9/11 attacks is located on the grounds, as three of the four hijacked planes were originally destined for LAX.[33]

Terminals[edit]

A terminal map of LAX.

LAX has nine passenger terminals arranged in the shape of the letter U or a horseshoe. The terminals are served by a shuttle bus. Terminals 5, 6, 7, and 8 are all connected airside via an underground tunnel between Terminals 5 and 6 and above-ground walkways between Terminals 6, 7, and 8. There are no physical airside connections between any of the other terminals, although an airside shuttle bus operates among Terminals 4, 6, and the American Eagle remote terminal.

In addition to these terminals, there are 2,000,000 square feet (190,000 m2) of cargo facilities at LAX, and a heliport operated by Bravo Aviation. Qantas[34] has a maintenance facility at LAX, even though it is not a hub.

Most inter-terminal connections require passengers to exit security, then walk or use a shuttle-bus to get to the other terminal, then re-clear security. A few LAX terminals provide airside connections, which allow connecting passengers to access other terminals without having to re-clear security. The following airside connections are possible:[35]

  • Terminals 6, 7, and 8 are all connected airside via walking corridors, allowing arriving domestic United passengers a seamless connection.
  • Terminals 5 and 6 are connected via an airside underground walkway. Terminal 4 was previously connected via this underground walkway, but it is currently closed off.
  • Some airlines provide an airside shuttle bus connection between terminals. For example, Qantas offers a late afternoon/evening shuttle bus for passengers arriving in Terminal 4 to connect with flights departing from the Tom Bradley International Terminal.[36]

Terminal 1[edit]

Terminal 1 has 15 gates: Gates 1–3, 4A–4B, and 5–14, and houses AirTran Airways and Southwest Airlines. Terminal 1 was built in 1984. It was announced that Southwest and Los Angeles World Airports would fund about $400 million in Terminal 1 improvements under a plan approved Monday, January 14, 2013, by the Board of Airport Commissioners. Though the improvements have already begun, the plan must be approved by the City of Los Angeles. As part of the deal, US Airways agreed to move its operations to Terminal 3, giving Southwest its own terminal.[37] US Airways moved to Terminal 3 on February 12, 2014, leaving Southwest and subsidiary AirTran as sole operators at Terminal 1.[38]

Terminal 2[edit]

Terminal 2 with Air China, Air Canada and Avianca Airlines.

Terminal 2 has 11 gates: Gates 21–21B, 22–22B, 23, 24–24B, and 25–28. It hosts most foreign airlines not using the Tom Bradley International Terminal along with a couple of domestic airlines: Aeroméxico, Air Canada, Air China, Avianca, Hawaiian Airlines, Sun Country Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Volaris, and WestJet. Former tenants of the terminal include Northwest Airlines, Pan American World Airways, and Taca International Airlines.

Terminal 2 was built in 1962, and was the original international terminal. It was completely torn down and rebuilt in stages between 1984 and 1988 at a cost of $94 million.[39] The rebuilt terminal was designed by Leo A Daly.[40] Terminal 2 has CBP (Customs and Border Protection) facilities to process arriving international passengers.

Air New Zealand will be moving to the TBIT in 2014. [41]

Terminal 3[edit]

Terminal 3 is served by ultra low cost carrier Spirit Airlines.

Terminal 3 has 12 gates: Gates 30, 31A–31B, 32, 33A–33B, 34–36, 37A–37B, and 38 (gate 39 was removed to make room for Virgin Australia Boeing 777 operations at gate 38). Terminal 3 opened in 1961 and was Trans World Airlines' terminal. It formerly housed some American Airlines flights after that airline acquired Reno Air and TWA in 1999 and 2001, respectively. Eventually, all American flights were moved to Terminal 4. As of February 2014, Allegiant Air,[42] Frontier Airlines,[43] JetBlue, Spirit Airlines, US Airways,[38] Virgin Australia, and Virgin America use Terminal 3.

Note: Virgin America uses Terminal 2 for arrivals from Cancun, and Virgin Australia uses the TBIT for arrivals from Australia.

Tom Bradley International Terminal[edit]

(Not to be confused with Bradley International Airport which serves Hartford, Connecticut)

Tom Bradley International Terminal in the early morning
Check-in counters in the Tom Bradley International Terminal.
Moving walkways inside the new south concourse of the Tom Bradley West terminal. The separated arrivals walkway on the second floor leads directly to US Customs.

The Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) has 18 gates, including nine on the north concourse and nine on the south concourse. Each gate is equipped with a Safegate Advanced - Visual Docking Guidance System. In addition, there are nine satellite gates for international flights located on the west side of LAX. Passengers are ferried to the west side gates by bus. The terminal hosts most of the major international airlines, with the exception of those housed in Terminal 2.

This terminal opened for the 1984 Summer Olympic Games and is named for Tom Bradley, the first African-American and longest-serving (20 years) mayor of Los Angeles, and champion of LAX. The terminal is located at the west end of the passenger terminal area between Terminals 3 and 4. Tom Bradley International Terminal hosts 27 airlines and handles 10 million passengers per year.

In 2010, modernization efforts resulted in additional space for inline baggage screening, three large alliance-aligned lounges plus one unaffiliated lounge (to replace the multiple airline specific lounges) and cosmetic upgrades in the departures and arrivals areas.

On November 17, 2008, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa unveiled design concepts for LAX's Bradley West and Midfield Concourse projects. Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), along with city officials, selected Fentress Architects in association with HNTB to develop a design concept for the modernization of LAX. The emphasis of the modernization is to improve the passenger experience and to keep Los Angeles competitive with other global cities.

On February 22, 2010, construction began on the $1.5 billion Bradley West project, part of the multi-year $4.11 billion LAX improvement and redevelopment projects. The project added over 1,250,000 square feet (116,000 m2) of shops, restaurants, and passenger lounges, as well as new security screening, customs, immigration, and baggage claim facilities. The terminal's existing two concourses will be demolished and replaced with a larger pair with 18 gates, nine of which will be able to accommodate the Airbus A380. The terminal opened in phases beginning on September 2012, and was completed in 2014.[44]

On September 18, 2013, the new Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX officially opened. Airlines started to use the new, smarter gates that can handle big aircraft, with multiple gates configured for the Airbus A380. Inside, Southern California scenes and quirky videos are played on seven huge multimedia screens. It is the largest immersive system in an airport and the most advanced multimedia environment in a North American airport. This system was created by Moment Factory.[45] Passengers can relax at the lounge-like seating in the Great Hall or shop in the 25,000-square-foot duty-free shopping area. Many restaurants and high-end shops are located there, such as Chloé, Burberry, Fred Segal, and Porsche amongst others. Franchises of popular LA restaurants including Umami Burger, 800 Degrees, Larder, Ink.Sack and Lucky Fish are among the restaurant selections available.[46]

Accommodating the Airbus A380[edit]

On March 25, 2007, Runway 7R/25L reopened after being shifted 55 feet (17 m) south to prevent runway incursions and prepare the runway for the Airbus A380. Additional storm drains and enhanced runway lighting were added. Runway 25L is now 800 feet (240 m) south of the parallel runway centerline to centerline, allowing a parallel taxiway between the runways; the taxiway was completed in 2008.

On September 18, 2006, Los Angeles World Airports started a $503 million facelift of the Tom Bradley International Terminal. Improvements included new paging, air conditioning and electrical systems, along with new elevators, escalators, baggage carousels, and a digital sign that automatically update flight information. With federal funding, explosives-detection technology was incorporated into the terminal's underground baggage system.

According to the Los Angeles Times, in February 2007, many Pacific Rim carriers began reducing flights to LAX in favor of more modern airports, such as San Francisco International Airport, due to the aging Tom Bradley International Terminal.[47]

On August 15, 2007, the Los Angeles City Council approved a $1.2 billion project to construct a new 10-gate terminal to handle international flights using the Airbus A380.[48] Adding the first new gates built since the early 1980s, the new structure was to be built directly west of the Tom Bradley International Terminal on a site that was occupied mostly by aircraft hangars.[48]

On March 19, 2007, the Airbus A380 made its debut at LAX, landing on runway 24L. Though LAX was originally to be the first US city to see the A380, Airbus later decided to forgo LAX in favor of John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. After city officials fought for the super-jumbo jet to land at LAX, Airbus had to get two A380, where the A380 landed simultaneously in New York and LAX.[49]

On March 31, 2008, the Los Angeles Times reported that foreign carriers were once again flocking to LAX's Tom Bradley International Terminal. The weaker dollar caused a surge in demand for US travel, resulting in airlines either adding new destinations or increasing frequencies to existing routes. New airlines that introduced flights to LAX included Virgin Australia, Emirates Airlines, Turkish Airlines, and Iberia Airlines. Korean Air, Qantas, Air China, and Air France have all augmented their services to Los Angeles by adding new flights to existing routes. The influx of new flights comes amidst the renovation of the airport and consolidates LAX's status as the premiere international gateway to the Western United States.[50]

Qantas launched service with the Airbus A380 on October 20, 2008, using the west side remote gates. Though initially deployed between LAX and Sydney, Qantas' A380 service was extended to the popular LAX-Melbourne route. This was followed shortly by Korean Air, which initiated nonstop A380 flights to Seoul-Incheon in October 2011. Air France has launched A380 flights between Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Los Angeles in May 2012. In addition, China Southern Airlines launched A380 service to Guangzhou in October 2012, representing an increase in capacity of 78% on the route. With the addition of these services, LAX boasted six daily A380 services. On October 15, British Airways' nonstop service from London Heathrow to LAX also became an A380 route.[51]

Asiana Airlines launched an Airbus A380 service to LAX on Wednesday, August 20, 2014. This new A380 route makes Asiana the eighth A380 operator at LAX and the eleventh airline to operate an A380. Previously, Asiana deployed regional Asian A380 routes to Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Bankok.[52]

As of July 2014, LAX has more A380 services than any other North American city with eight operators. Those operators are:

Terminal 4[edit]

Interior view of Terminal 4

Terminal 4 has 14 gates: Gates 40–41, 42A–42B, 43–45 (Gate 44 is for the bus to the American Eagle remote terminal, Gates 44A-44J), 46A–46B, 47A–47B, 48A–48B, and 49A. Terminal 4 was built in 1961 and was renovated in 2001 at a cost of $400 million in order to improve the appearance and functionality of the facility. The renovation was designed by Rivers & Christian.[53] It is used exclusively for all American Airlines flights. An international arrivals facility for American's flights was also added in the renovation in 2001.

American Eagle flights operate from the "American Eagle Terminal", a satellite terminal which is located just east of Terminal 8. Gate 44 serves as the shuttle bus stop at Terminal 4. The remote terminal is also connected by shuttle buses to Terminals 3, 6 and TBIT because of Eagle's codesharing with Alaska Airlines, Qantas and US Airways respectively.

Terminal 5[edit]

Terminal 5 has 15 gates: Gates 50A–50B, 51A–51B, 52A–52B, 53A–53B, 54A–54B, 55A, 56–57, 58, and 59, and is used as Delta Air Lines' Southwestern hub. Western Airlines occupied this terminal at its opening in 1962, and continued to do so until Western was merged with Delta on April 1, 1987. Terminal 5 was redesigned by Gensler,[54] expanded to include a connector building between the original satellite and the ticketing facilities and remodeled from 1986 through early 1988. It was unofficially named 'Delta's Oasis at LAX' with the slogan 'Take Five at LAX' when construction was completed in the summer of 1988. Northwest Airlines moved all operations to Terminal 5 and Terminal 6 alongside Delta on June 30, 2009, as part of its merger with the airline.

Terminal 6[edit]

A Virgin America Airbus A319 at Terminal 6 prior to the airline's move to Terminal 3.

Terminal 6 has 14 gates: Gates 60–63, 64A–64B, 65A-65B, 66, 67, 68A–68B, and 69A–69B. Parts of this terminal have changed little from its opening in 1961; in 1979, new gates were expanded from the main building, as is obvious from the rotunda at the end. Four of these gates have two jetways, which can accommodate large aircraft.

Terminal 6 hosts airline tenants with a variety of relationships with the airport. Continental Airlines originally built the Connector Building (which links the Ticketing and rotunda buildings). United Airlines uses the connector gates, supplementing its base at Terminal 7. Delta also leases some space from the Airport in Terminal 6, in addition to its base at Terminal 5. Most of the rotunda gates can feed arriving passengers into a sterile corridor that shunts them to Terminal 7's customs and immigration facility.

In April 2011, Alaska Airlines agreed to a deal with Los Angeles World Airports to renovate Terminal 6. The airline moved its flights to Terminal 6 on March 20, 2012, and Spirit Airlines was relocated to Terminal 3.[55]

Both United and Alaska operate lounges in Terminal 6.

Former tenants of the terminal include Continental Airlines until its merger with United Airlines in 2011 and Eastern Air Lines, which went bankrupt in 1991. The terminal also originally housed Pacific Southwest Airlines.

Terminal 7[edit]

Terminal 7 has 11 gates: Gates 70A-70B, 71A-71B, 72, 73, 74, 75A-75B, 76, and 77. This terminal opened in 1962. Four of these gates have two jetways, which accommodate large aircraft. Terminal 7 is used for United Airlines' domestic and international operations. The interior of the terminal was renovated between January 1998 and June 1999 at a cost of $250 million, was designed by HNTB, and was constructed by Hensel Phelps Construction. Added were new gate podiums, increased size of gate areas, relocated concessions, expanded restrooms, new flooring, and new signage.[56] Also, the roof of the terminal was raised, and new, brighter light fixtures were added in order to provide more overall lighting.[57] As of 2012, Terminal 7 is undergoing another facelift, with significant changes to concessions. The terminal also contains a United Club and an International First Class Lounge.

Terminal 8[edit]

Terminal 8 has nine gates: Gates 80–88. This terminal was added for smaller jets and turboprops in 1988 and formerly served Shuttle by United flights. In 2002, United moved all non-Express flights to Terminals 6 and 7. However, Terminal 8 is now used once again for mainline United flights.

Airlines and destinations[edit]

LAX connects 87 domestic and 69 international destinations in North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Oceania. Its most prominent airlines are American Airlines (15.71% of passenger traffic), Delta Airlines (15.69%), and United Airlines (15.11%). Other airlines with a presence on a lesser scale include Southwest Airlines (11.10%) and Alaska Airlines (5.11%).[58]

Passenger[edit]

A line-up of international carriers at the Tom Bradley International Terminal
Aer Lingus Airbus A330-200 taxiing at LAX
An Air France Airbus A380 taxiing to the TBIT
An American Airlines Boeing 777-200ER taking off from LAX. The Hollywood Sign is visible in the distance
An Asiana Airlines Boeing 777-200ER taxis to the TBIT
A British Airways Boeing 747-400 takes off from LAX
A Delta Air Lines Boeing 747-400 taking off from LAX
An Emirates Boeing 777-200LR takes off from LAX, with the Hollywood Sign visible in the distance
A Hawaiian Airlines Boeing 767-300ER takes off from LAX, framed against the control tower
A KLM Boeing 747-400 taxis at LAX
A United Airlines Boeing 777-200ER taking off, with Fiji Airways and China Airlines Boeing 747-400s parked in the background
The United Airlines "Stars and Bars" Retro Airbus A320 taxiing

United Airlines/United Express operate the most departures from the airport, followed by American Airlines/American Eagle and Southwest Airlines. United also operates to the most destinations, followed by American and Alaska Airlines/Horizon. Delta, Qantas, United, and Virgin Australia all operate nonstop services to the most transpacific destinations (three). Norwegian Air Shuttle (Operated by Norwegian Long Haul) serves the most destinations in Europe (three), while Alaska Airlines/Horizon serve the most destinations in Mexico (nine).

This table lists passenger flights served with a nonstop or direct flight with no change of aircraft carrying passengers originating in Los Angeles according to the airlines' published schedules, unless otherwise noted.

Airlines Destinations Terminal
Aeroflot Moscow-Sheremetyevo TBIT
Aeroméxico Guadalajara, Mexico City
Seasonal: Cancún
2
Aeroméxico Connect Hermosillo, Huatulco,[59] La Paz (Mexico),[60] León/Del Bajío
Seasonal: Culiacán
2
Air Berlin Seasonal: Düsseldorf TBIT
Air Canada Montréal-Trudeau, Toronto-Pearson 2
Air Canada Rouge Calgary,[61] Vancouver[61] 2
Air China Beijing-Capital 2
Air France Papeete, Paris-Charles de Gaulle TBIT
Air New Zealand Auckland, London-Heathrow, Rarotonga 21
Air Tahiti Nui Papeete, Paris-Charles de Gaulle TBIT
AirTran Airways
operated by Southwest Airlines
Atlanta (ends November 1, 2014) 1
Alaska Airlines Guadalajara, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, Manzanillo, Mazatlán, Mexico City, Portland (OR), Puerto Vallarta, Salt Lake City, San José del Cabo, Seattle/Tacoma, Vancouver, Washington-National
Seasonal: Anchorage
6
Alaska Airlines
operated by Horizon Air
Loreto (Mexico), Mammoth Lakes, Medford, Santa Rosa, Seattle/Tacoma
Seasonal: Sun Valley
6
Alitalia Seasonal: Rome-Fiumicino TBIT
All Nippon Airways Tokyo-Haneda, Tokyo-Narita TBIT
Allegiant Air Bellingham, Eugene, Fargo, Grand Junction, Honolulu, Idaho Falls, Medford, Provo
Seasonal: Billings, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Fayetteville/Bentonville, Great Falls, Kalispell, McAllen, Missoula, Montrose, Pasco, Sioux Falls, Springfield/Branson, Wichita
3
American Airlines Austin, Boston, Chicago-O'Hare, Columbus (OH), Dallas/Fort Worth, Honolulu, Indianapolis, Kahului, Kailua-Kona, Las Vegas, Lihue, London-Heathrow, Miami, Nashville, New York-JFK, Orlando, Pittsburgh, Raleigh/Durham, St. Louis, San Francisco, San José del Cabo, São Paulo-Guarulhos, Shanghai-Pudong, Tampa (begins October 2, 2014),[62] Tokyo-Narita, Toronto-Pearson, Washington-Dulles, Washington-National, West Palm Beach[63]
Seasonal: Eagle/Vail
4
American Eagle Albuquerque, Fayetteville/Bentonville, Denver, El Paso, Eugene, Fresno, Houston-Intercontinental, Monterey, Oklahoma City, Redmond/Bend, Reno/Tahoe, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Jose (CA), Santa Fe, Tucson
Seasonal: Aspen
4 (Satellite)
Asiana Airlines Seoul-Incheon TBIT
Avianca El Salvador Guatemala City, San Salvador 2
British Airways London-Heathrow TBIT
Cathay Pacific Hong Kong TBIT
China Airlines Taipei-Taoyuan TBIT
China Eastern Airlines Shanghai-Pudong TBIT
China Southern Airlines Guangzhou TBIT
Copa Airlines Panama City 6
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Belize City, Boston,[64] Cancún, Cincinnati, Columbus (OH), Detroit, Guadalajara, Guatemala City, Honolulu, Indianapolis, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo (begins December 20, 2014), Kansas City, Kahului, Kailua-Kona, Las Vegas, León/Del Bajío, Liberia (CR), Lihue, London-Heathrow (begins October 26, 2014),[65] Manzanillo (begins December 20, 2014), Mazatlán (begins December 20, 2014)[66] Memphis, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Nashville, New Orleans, New York-JFK, Orlando, Puerto Vallarta, Raleigh/Durham, Salt Lake City, San José (Costa Rica), San Salvador,[67] Seattle/Tacoma, Sydney, Tampa, Tokyo-Haneda, Tokyo-Narita 5, 6
Delta Connection Austin, Boise, Dallas/Fort Worth (begins November 3, 2014), Kansas City,[67] Las Vegas, León/Del Bajío, Monterrey (begins November 3, 2014), Oakland, Phoenix, Portland (OR), Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Jose (CA),[68] Seattle/Tacoma, Spokane[69]
Seasonal: Bozeman,[70] Jackson Hole, Kalispell, Missoula, Vancouver
5
Delta Shuttle San Francisco[67] 5
El Al Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion TBIT
Emirates Dubai-International TBIT
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi [71] TBIT
EVA Air Taipei-Taoyuan TBIT
Fiji Airways Nadi TBIT
Frontier Airlines Denver 3
Great Lakes Airlines Kingman, Merced, Prescott, Telluride, Visalia 6
Hawaiian Airlines Honolulu, Kahului[72]
Seasonal: Kailua-Kona,[73] Lihue[73]
2
Iberia Seasonal: Madrid TBIT
Japan Airlines Tokyo-Narita TBIT
JetBlue Airways Boston, Fort Lauderdale, New York-JFK 3
KLM Amsterdam TBIT
Korean Air São Paulo-Guarulhos, Seoul-Incheon TBIT
LAN Airlines Lima, Santiago de Chile TBIT
LAN Perú Lima TBIT
Lufthansa Frankfurt, Munich TBIT
Norwegian Air Shuttle Copenhagen, London-Gatwick,[74] Stockholm-Arlanda
Seasonal: Oslo-Gardermoen
TBIT
Philippine Airlines Manila TBIT
Qantas2 Brisbane,[75] Melbourne, Sydney[76] TBIT
Saudia Jeddah, Riyadh[77] TBIT
Singapore Airlines Singapore, Tokyo-Narita TBIT
Southwest Airlines Albuquerque, Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Chicago-Midway, Dallas-Love (begins October 13, 2014), Denver, El Paso, Houston-Hobby, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Milwaukee, Nashville, New Orleans, Oakland, Phoenix, Reno/Tahoe, Sacramento, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Francisco, San Jose (CA), Tucson
Seasonal: Boise, Omaha
1
Spirit Airlines Chicago-O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Houston-Intercontinental, Las Vegas
Seasonal: Minneapolis/St. Paul
3
Sun Country Airlines Minneapolis/St. Paul 2
Swiss International Air Lines Zürich TBIT
Thai Airways Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Seoul-Incheon TBIT
Transaero Airlines Moscow-Vnukovo[78] TBIT
Turkish Airlines Istanbul-Atatürk TBIT
United Airlines Baltimore, Boston, Cancún, Chicago-O'Hare, Cleveland, Denver, Guadalajara, Hilo, Honolulu, Houston-Intercontinental, Kahului, Kailua-Kona, Las Vegas, León/Del Bajío, Lihue, London-Heathrow, Melbourne, Mexico City, New Orleans, New York-JFK, Newark, Orlando, Puerto Vallarta, San Francisco, San José del Cabo, Seattle/Tacoma, Shanghai-Pudong, Sydney, Tokyo-Narita, Washington-Dulles 6, 7, 8
United Express Albuquerque, Austin, Boise, Carlsbad, Colorado Springs, Dallas/Fort Worth, Durango (Mexico), El Paso, Fresno, Kelowna (ends September 19, 2014), Las Vegas, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Monterey, Oklahoma City, Palm Springs, Phoenix, Portland (OR) (ends September 20, 2014),[79] Reno/Tahoe, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Jose (CA) (ends September 19, 2014), San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Seattle/Tacoma, Tucson, Vancouver, Wichita, Yuma
Seasonal: Aspen, Bozeman, Hayden/Steamboat Springs, Jackson Hole, Montrose
6, 7, 8
US Airways Charlotte, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Raleigh/Durham (begins November 6, 2014) 3
US Airways Express Albuquerque, Denver, Edmonton (begins October 2, 2014), Fayetteville/Bentonville, Houston-Intercontinental, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, Reno/Tahoe (begins September 3, 2014), San Antonio (begins October 2, 2014), San Francisco (begins September 3, 2014), San Jose (CA), Vancouver (begins October 2, 2014) 4 (Satellite)
Virgin America Boston, Cancún, Chicago-O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth (ends October 12, 2014), Dallas-Love (begins October 13, 2014),[80] Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, New York-JFK, Newark, Orlando, Philadelphia (ends October 6, 2014),[81] San Francisco, Seattle/Tacoma, Washington-Dulles 3
Virgin Atlantic Airways London-Heathrow 2
Virgin Australia Brisbane, Melbourne (ends October 23, 2014),[82] Sydney TBIT 3
Volaris Aguascalientes, Guadalajara, Mexico City, Morelia, Uruapan (ends September 18, 2014), Zacatecas 2
WestJet Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver 2
Notes
  • ^1 Air New Zealand will relocate operations to the Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) in September 2014.[83]
  • ^2 Qantas flights to/from New York–JFK are only for non-domestic, connecting traffic. The airline does not have local traffic rights to transport passengers solely from LAX to JFK.
  • ^3 Although Virgin Australia flights depart out of the Tom Bradley International Terminal, passengers check in at Terminal 3[84]

Cargo[edit]

Airlines Destinations
ABX Air Cincinnati, Guadalajara, Mexico City, Portland (OR), San Francisco, San José (Costa Rica), Seattle-Boeing
AeroUnion Guadalajara, León/El Bajío, Mexico City, Monterrey
Air China Cargo Beijing-Capital
Air Transport International Toledo
Ameriflight Phoenix, Tucson
Asiana Cargo Seoul-Incheon
Atlas Air Fairbanks, Guam
Cargolux Calgary, Glasgow-Prestwick, Indianapolis, Luxembourg, Mexico City
Cathay Pacific Cargo[85] Anchorage, Hong Kong, Mexico City, San Francisco, Vancouver
China Airlines Cargo[86] Anchorage, Osaka, San Francisco, Taipei-Taoyuan
China Cargo Airlines Shanghai-Pudong
China Southern Cargo Shanghai-Pudong, Vancouver
Emirates SkyCargo Copenhagen, Dubai-Al Maktoum, Mexico City, Zaragoza
EVA Air Cargo Anchorage, San Francisco, Taipei-Taoyuan
FedEx Express Auckland, Fort Worth/Alliance, Honolulu, Indianapolis, Memphis, Newark, Oakland, San Diego, Sydney
Florida West International Airways Bogotá
Kalitta Air Honolulu, Seoul-Incheon
Korean Air Cargo Anchorage, San Francisco, Seoul-Incheon, Tokyo-Narita
Lufthansa Cargo Frankfurt
MasAir Guadalajara, Mérida, Mexico City, Quito, Campinas-Viracopos
Nippon Cargo Airlines Tokyo-Narita
Polar Air Cargo Anchorage, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, Seoul-Incheon, Shanghai-Pudong
Singapore Airlines Cargo[87] Anchorage, Brussels, Chicago-O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth
Southern Air Hong Kong, Leipzig/Halle
UPS Airlines Dallas/Fort Worth, Louisville
Yangtze River Express Shanghai-Pudong

Traffic and statistics[edit]

LAX handles more "origin and destination" (i.e. not connecting) passengers than any other airport in the world.[8][88] The airport handled 28,861,477 enplanements, the total number of passengers boarding an aircraft, in 2008. This makes LAX the third busiest airport in the U.S. in terms of enplanements.[89] It was the world's sixth-busiest airport by passenger traffic[90] and eleventh-busiest by cargo traffic,[91] serving over 60 million passengers and more than two million tons of freight in 2006. It is the busiest airport in the state of California, and the third-busiest airport by passenger traffic in the United States based on final 2006 statistics.[92] In terms of international passengers, LAX is the third busiest in the U.S. (behind JFK in New York City and MIA in Miami)[93] and 26th worldwide.[94] The number of aircraft operations (landings and takeoffs) has steadily increased to 603,912 in 2011, up from 575,875 in 2010.[7]

The LAX control tower and Theme Building as seen from Terminal 4
Busiest international routes from Los Angeles (January–December 2013)[95]
Rank Airport Passengers Change 2012/2013 Carriers
1 London (Heathrow), United Kingdom 1,339,445 Decrease04.0% Air New Zealand, American, British Airways, United, Virgin Atlantic
2 Tokyo (Narita), Japan 1,180,227 Decrease07.3% ANA, American, Delta, JAL, Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines, United
3 Sydney, Australia 1,067,179 Increase03.1% Delta, Qantas, United, Virgin Australia
4 Seoul (Incheon), South Korea 998,932 Increase04.3% Asiana, Korean Air, Thai Airways
5 Taipei (Taoyuan), Taiwan 881,530 Increase03.0% China Airlines, EVA Air
6 Mexico City, Mexico 769,068 Increase03.0% Aeroméxico, Alaska Airlines, United, Volaris
7 Vancouver, Canada 753,972 Increase01.3% Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, United, WestJet
8 Guadalajara, Mexico 740,325 Increase08.4% Aeroméxico, Alaska Airlines, Delta, United, Volaris
9 Paris (Charles de Gaulle), France 579,311 Increase02.9% Air France, Air Tahiti Nui
10 Toronto (Pearson), Canada 560,059 Increase03.0% Air Canada, American
Busiest domestic routes from Los Angeles (June 2013 - May 2014)[96]
Rank Airport Passengers Carriers
1 San Francisco, California 1,712,000 American, Delta, Southwest, United, Virgin America
2 New York-John F. Kennedy, New York 1,522,000 American, Delta, JetBlue, United, Virgin America
3 Chicago-O'Hare, Illinois 1,190,000 American, Spirit, United, Virgin America
4 Las Vegas, Nevada 1,175,000 American, Delta, Southwest, Spirit, United, Virgin America
5 Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas 1,140,000 American, Spirit, United, Virgin America
6 Honolulu, Hawaii 1,055,000 Allegiant, American, Delta, Hawaiian, United
7 Denver, Colorado 948,000 American, Frontier, Southwest, United
8 Seattle/Tacoma, Washington 901,000 Alaska, Delta, United, Virgin America
9 Atlanta, Georgia 873,000 AirTran, Delta, Southwest
10 Phoenix, Arizona (PHX) 789,000 American, Delta, Southwest, United, US Airways
Traffic by calendar year
Passengers Aircraft movements Freight
(tons)
Mail
(tons)
1994 51,050,275 689,888 1,516,567 186,878
1995 53,909,223 732,639 1,567,248 193,747
1996 57,974,559 763,866 1,696,663 194,091
1997 60,142,588 781,492 1,852,487 212,410
1998 61,215,712 773,569 1,787,400 264,473
1999 64,279,571 779,150 1,884,526 253,695
2000 67,303,182 783,433 2,002,614 246,538
2001 61,606,204 738,433 1,779,065 162,629
2002 56,223,843 645,424 1,869,932 92,422
2003 54,982,838 622,378 1,924,883 97,193
2004 60,704,568 655,097 2,022,911 92,402
2005 61,489,398 650,629 2,048,817 88,371
2006 61,041,066 656,842 2,022,687 80,395
2007 62,438,583 680,954 2,010,820 66,707
2008 59,815,646 622,506 1,723,038 73,505
2009 56,520,843 544,833 1,599,782 64,073
2010 59,069,409 575,835 1,852,791 74,034
2011 61,862,052 603,912 1,789,204 80,442
2012 63,688,121 605,480 1,867,155 88,438
2013 66,667,619 614,917 1,848,764 77,286
Source: Los Angeles World Airports[97]

Airport lounges[edit]

  • Terminal 1 (None)
  • Terminal 2 (Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, Air New Zealand Koru Club, Hawaiian Airlines Premier Club, Air France Affaires/ Premiere Lounge)
  • Terminal 3 (Virgin America LOFT)
  • Terminal 4 (American Airlines Admiral's Club, American Airlines Flagship Lounge, Qantas Club)
  • Terminal 5 (Delta Air Lines Sky Club)
  • Terminal 6 (Alaska Airlines Board Room, United Club)
  • Terminal 7 (United Airlines GlobalFirst Lounge, United Club)
  • Terminal 8 (None)
  • TBIT (Star Alliance Lounge, SkyTeam Lounge, Oneworld Lounge, Philippine Airlines Mabuhay Lounge, reLAX Lounge)
  • American Eagle Terminal (American Airlines Admirals Club)

Ground transportation[edit]

One of the large LAX signs that greet visitors to Los Angeles International Airport. This sign is at the Century Boulevard entrance to the airport.

Freeways and roads[edit]

LAX's terminals are immediately west of the interchange between Century Boulevard and Sepulveda Boulevard (State Route 1). The 405 Freeway can be reached to the east via Century Boulevard, and the 105 Freeway can be reached to the south via Sepulveda Boulevard.

The 405 freeway near LAX.

Bus[edit]

LAX City Bus Center.

The closest bus stops to the terminals are the pair of opposites on Sepulveda and Century, served by Torrance 8, Metro 117, Metro 232, Commuter Express 574 and Metro 40 (owl service only).

In addition, out of a number of bus systems, many routes (local, rapid and express) of the LACMTA Metro 232 to Long Beach, Line 8 of Torrance Transit, Line 109 of Beach Cities Transit, the Santa Monica Big Blue Bus system's Line 3 and Rapid 3 via Lincoln Blvd to Santa Monica and the Culver CityBus's Line 6 and Rapid 6 via Sepulveda Blvd to Culver City and UCLA all make stops at the LAX Transit Center in Parking Lot C. on 96th St., where shuttle bus "C" offers free connections to and from every LAX terminal, and at the Green Line Station, where shuttle bus "G" connects to and from the terminals.

FlyAway Bus[edit]

Main article: FlyAway Bus

The FlyAway Bus is a motorcoach shuttle service run by the LAWA, which currently travels between one of three off-airport areas: San Fernando Valley (Van Nuys), downtown Los Angeles (Union Station), and the Westside (Westwood). The Irvine FlyAway was discontinued on August 31, 2012. The shuttle service stops at every LAX terminal. The service hours vary based on the line. All lines use the regional system of High Occupancy Vehicle lanes to expedite their trips.

Los Angeles Metro Rail[edit]

Shuttle bus "G" offers a free connection to and from the Aviation/LAX station on the Los Angeles Metro Rail Green Line. The line was originally intended to connect directly to the airport, but budgetary restraints and opposition from local parking lot owners impeded its progress. Part of the long term master plan for LAX and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority calls for a direct Metro Rail stop on either the Green Line or the proposed Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor, with a people-mover system connecting the terminals to the station without the need for a shuttle bus.[98] Currently, shuttle bus "G" runs every 10–15 minutes (synched with the train schedule) from 5 am – 1:30 am. [99]

Taxis and private shuttles[edit]

Taxicab services are operated by nine city-authorized taxi companies and regulated by Authorized Taxicab Supervision Inc. (ATS). ATS maintains a taxicab holding lot under the 96th Street Bridge where, at peak periods, hundreds of cabs queue up to wait their turn to pull into the central terminal area to pick up passengers. A number of private shuttle companies also offer limousine and bus services to LAX Airport.

Coast Guard Air Station Los Angeles[edit]

The airport also functions as a joint civil-military facility, providing a base for the United States Coast Guard and its Coast Guard Air Station Los Angeles facility, operating four HH-65 Dolphin helicopters, which covers Coast Guard operations in various Southern California locations, including Catalina Island.

Missions include search and rescue (SAR), law enforcement, aids to navigation support (such as operating lighthouses) and various military operations. In addition, Coast Guard helicopters assigned to the air station deploy to Coast Guard cutters.

Flight Path Learning Center & Museum[edit]

The light towers, first installed in preparation for the Democratic National Convention in 2000, change colors throughout the night.

The Flight Path Learning Center is a museum located at 6661 Imperial Highway and was formerly known as the "West Imperial Terminal". This building used to house some charter flights (Condor Airlines) and regular scheduled flights by MGM Grand Air. It sat empty for 10 years until it was re-opened as a learning center for LAX.

The center contains information on the history of aviation, several pictures of the airport, as well as aircraft scale models, flight attendant uniforms, and general airline memorabilia such as playing cards, china, magazines, signs, even a TWA gate information sign. The museum also offers school tours and a guest speaker program.

The museum's library contains an extensive collection of rare items such as aircraft manufacturer company newsletters/magazines, technical manuals for both military and civilian aircraft, industry magazines dating back to World War II and before, historic photographs and other invaluable references on aircraft operation and manufacturing.[100]

The museum has on display "The Spirit of Seventy-Six," which is a DC-3 (DC-3-262, Serial No. 3269). After being in commercial airline service, the plane served as a corporate aircraft for Union Oil Company for 32 years. The plane was built in the Douglas Aircraft Company plant in Santa Monica in January 1941, which was a major producer of both commercial and military aircraft.[101]

The museum claims to be "the only aviation museum and research center situated at a major airport and the only facility with a primary emphasis on contributions of civil aviation to the history and development of Southern California".[102] However, there are other museums at major airports including the Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air and Space Museum adjacent to Washington Dulles Airport, the Royal Thai Air Force Museum at Don Muang Airport, the Suomen ilmailumuseo (Finnish Aviation Museum) at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, the Frontier of Flight Museum at Dallas Love Field, the Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium at Tulsa International Airport and others.

Other facilities[edit]

Hotels next to LAX.

The airport has the administrative offices of Los Angeles World Airports.[103]

Continental Airlines once had its corporate headquarters on the airport property. At a 1962 press conference in the office of Mayor of Los Angeles Sam Yorty, Continental Airlines announced that it planned to move its headquarters to Los Angeles in July 1963.[104] In 1963 Continental's headquarters moved to a two-story, $2.3 million building on the grounds of the airport.[105][106] The July 2009 Continental Magazine issue stated that the move "underlined Continental's western and Pacific orientation".[107] On July 1, 1983 the airline's headquarters were relocated to the America Tower in the Neartown area of Houston.[108]

In addition to Continental, Western Airlines and Flying Tiger Line also had their headquarters on the LAX property.[109][110]

Incidents and accidents[edit]

During its history there have been numerous incidents, but only the most notable are summarized below:[111]

1930s[edit]

  • On January 23, 1939, the sole prototype Douglas 7B twin-engine attack bomber, designed and built as a company project, suffered loss of vertical fin and rudder during demonstration flight over Mines Field, flat spun into the parking lot of North American Aviation, burned. Another source states that the test pilot, in an attempt to impress the Gallic passenger, attempted a snap roll at low altitude with one engine feathered, resulting in the fatal spin.[112] Douglas test pilot Johnny Cable bailed out at 300 feet, chute unfurled but did not have time to deploy, killed on impact, flight engineer John Parks rode the airframe in and died, but 33-year-old French Air Force Capt. Paul Chemidlin, riding in aft fuselage near top turret, survived with broken leg, severe back injuries, slight concussion. Presence of Chemidlin, a representative of foreign purchasing mission, caused a furor in Congress by isolationists over neutrality and export laws. Type was developed as Douglas DB-7.[113]

1940s[edit]

  • On June 1, 1940, the first Douglas R3D-1 for the U.S. Navy, BuNo 1901, crashed at Mines Field, before delivery. The Navy later acquired the privately owned DC-5 prototype, from William E. Boeing as a replacement.[114]
  • On November 20, 1940, the prototype NA-73X Mustang, NX19998,[115] first flown October 26, 1940, by test pilot Vance Breese, crashed this date.[116] According to P-51 designer Edgar Schmued, the NA-73 was lost because test pilot Paul Balfour refused, before a high-speed test run, to go through the takeoff and flight test procedure with Schmued while the aircraft was on the ground, claiming "one airplane was like another". After making two high speed passes over Mines Field, he forgot to put the fuel valve on "reserve" and during third pass ran out of fuel. Emergency landing in a freshly plowed field caused wheels to dig in, aircraft flipped over, airframe was not rebuilt, the second aircraft being used for subsequent testing.[117]
  • On October 26, 1944, WASP pilot Gertrude Tompkins Silver of the 601st Ferrying Squadron, 5th Ferrying Group, Love Field, Dallas, Texas, departed Los Angeles Airport, in North American P-51D Mustang, 44-15669,[118] at 1600 hrs PWT, headed for the East Coast. She took off into the wind, into an offshore fog bank, and was expected that night at Palm Springs. She never arrived. Due to a paperwork foul-up, a search did not get under way for several days, and while the eventual search of land and sea was massive, it failed to find a trace of Silver or her plane. She is the only missing WASP pilot. She had married Sgt. Henry Silver one month before her disappearance.[119]

1960s[edit]

  • On January 13, 1969, a Scandinavian Airlines System Douglas DC-8-62, Flight 933, crashed into Santa Monica Bay, approximately 6 nautical miles (11 km) west of LAX at 7:21 pm, local time. The aircraft was operating as flight SK-933, nearing the completion of a flight from Seattle. Of nine crewmembers, three lost their lives to drowning, while 12 of the 36 passengers also drowned.
  • On January 18, 1969, United Airlines Flight 266 a Boeing 727-200 bearing the registration number N7434U, crashed into Santa Monica Bay approximately 11.3 miles (18.2 km) west of LAX at 6:21 pm local time. The aircraft was destroyed, resulting in the loss of all 32 passengers and six crewmembers aboard.

1970s[edit]

  • On the evening of June 6, 1971, Hughes Airwest Flight 706, a Douglas DC-9 jetliner which had departed LAX on a flight to Salt Lake City, Utah, was struck nine minutes after takeoff by a U.S. Marine Corps McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II fighter jet over the San Gabriel Mountains. The midair collision killed all 44 passengers and five crew members aboard the DC-9 airliner and one of two crewmen aboard the military jet.
  • On August 6, 1974, a bomb exploded near the Pan Am ticketing area at Terminal 2; three people were killed and 35 were injured.[120]
  • On March 1, 1978, two tires burst in succession on a McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10 on Continental Airlines Flight 603 during its takeoff roll at LAX and the plane, bound for Honolulu, veered off the runway. A third tire burst and the DC-10's left landing gear collapsed, causing a fuel tank to rupture. Following the aborted takeoff, spilled fuel ignited and enveloped the center portion of the aircraft in flames. During the ensuing emergency evacuation, a husband and wife died when they exited the passenger cabin onto the wing and dropped down directly into the flames. Two additional passengers died of their injuries approximately three months after the accident; 74 others aboard the plane were injured, as were 11 firemen battling the fire.
  • On the evening of March 10, 1979, Swift Aire Flight 235, a twin-engine Aerospatiale Nord 262A-33 turboprop en route to Santa Maria, was forced to ditch in Santa Monica Bay after experiencing engine problems upon takeoff from LAX. The pilot, co-pilot and a female passenger drowned when they were unable to exit the aircraft after the ditching. The female flight attendant and the three remaining passengers—two men and a pregnant woman—survived and were rescued by several pleasure boats and other watercraft in the vicinity.

1980s[edit]

  • On August 31, 1986, Aeroméxico Flight 498, a DC-9 en route from Mexico City, Mexico to Los Angeles, began its descent into LAX when a Piper Cherokee collided with the DC-9's left horizontal stabilizer over Cerritos, California, causing the DC-9 to crash into a residential neighborhood. All 67 people on the two aircraft were killed, in addition to 15 people on the ground. 5 homes were destroyed and an additional 7 were damaged by the crash and resulting fire. The Piper went down in a nearby schoolyard and caused no further injuries on the ground. As a result of this incident, the FAA required all commercial aircraft to be equipped with Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS).

1990s[edit]

  • On February 1, 1991, USAir Flight 1493 (arriving from Columbus, Ohio), a Boeing 737-300, landing on Runway 24L at LAX, collided on touchdown with a SkyWest Airlines Fairchild Metroliner, Flight 5569 departing to Palmdale, California, that had been holding in position on the same runway. The collision killed all 12 occupants of the SkyWest plane and 22 people aboard the USAir 737.

2000s[edit]

  • Al-Qaeda attempted to bomb LAX on New Year's Eve 1999/2000. The bomber, Algerian Ahmed Ressam, was captured in Port Angeles, Washington, the U.S. port of entry, with a cache of explosives that could have produced a blast 40x greater than that of a devastating car bomb hidden in the trunk of the rented car in which he had traveled from Canada.[121][122] He had planned to leave one or two suitcases filled with explosives in an LAX passenger waiting area.[123][124] He was initially sentenced to 22 years in prison, but in February 2010 an appellate court ordered that his sentence be extended.[125]
  • On the afternoon of January 31, 2000, Alaska Airlines Flight 261, a McDonnell Douglas MD-83 jetliner flying from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to San Francisco and Seattle, requested to make an emergency landing at LAX after experiencing control problems with its tail-mounted horizontal stabilizer. Before the plane could divert to Los Angeles, it suddenly plummeted into the Pacific Ocean approximately 2.7 miles (4.3 km) north of Anacapa Island off the California coast, killing all 88 people aboard the aircraft.[126]
  • Three of the aircraft hijacked in the September 11, 2001 attacks - American Airlines Flight 11, American Airlines Flight 77, and United Airlines Flight 175, had LAX as their final destination.
  • In the 2002 Los Angeles International Airport shooting of July 4, 2002, Hesham Mohamed Hadayet killed two Israelis at the ticket counter of El Al Airlines at LAX. Although the gunman was not linked to any terrorist group, the man was upset at U.S. support for Israel, and therefore was motivated by political disagreement. This led the FBI to classify this shooting as a terrorist act,[127] one of the few on U.S. soil since the September 11 attacks.
  • On September 21, 2005, JetBlue Airways Flight 292, an Airbus A320 discovered a problem with its landing gear as it took off from Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, California. It flew in circles for three hours to burn off fuel, then landed safely at Los Angeles International Airport on runway 25L, balancing on its back wheels as it rolled down the center of the runway. Passengers were able to watch their own coverage live from the satellite broadcast on JetBlue in-flight TV seat displays of their plane as it made an emergency landing with the front landing gear visibly becoming damaged. Because JetBlue did not serve LAX at the time, the aircraft was evaluated and repaired at a Continental Airlines hangar.[128][129]
  • On July 29, 2006, after America West Express Flight 6008, a Canadair Regional Jet operated by Mesa Airlines from Phoenix, Arizona, landed on runway 25L, controllers instructed the pilot to leave the runway on a taxiway known as "Mike" and stop short of runway 25R. Even though the pilot read back the instructions correctly, he accidentally taxied onto 25R and into the path of a departing SkyWest Airlines Embraer EMB-120 operating United Express Flight 6037 to Monterey, California. They cleared each other by 50 feet (15 m) and nobody was hurt.[130]
  • On August 16, 2007, a runway incursion occurred between WestJet Flight 900 and Northwest Airlines Flight 180 on runways 24R and 24L, respectively, with the aircraft coming within 37 feet (11 m) of each other. The planes were carrying a combined total of 296 people, none of whom were injured. The NTSB concluded that the incursion was the result of controller error.[131] In September 2007, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey stressed the need for LAX to increase lateral separation between its pair of north runways in order to preserve the safety and efficiency of the airport.[132]

2010s[edit]

  • On October 13 and 14, 2013, two incidents of dry ice bomb explosions occurred at the airport. The first dry ice bomb exploded at 7:00 p.m. in an employee restroom in Terminal 2, injuring nobody. Terminal 2 was briefly shut down as a result. On the next day at 8:30 p.m., a dry ice bomb exploded on the tarmac area near the Tom Bradley International Terminal, injuring nobody. Two other plastic bottles containing dry ice were found at the scene during the second explosion. On October 15, a 28-year-old airport employee was arrested in connection with the explosions and was booked on charges of possession of an explosive or destructive device near an aircraft. He is held on $1 million bail.[133][134][135] On October 18, a 41-year-old airport employee was arrested in connection with the second explosion, and was booked on suspicion of possessing a destructive device near an aircraft.[136] Authorities believe that the incidents are not linked to terrorism.[133]
  • In the 2013 Los Angeles International Airport shooting of November 1, 2013, at around 9:31 a.m. PDT, a lone gunman entered Terminal 3 and opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle, killing a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer and wounding three other people. The gunman was later apprehended and taken into custody. Until the situation was clarified and under control, a few terminals at the airport were evacuated, all inbound flights were diverted and all outbound flights were grounded until the airport began returning to normal operation at around 2:30 p.m.[137][138]

Planned modernization[edit]

New Tom Bradley West International Terminal "Bon Voyage" screen that greets travelers about to depart through the expanded concourse.

LAWA currently has several plans to modernize LAX. These include terminal and runway improvements, which will enhance the passenger experience, reduce overcrowding, and provide airport access to the latest class of very large passenger aircraft.

These improvements[139] include:

  • New crossfield taxiway
  • New large aircraft gates at TBIT
  • TBIT core improvements
  • New Midfield Satellite Concourse
  • Replacement of Central Utility Plant

LAWA is also planning to build and operate an LAX Automated People Mover. This small train will connect passengers between the central terminal area and the Metro Green Line, the future Metro Crenshaw Line, and regional and local bus lines.

In popular culture[edit]

Numerous films and television shows have been set or filmed partially at LAX, at least partly due to the airport's proximity to Hollywood studios. Film shoots at the Los Angeles airports, including LAX, produced $590 million for the Los Angeles region from 2002 to 2005.[140]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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Further reading[edit]

  • Bullock, Freddy. LAX: Los Angeles International Airport (1998)
  • Schoneberger, William A., Ethel Pattison, and Lee Nichols. Los Angeles International Airport (Arcadia Publishing, 2009.)

External links[edit]