Los Angeles International Airport

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Los Angeles International Airport
LAX LA.jpg
Airport typePublic
OwnerCity of Los Angeles
OperatorLos Angeles World Airports
ServesGreater Los Angeles metropolitan area
LocationLos Angeles, California
Hub for
Focus city for
Elevation AMSL126 ft / 38 m
Coordinates33°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
FAA airport diagram
FAA airport diagram
LAX is located in Los Angeles Metropolitan Area
Location within the Los Angeles metropolitan area
Passengers (2013)66,667,619
Aircraft operations (2013)614,917
Economic impact (2012)$14.9 billion[2]
Social impact (2012)133.9 thousand[2]
Source: Federal Aviation Administration[3]


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Los Angeles International Airport
LAX LA.jpg
Airport typePublic
OwnerCity of Los Angeles
OperatorLos Angeles World Airports
ServesGreater Los Angeles metropolitan area
LocationLos Angeles, California
Hub for
Focus city for
Elevation AMSL126 ft / 38 m
Coordinates33°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
FAA airport diagram
FAA airport diagram
LAX is located in Los Angeles Metropolitan Area
Location within the Los Angeles metropolitan area
Passengers (2013)66,667,619
Aircraft operations (2013)614,917
Economic impact (2012)$14.9 billion[2]
Social impact (2012)133.9 thousand[2]
Source: Federal Aviation Administration[3]


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 with 63,688,121 passengers, an increase of 3% from 2011.[5][6] 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.[7][not in citation given] It is also the only airport to rank among the top five U.S. airports for both passenger and cargo traffic.[8]

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.


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.[9]
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.[10] The first structure, Hangar No. 1, was erected in 1929 and is in the National Register of Historic Places.[11]

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.[12] 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.)[13]

Mines Field did not extend west of Sepulveda Boulevard;[14] 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.[15] 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.[12][16]

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.[17]

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.[12]

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.[18] 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.[19][20]

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 the airport 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 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.[12]

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.[12]

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.[12]

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.[21] 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.[22]

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.[23]

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.[24]

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.[25] 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.[25]

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. After city officials fought for the super-jumbo jet to land at LAX, the A380 landed simultaneously in New York and LAX.[26]

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 and Emirates Airlines, Turkish Airlines, and Iberia Airlines. Korean Airlines, 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.[27]

Qantas launched service with the Airbus A380 on October 20, 2008, using the west side remote gates. Though initially deployed between LAX-SYD, Qantas' A380 service was extended to the popular LAX-Melbourne route.]-Los Angeles routing, followed shortly by Korean Airlines, which initiated nonstop Seoul-Los Angeles service with the Airbus A380 in October 2011. Air France has launched A380 flights between Paris Charles de Gaulle and Los Angeles in May 2012. In Addition, China Southern 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 boasts six daily flights on the Airbus A380. British Airways has announced that Los Angeles will be its first A380 route, starting October 15.[28]

The airport is a hub for United Airlines, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines,[29] and a focus city for Southwest Airlines, Allegiant Air, Air New Zealand, Qantas, Virgin America and Volaris. It also serves as an international gateway for Delta Air Lines and houses a line maintenance facility for Delta Air Lines' primary maintenance, repair and overhaul arm, Delta TechOps.[30]

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.[31][32]

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 Space Shuttle Endeavour landed at LAX on runway 25L.[33] 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]

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.[34] Visitors are able to take the elevator up to the roof of the "Theme Building", which closed after the September 11 attacks for security reasons and reopened to the public on weekends beginning on July 10, 2010.[35] Additionally, a memorial to the victims of September 11, 2001 is also located on the grounds of the Theme Building, as three of the four hijacked planes were originally destined for LAX that day.[36]


A terminal map of LAX.

LAX has nine passenger terminals arranged in a "U", also called 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 between 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[37] 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 through security. The following airside connections are possible:[38]

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 and is the largest of all of the terminals in terms of number of gates. 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.[40] US Airways moved to Terminal 3 on February 12, 2014, leaving Southwest and subsidiary AirTran as sole operators at Terminal 1.[41]

Terminal 2[edit]

Terminal 2 with Air China 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 TBIT along with a couple of domestic airlines: Aeroméxico, Air Canada, Air China, Air France, Avianca, KLM, Air New Zealand, Alitalia, 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.[42] The rebuilt terminal was designed by Leo A Daly.[43] 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. [44]

Alitalia will be moving to the TBIT April 29, 2014. [45]

KLM will be moving to the TBIT March 30, 2014. [45]

Air France will be merging their entire operation to the TBIT March 30, 2014. [45]

Note: Air France's A380 flight will utilize TBIT A380-capable gates, which are lacking in Terminal 2.

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 April 2012, JetBlue, Spirit Airlines, Virgin Australia, and Virgin America use Terminal 3.

On May 1, 2013, Allegiant Air relocated to Terminal 3.[46] A week later on May 8, Frontier Airlines relocated to Terminal 3.[47] US Airways moved to Terminal 3 on February 12, 2014.[41]

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

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-44L)), 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.[48] It is home for American Airlines, which operates its West Coast hub at the airport, and for its subsidiary commuter carrier, American Eagle Airlines. American is the only tenant at T4, other than daily Qantas departure to Brisbane. An international arrivals facility serving American Airlines flights was also added in the renovation in 2001.

Note: American Eagle flights operate from the "American Eagle 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 6 and TBIT because of Eagle's codesharing with Alaska Airlines and Qantas.

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. Western Airlines occupied this terminal at its opening in 1962, and continued to do so until Western was merged with Delta Air Lines on April 1, 1987. Terminal 5 was redesigned by Gensler,[49] 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 Air Lines 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 Air Lines leases 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. Also, one foreign-flag airline, Copa Airlines, departs from Terminal 6, as a result of its long relationship with Continental and now United.

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.[50]

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 the home to United Airlines. 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.[51] Also, the roof of the terminal was raised, and new, brighter light fixtures were added in order to provide more overall lighting.[52] As of 2012, Terminal 7 is undergoing another facelift, with significant changes to concessions. The terminal also contains a United Club and 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.

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. A separated arrivals walkway can be seen on the upper-left and in the background, which leads directly to US Customs.

The Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) has 12 gates, including six on the north concourse and six on the south concourse. 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 in honor of 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 larger A380. The terminal opened in phases beginning on September 2012, and was completed in 2014.[53]

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, including 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.[54] 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 Seagal, and Porsche amongst others.

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 United Airlines (18.24% of passenger traffic, combined with United Express traffic), American Airlines (14.73%), and Southwest Airlines (12.62%). Other airlines with a presence on a lesser scale include Delta Air Lines (11.12%) and Alaska Airlines (4.74%).[55]


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). Lufthansa serves the most destinations in Europe (two), 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.

AeroméxicoGuadalajara, Mexico City
Seasonal: Cancún
Aeroméxico ConnectHermosillo, Huatulco,[56] La Paz (Mexico),[57] León/Del Bajío, Loreto (Mexico), Mexico City, Monterrey
Seasonal: Culiacán
Air BerlinSeasonal: DüsseldorfTBIT
Air CanadaCalgary (ends April 30, 2014), Montréal-Trudeau, Toronto-Pearson, Vancouver (ends April 30, 2014)2
Air Canada RougeCalgary (begins May 1, 2014),[58] Vancouver (begins May 1, 2014)[58]2
Air ChinaBeijing-Capital2
Air FrancePapeete, Paris-Charles de GaulleTBIT
Air New ZealandAuckland, London-Heathrow, Rarotonga21
Air Tahiti NuiPapeete, Paris-Charles de GaulleTBIT
AirTran Airways
operated by Southwest Airlines
Alaska AirlinesGuadalajara, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, Manzanillo, Mazatlán, Mexico City, Portland (OR), Puerto Vallarta, Salt Lake City (begins June 11, 2014),[59] San José del Cabo, Seattle/Tacoma, Vancouver, Washington-National
Seasonal: Anchorage
Alaska Airlines
operated by Horizon Air
Loreto (Mexico), Mammoth Lakes, Medford, Santa Rosa, Seattle/Tacoma
Seasonal: Sun Valley
AlitaliaSeasonal: Rome-Fiumicino2

(TBIT starting April 29, 2014)

All Nippon AirwaysTokyo-Haneda, Tokyo-NaritaTBIT
Allegiant AirBellingham, Eugene, Fargo, Grand Junction, Honolulu, Idaho Falls, Medford, Provo
Seasonal: Billings, Cedar Rapids (begins June 6, 2014),[60] Des Moines, Fayetteville/Bentonville, Great Falls (begins June 6, 2014),[61] Kalispell (begins June 5, 2014),[62] McAllen (begins June 5, 2014), Missoula, Montrose, Pasco, Sioux Falls, Springfield/Branson, Wichita
American AirlinesAustin, Boston, Chicago-O'Hare, Columbus (OH),Dallas/Fort Worth, Hartford, 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, Tokyo-Narita, Toronto-Pearson, Washington-Dulles, Washington-National, West Palm Beach[63]
Seasonal: Eagle/Vail
American EagleAlbuquerque, Fayetteville (AR),[64] Denver, El Paso, Eugene, Fresno, Houston-Intercontinental, Monterey, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, Redmond/Bend, Reno/Tahoe, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Jose (CA), Santa Fe, Tucson
Seasonal: Aspen
4 (Satellite)
Apple Vacations
operated by Aeromexico
Seasonal: Huatulco2
Asiana AirlinesSeoul-IncheonTBIT
Avianca El SalvadorGuatemala City, San Salvador2
British AirwaysLondon-HeathrowTBIT
Cathay PacificHong KongTBIT
China AirlinesTaipei-TaoyuanTBIT
China Eastern AirlinesShanghai-PudongTBIT
China Southern AirlinesGuangzhouTBIT
Copa AirlinesPanama City6
Delta Air LinesAtlanta, Austin (begins June 16, 2014),[65] Belize City, Boston (resumes April 8, 2014),[66] Cancún, Cincinnati, Columbus (OH), Detroit, Guadalajara, Guatemala City, Honolulu, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Kahului, Kailua-Kona, Las Vegas, Liberia (CR), Lihue, Memphis, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Nashville, New Orleans, New York-JFK, Orlando, Puerto Vallarta, Raleigh/Durham, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, San José (Costa Rica), San Salvador (begins July 2, 2014),[65] Seattle/Tacoma, Sydney, Tampa, Tokyo-Haneda, Tokyo-Narita5, 6
Delta ConnectionBoise (begins June 5, 2014),[65] Dallas-Love (begins October 13, 2014),[67] Kansas City,[65] Las Vegas, León/Del Bajío, Oakland, Phoenix, Portland (OR), Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose (CA),[68] Seattle/Tacoma, Spokane[69]
Seasonal: Bozeman,[70] Jackson Hole, Kalispell, Missoula
Delta ShuttleSan Francisco[65]5
El AlTel Aviv-Ben GurionTBIT
Etihad AirwaysAbu Dhabi (begins June 1, 2014)[71]TBIT
EVA AirTaipei-TaoyuanTBIT
Fiji AirwaysNadiTBIT
Frontier AirlinesDenver3
Great Lakes AirlinesKingman, Merced, Prescott, Telluride, Visalia6
Hawaiian AirlinesHonolulu, Kahului (resumes May 2, 2014),[72]
Seasonal: Kailua-Kona (begins June 26, 2014),[73] Lihue (begins June 27, 2014)[73]
IberiaSeasonal: MadridTBIT
Japan AirlinesTokyo-NaritaTBIT
JetBlue AirwaysBoston, Fort Lauderdale, New York-JFK3
Korean AirSão Paulo-Guarulhos, Seoul-IncheonTBIT
LAN AirlinesLima, Santiago de ChileTBIT
LufthansaFrankfurt, MunichTBIT
Malaysia AirlinesKuala Lumpur, Tokyo-Narita (both end April 30, 2014)[74]TBIT
Norwegian Air ShuttleCopenhagen, London-Gatwick (begins July 2, 2014),[75] Stockholm-Arlanda
Seasonal: Oslo-Gardermoen (begins June 1, 2014)
Philippine AirlinesManilaTBIT
Qantas2Melbourne, Sydney[76]TBIT
SaudiaJeddah, Riyadh [77]TBIT
Singapore AirlinesSingapore, Tokyo-NaritaTBIT
Southwest AirlinesAlbuquerque, Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Chicago-Midway, Dallas-Love (begins November 2, 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 (begins June 14, 2014), Omaha (begins June 9, 2014)
Spirit AirlinesChicago-O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Houston-Intercontinental, Las Vegas
Seasonal: Minneapolis/St. Paul
Sun Country AirlinesMinneapolis/St. Paul2
Swiss International Air LinesZürichTBIT
Thai Airways InternationalBangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Seoul-IncheonTBIT
Transaero AirlinesMoscow-Vnukovo[78]TBIT
Turkish AirlinesIstanbul-AtatürkTBIT
United AirlinesBaltimore, 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, Pittsburgh, Puerto Vallarta, San Francisco, San José del Cabo, Seattle/Tacoma, Shanghai-Pudong, Sydney, Tokyo-Narita, Washington-Dulles6, 7, 8
United ExpressAlbuquerque, Austin, Bakersfield, Boise, Carlsbad, Colorado Springs, Dallas/Fort Worth, Durango (Mexico), El Paso, Fresno, Kelowna, Las Vegas, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Monterey, Oklahoma City, Palm Springs, Phoenix, Portland (OR), Reno/Tahoe, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Jose (CA), 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 AirwaysCharlotte, Philadelphia, Phoenix3
Virgin AmericaBoston, Cancún, Chicago-O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, New York-JFK, Newark, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Francisco, San Jose (CA) (ends May 14, 2014),[79] Seattle/Tacoma, Washington-Dulles3
Virgin Atlantic AirwaysLondon-Heathrow2
Virgin AustraliaBrisbane, Melbourne, SydneyTBIT 3
VolarisAguascalientes, Culiacán, Guadalajara, Mexico City, Morelia, Uruapan, Zacatecas2
WestJetCalgary, Edmonton, Vancouver2


ABX AirCincinnati, Guadalajara, Mexico City, Portland (OR), San Francisco, San José (Costa Rica), Seattle-Boeing
AeroUnionGuadalajara, León/El Bajío, Mexico City, Monterrey
Air China CargoBeijing-Capital
Air Transport InternationalToledo
AmeriflightPhoenix, Tucson
Asiana CargoSeoul-Incheon
Atlas AirFairbanks, Guam
CargoluxCalgary, Glasgow-Prestwick, Indianapolis, Luxembourg, Mexico City
Cathay Pacific Cargo[82]Anchorage, Hong Kong, Mexico City, San Francisco, Vancouver
China Airlines Cargo[83]San Francisco, Taipei-Taoyuan
China Cargo AirlinesShanghai-Pudong
China Southern CargoShanghai-Pudong, Vancouver
Emirates SkyCargoCopenhagen, Dubai-Al Maktoum, Mexico City, Zaragoza (all begin August 6, 2014)
EVA Air CargoAnchorage, San Francisco, Taipei-Taoyuan
FedEx ExpressAuckland, Fort Worth/Alliance, Honolulu, Indianapolis, Memphis, Newark, Oakland, San Diego, Sydney
Florida West International AirwaysBogotá
Kalitta AirHonolulu
Korean Air CargoSeoul-Incheon, Tokyo-Narita
Lufthansa CargoFrankfurt
MasAirGuadalajara, Mérida, Mexico City, Quito, Campinas-Viracopos
Nippon Cargo AirlinesTokyo-Narita
Polar Air CargoAnchorage, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, Seoul-Incheon, Shanghai-Pudong
Singapore Airlines Cargo[84]Anchorage, Brussels, Chicago-O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth
Southern AirSeoul-Incheon
UPS AirlinesDallas/Fort Worth, Louisville
Yangtze River ExpressShanghai-Pudong

Traffic and statistics[edit]

LAX handles more "origin and destination" (i.e. not connecting) passengers than any other airport in the world.[7][85] 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.[86] It was the world's sixth-busiest airport by passenger traffic[87] and eleventh-busiest by cargo traffic,[88] 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.[89] In terms of international passengers, LAX is the second busiest in the U.S. (behind only JFK in New York City)[90] and 26th worldwide.[91] The number of aircraft operations (landings and takeoffs) has steadily increased to 603,912 in 2011, up from 575,875 in 2010.[6]

The LAX control tower and Theme Building as seen from Terminal 4
Busiest International Routes from Los Angeles (2011)[92]
RankAirportPassengersCarriersChange YoY (%)
1United Kingdom London (Heathrow), United Kingdom1,300,010Air New Zealand, American, British Airways, United, Virgin AtlanticIncrease00.1
2Japan Tokyo (Narita), Japan1,282,414ANA, American, Delta, JAL, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines, UnitedIncrease01.2
3Australia Sydney, Australia1,100,542Delta, Qantas, United, Virgin AustraliaDecrease00.3
4South Korea Seoul (Incheon), South Korea955,522Asiana, Korean Air, Thai Airways InternationalIncrease01.1
5Taiwan Taipei (Taoyuan), Taiwan905,670China Airlines, EVA AirIncrease00.7
6Canada Vancouver, Canada804,000Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, United, WestjetDecrease00.1
7Mexico Guadalajara, Mexico700,928Aeroméxico, Alaska Airlines, United, VolarisIncrease05.4
8Mexico Mexico City, Mexico696,657Aeroméxico, Alaska Airlines, United, VolarisIncrease07.6
9Canada Toronto (Pearson), Canada576,360Air Canada, AmericanIncrease013.5
10France Paris (Charles de Gaulle), France525,000Air France, Air Tahiti NuiIncrease01.0
Busiest Domestic Routes from Los Angeles (December 2012 – November 2013)[93]
1San Francisco, California1,611,000American, Delta, Southwest, United, Virgin America
2New York (JFK), New York1,502,000American, Delta, JetBlue, United, Virgin America
3Chicago (O'Hare), Illinois1,190,000American, Spirit, United, Virgin America
4Las Vegas, Nevada1,156,000American, Delta, Southwest, Spirit, United, Virgin America
5Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas1,119,000American, Spirit, United, Virgin America
6Honolulu, Hawaii1,033,000American, Delta, Hawaiian, United
7Denver, Colorado935,000American, Frontier, Southwest, United
8Atlanta, Georgia869,000AirTran, Delta, Southwest
9Seattle, Washington825,000Alaska, Delta, United, Virgin America
10Phoenix, Arizona789,000American, Delta, Southwest, United, US Airways
Traffic by calendar year
PassengersAircraft MovementsFreight
Source: Los Angeles World Airports [94]

Airport lounges[edit]

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.


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]

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.[95] Currently, shuttle bus "G" runs every 10–15 minutes (synched with the train schedule) from 5 am – 1:30 am. [96]

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 riders. 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[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 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".[97] 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]

The airport has the administrative offices of Los Angeles World Airports.[98]

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.[99] In 1963 Continental's headquarters moved to a two-story, $2.3 million building on the grounds of the airport.[100][101] The July 2009 Continental Magazine issue stated that the move "underlined Continental's western and Pacific orientation".[102] On July 1, 1983 the airline's headquarters were relocated to the America Tower in the Neartown area of Houston.[103]

In addition to Continental, Western Airlines and Flying Tiger Line also had their headquarters on the LAX property.[104][105]

Incidents involving LAX[edit]

During its history there have been numerous incidents, but only the most notable are summarized below:[106]









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[134] include:

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.[135]

See also[edit]


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