Los Angeles World Airports

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Los Angeles World Airports
Los Angeles World Airports logo.svg
Agency overview
Headquarters1 World Way
Los Angeles, California 90045
33°56′34″N 118°24′09″W / 33.9428°N 118.4026°W / 33.9428; -118.4026Coordinates: 33°56′34″N 118°24′09″W / 33.9428°N 118.4026°W / 33.9428; -118.4026
Agency executive
  • Justin Erbacci, Chief Executive Officer
Parent agencyCity of Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) is the airport authority that owns and operates Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Van Nuys Airport (VNY) for the city of Los Angeles, California. LAWA formerly owned and operated Ontario International Airport (ONT) and Palmdale Regional Airport (PMD) as well. Its headquarters are on the grounds of LAX in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Westchester.


LAWA was established in 1928 as the Los Angeles Department of Airports for the purpose of operating Los Angeles Municipal Airport, originally known as Mines Field.[1] The Department of Airports changed its name to Los Angeles World Airports in 1997.[2]

Los Angeles International Airport[edit]

Los Angeles Municipal Airport eventually became Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

Van Nuys Airport[edit]

In 1949, LAWA acquired the Van Nuys Army Airfield in the San Fernando Valley from the U.S. War Assets Administration for the token fee of one dollar.[3] LAWA changed the airfield's name to San Fernando Valley Airport before renaming it Van Nuys Airport (VNY).

Ontario International Airport[edit]

In 1967, the city of Ontario in neighboring San Bernardino County asked LAWA to enter into a Joint Powers Agreement for the operation and management of Ontario International Airport (ONT).[4] LAWA acquired ONT from the city of Ontario in 1985 and expanded the airport's 485 acres of land to more than 1,700 acres and invested more than US$500 million in improvements.[5] In April 2013, the city of Ontario filed a legal complaint against LAWA alleging mismanagement of ONT, ultimately resulting in a 40% decline of traffic between 2007 and 2013. LAWA countered the complaint citing the Great Recession was responsible for the decline in activity.[6] After years of negotiations, LAWA sold back its shares of ONT to the newly-formed Ontario International Airport Authority (OIAA) in December 2015 for a total of US$190 million.[7] It transferred operational management of the airport to OIAA on November 1, 2016.[8]

Palmdale Regional Airport[edit]

In 1969, LAWA began searching for the location of a secondary international airport to relieve congestion at LAX. The location that LAWA decided on was in the Antelope Valley near the city of Palmdale.[9] From 1969 to 1983, LAWA acquired over 17,500 acres through voluntary acquisitions and eminent domain to develop an intercontinental airport.[10] Development of "Palmdale Intercontinental Airport" never materialized due in part to lack of demand for commercial air services, environmental litigation, and opposition from the United States Air Force (USAF) whose United States Air Force Plant 42 is located adjacent to LAWA-acquired land. LAWA entered into a lease agreement with the USAF to use Air Force Plant 42 runways and to build and operate a small terminal. Palmdale Regional Airport (PMD) began commercial operations in June 1971, but was not able to maintain steady demand with passenger traffic peaking in 1978 with 36,000 passengers before airline services eventually ceased in 1983.[11] Two airlines began operating commercial services at PMD in 1990, but were again unable to maintain demand and ended services in 1998.[12] In June 2007, United Airlines began operating at PMD, but ceased operations in December 2008 citing lack of demand.[13] At the end of 2013, LAWA transferred its lease with the USAF to the city of Palmdale.[14]



Los Angeles World Airports owns and operates two airports:[15]

Ground transportation[edit]

LAWA operates the FlyAway bus service, which runs four shuttle routes between LAX and the following: Van Nuys Airport, Los Angeles Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, and Long Beach.

The agency is building and plans to operate the LAX Automated People Mover.


LAWA still owns over 17,500 acres of land in the Antelope Valley that was acquired for the yet-to-be-developed "Palmdale Intercontinental Airport" and leases portions of it.[16]

Revenue and expenditures[edit]

LAWA raises revenue by collecting aircraft landing fees, in addition to property leases and concession fees from airport tenants. Expenditures include runway and building maintenance fees, capital improvements and administration.[17]


LAWA is a branch of the city of Los Angeles and is governed by a seven-member Board of Airport Commissioners. The Los Angeles City Charter requires one member to reside within the area surrounding LAX and another member to reside within the area surrounding VNY.[18] The board is appointed by the Mayor of Los Angeles and approved by Los Angeles City Council. The Mayor also appoints the Executive Director who oversees over 4,000 employees and the day-to-day operations of the two airports.[19] The current Executive Director is Deborah A. Flint, who was appointed in June 2015.[20]

Board of Airport Commissioners[edit]

As of May 2019, the Board of Airport Commissioners are as follows:[21]

  • Sean O. Burton, President
  • Valeria C. Velasco, Vice President
  • Gabriel L. Eshaghian
  • Beatrice C. Hsu
  • Nicholas P. Roxborough
  • Thomas S. Sayles
  • Cynthia A. Telles

List of Executive Directors[edit]

Below is the list of LAWA Executive Directors from 1928 to the present:[22][23]

  • Clifford W. Henderson (1928-1938)
  • Richard Barnitz (1938-1940)
  • Woodruff DeSilva (1940-1944)
  • Clarence Young (1944-1950)
  • John W. Reeves Jr. (1950-1954)
  • Robert A. McMillan (1954-1959)
  • Francis T. Fox (1959-1968)
  • Clifton A. Moore (1968-1993)
  • John J. Driscoll (1993-1999)
  • Lydia H. Kennard (1999-2003 and 2005-2007)[24]
  • Kim Day (2003-2005)[25]
  • Gina Marie Lindsey (2007-2015)
  • Deborah A. Flint (2015–present)

Law enforcement[edit]

LAWA maintains its own police department, the Los Angeles Airport Police sometimes referred to as "LAWAPD" or "LAXPD".[26] LAWAPD is the fourth largest law enforcement agency in Los Angeles County, with more than 1,100 law enforcement, security and staff personnel. LAWAPD has patrolled jointly with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) since the opening of the current terminal area in 1961. In 2002 then-mayor James Hahn assigned additional LAPD officers to LAX to provide armed law enforcement officer coverage at passenger screening stations. Those officers are trained by LAWAPD officers to perform this function. They are assigned on an overtime basis, with LAWA reimbursing LAPD and, in turn, receiving substantial reimbursement from the Transportation Security Administration.[citation needed]



  1. ^ Los Angeles City Council Minutes for Friday, September 21, 1928. http://clkrep.lacity.org/oldcfidocs/: City of Los Angeles. 1928.
  2. ^ "Department Renamed as 'World Airports'". Los Angeles Times. May 7, 1997. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved May 26, 2019.
  3. ^ "Van Nuys - History". Los Angeles World Airports. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
  4. ^ "The Evolution of Ontario Int'l Airport (OIAA)". Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce. April 8, 2018. Retrieved May 26, 2019.
  5. ^ "Local Authority Regains Control of Ontario Int'l | Airport Improvement Magazine". airportimprovement.com. Retrieved May 26, 2019.
  6. ^ Eve Bachrach (April 11, 2013). "Ontario is Getting Ready to Sue LA For Airport Neglect". Curbed Los Angeles. Archived from the original on October 8, 2016. Retrieved May 30, 2017.
  7. ^ Jeff Wattenhofer (December 17, 2015). "Ontario Has Finally Wrested Control of Its Airport From LA". Curbed Los Angeles. Archived from the original on October 8, 2016. Retrieved May 30, 2017.
  8. ^ Dan Weikel (November 1, 2016). "Ontario officials get ownership of international airport and pledge more flights and services". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on March 9, 2017. Retrieved May 30, 2017. After years of litigation and negotiation, Ontario officials assumed ownership of LA/Ontario International Airport from Los Angeles on Tuesday. [1 November 2016]
  9. ^ "LAX plans major expansion to the east". avpress.com. Retrieved May 26, 2019.
  10. ^ "LAWA Palmdale Holding Land Use & Development Overview". Los Angeles World Airports. June 2, 2014. p. 7. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
  11. ^ "Plans for 'Superport' Announced in 1968 : Palmdale Airport: Undying Dream". Los Angeles Times. May 8, 1988. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved May 26, 2019.
  12. ^ "Palmdale Again Quietly Reaches End of Runway". Los Angeles Times. April 27, 1998. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved May 26, 2019.
  13. ^ "Palmdale to run troubled local airport". Los Angeles Times. November 12, 2008. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved May 26, 2019.
  14. ^ "Palmdale Airport plans still up in the air". ourweekly.com. Retrieved May 26, 2019.
  15. ^ "About Los Angeles World Airports". Los Angeles World Airports. October 2015. Archived from the original on May 30, 2017. Retrieved May 30, 2017.
  16. ^ "Palmdale". Los Angeles World Airports. Retrieved May 26, 2019.
  17. ^ "About LAWA". Los Angeles World Airports. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
  18. ^ "American Legal Publishing - Online Library". library.amlegal.com. Retrieved May 26, 2019.
  19. ^ "LAX 2019 Series A, B, & C" (PDF). Los Angeles World Airports. February 27, 2019. p. 43. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
  20. ^ "LAWA Official Site | Deborah Flint". www.lawa.org. Retrieved May 26, 2019.
  21. ^ "LAWA Official Site | Airport Commissioners". www.lawa.org. Retrieved May 26, 2019.
  22. ^ 1928 > 2003: Celebrating 75 Years of Connecting Southern California to the World: The Heritage of Los Angeles World Airports. Los Angeles World Airports. 2003. pp. 37–39.
  23. ^ "City of Los Angeles Officials". cityclerk.lacity.org. Retrieved May 26, 2019.
  24. ^ "Lydia H. Kennard To Step Down As Executive Director Of Los Angeles World Airports; Will Continue As Special Adviser To Board Of Airport Commissioners". www.lawa.org. Retrieved May 26, 2019.
  25. ^ "Kim Day leaves top job at airport Friday, October 7th | The Argonaut Newsweekly". argonautnews.com. Retrieved May 26, 2019.
  26. ^ "About LAXPD". Los Angeles Airport Police. 2012. Retrieved January 1, 2012.
  27. ^ "Los Angeles World Airports receives Sustainability Award". World Interior Design Network. July 9, 2010. Archived from the original on February 9, 2013. Retrieved May 30, 2017. The Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) has received the LAX Coastal Area Chamber of Commerce’s Sustainability Award, after $737 million renovation of its TBIT terminal.
  28. ^ https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-city-airport-audit-20150917-story.html

See also[edit]

Related articles[edit]

External links[edit]