Los Angeles International Airport

Los Angeles International Airport
Los Angeles International Airport
LAX LA.jpg
Airport type Public
Owner City of Los Angeles
Operator Los Angeles World Airports
Serves Greater Los Angeles metropolitan area
Location Los Angeles, California, United States
Hub for
Elevation AMSL 126 ft / 38 m
Coordinates 33°56′33″N 118°24′29″W / 33.9425°N 118.40806°W / 33.9425; -118.40806Coordinates: 33°56′33″N 118°24′29″W / 33.9425°N 118.40806°W / 33.9425; -118.40806
Website www.lawa.org
FAA airport diagram
LAX is located in Los Angeles Metropolitan Area
Location within the Los Angeles metropolitan area
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
Number Length Surface
ft m
H3 63 19 Concrete
Passengers (2010) 58,915,100
Aircraft operations (2009) 634,383
Source: Federal Aviation Administration[2]

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 (el-ay-ex). LAX is located in southwestern Los Angeles in the neighborhood of Westchester, 16 miles (26 km) from the downtown core and is the primary airport of Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), an agency of the Los Angeles city government formerly known as the Department of Airports.

In 2010, LAX was the sixth busiest airport in the world, with 58,915,100 passengers.[3] In 2009, LAX was the fifth busiest airport in the world by traffic movement, with 634,383 total aircraft takeoffs and landings.

LAX is the busiest airport in California in terms of flight operations, passenger traffic and air cargo activity. Although LAX is the busiest airport in the Greater Los Angeles Area, the region relies on a multiple-airport system because of its sprawl. Many of the area's most well-known attractions are closer to alternative airports than to LAX; for example, Hollywood and Griffith Park are closer to Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, while Disneyland, the Honda Center, Angel Stadium of Anaheim, and other Orange County attractions are closer to John Wayne Airport near Santa Ana. Long Beach Airport is closer to some of the coastal attractions known to Southern California like Palos Verdes and Huntington Beach, and LA/Ontario International Airport is closer to the major cities of the Inland Empire, Riverside and San Bernardino.[citation needed]

The airport occupies some 3,500 acres (5 sq mi; 1,416 ha)[2] of the city on the Pacific coast, about 15 miles (24 km) southwest of downtown Los Angeles. The airport's coastal location renders it liable to low-lying cloud or fog conditions, requiring flights to be occasionally diverted to LA/Ontario International Airport, 47 miles (76 km) to the east.



Los Angeles Municipal Airport on Army Day, circa 1931
Hangar No. 1 was the first structure at LAX, built in 1929, restored in 1990 and remaining in active use.[4]
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 as the site of 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.[5] The first structure, Hangar No. 1, was erected in 1929 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[6]

Mines Field was dedicated and opened as the official airport of Los Angeles in 1930, and the city purchased it to be a municipal airfield in 1937. The name was officially changed to Los Angeles Airport in 1941, and to Los Angeles International Airport in 1949.[7] The main airline airports for Los Angeles had been Burbank Airport (then known as Union Air Terminal, and later Lockheed) and the Grand Central Airport in Glendale. By 1940 most airlines served Burbank only; in late 1946 most airline flights moved to LAX, but Burbank always retained a few.[8]

Mines Field did not extend west of Sepulveda Boulevard (backwards 1939 aerial view); 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. (Aerial view looking south) 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.[7]

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. [1]

The April 1957 Official Airline Guide showed 66 weekday departures on United Airlines, 32 American Airlines, 32 Western Airlines, 27 TWA, 9 Southwest, 5 Bonanza Air Lines and 3 Mexicana Airlines; also 22 flights a week on Pan American World Airways and 5 a week on Scandinavian Airlines (the only direct flights to Europe).

In 1958 the architecture firm Pereira & Luckman was contracted to design a master plan for the complete re-design of the airport in anticipation of the "jet age." The plan, developed along with architects Welton Becket and Paul Williams, called for a massive series of terminals and parking structures to be built 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 shortly thereafter the Theme Building was constructed on the site originally intended for the dome.

The distinctive white "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 cultural and historical 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.[9] Tourists and passengers 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 June 10, 2010.[10]

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.[7] All terminals were originally satellite buildings out in the middle of the tarmac, reached by underground tunnels from the ticketing area.[11]

In 1981 the airport began a $700 million expansion in preparation for the 1984 Summer Olympics. To streamline traffic flow and ease congestion the U-shaped roadway leading to the terminal entrances was given a second level, with the lower level for arriving passengers and the upper level for departing. Connector buildings between the ticketing areas and the satellite buildings were added, changing the gate layout to a "pier" design and completely enclosing the facilities. Two new terminals (Terminal 1 and the International Terminal) were constructed and Terminal 2, then two decades old, was rebuilt. Multi-story parking structures were also built in the center of the airport.[7]

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 was opened on June 11, 1984, and named in Bradley's honor.[7]

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

The airport was closed again on January 17, 1994 due to the Northridge earthquake.

In 1996 a $29 million, 277-foot-tall (84 m) air traffic control tower was built near the Theme Building. Its overhanging awnings make it vaguely resemble a palm tree.[7]

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 additional 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 "LAX" letters provide a gateway to the airport and offer a welcoming landmark for visitors.[12] 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.[13]

At various times LAX has been a hub for TWA, Air California, 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 can use an airport; however, in December 2005 the city agreed to limit their construction of passengers gates to 163. Once passenger usage hits 75 million, a maximum of two gates a year for up to five years will be closed, which theoretically will limit maximum 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.[14]

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 include installing new paging, air conditioning and electrical systems, along with new elevators, escalators, baggage carousels, and a digital sign that will automatically update flight information. Also a large explosives-detection machine will be incorporated into the terminal's underground baggage system, and the federal government will fund part of the system.

According to the Los Angeles Times, in February 2007, many airlines flying outside of the United States have reduced flights to LAX and moved to other airports, such as San Francisco International Airport and McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada, due to outdated terminals. Airlines flying out of the Tom Bradley International Terminal have reduced flights because the International Terminal is 22 years old and has not been upgraded.[15]

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 A380.[16] Adding the first new gates built since the early 1980s, the new structure is to be built directly west of the Tom Bradley International Terminal on a site that is occupied mostly by aircraft hangars, with passengers to be ferried to the building by a people mover extending from the terminal.[16] It is expected to be completed in 2012.

On March 19, 2007 the Airbus A380 made its debut at LAX, landing on runway 24L. City officials fought for the super-jumbo jet to land at LAX, in addition to making its US debut in New York's JFK airport.[17]

On March 31, 2008 the Los Angeles Times reported that international airlines were once again flocking to LAX's Tom Bradley International Terminal and have added or are announced several flights to a variety of existing and new destinations. The weaker dollar caused a surge in demand for US travel, and among the new airlines at LAX are V Australia and Emirates Airlines. In addition, Korean Airlines, Qantas, Air China, and Air France are all adding new routes, and Brazilian carriers TAM Airlines and Avianca Brazil are planning to begin service, as is a new British airline that will be offering all-business-class round-trip flights on the busy Los Angeles–London route. The influx of new flights comes amidst the renovation of the airport and underscores LAX's status as the international gateway of the US West Coast.[18]

New services were launched or reinstated in 2011 that further enhanced LAX's status as the premiere international gateway to the Western United States. In March of this year, nonstop service to Istanbul's Ataturk International Airport was inaugurated by Turkish Airlines, providing the first nonstop service on the route, while Iberia Airlines reinstated nonstop Los Angeles-Madrid flights as part of its inclusion in the Oneworld alliance.

Qantas launched service with the Airbus A380 on October 20, 2008, using the west side remote gates. The select day service goes to and from Melbourne and Sydney to Los Angeles and now can be found boarding and de-boarding daily at the International Terminal. Effective in July 2011, Singapore Airlines began service with the Airbus A380 on a Singapore-Tokyo-Los Angeles routing, followed shortly by Korean Airlines, which initiated nonstop Seoul-Los Angeles service with the Airbus A380 in October 2011. In addition, Air France has announced its intent to launch A380 service from Paris Charles de Gaulle to Los Angeles in May 2012. With the addition of these services, LAX boasts five scheduled flights on the Airbus A380 thus far.

Today, the airport is a major hub for United Airlines, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines,[19] and Great Lakes Airlines and a focus city for Southwest Airlines, Allegiant Air, Air New Zealand, Qantas, and Virgin America. It also serves as an international gateway for Delta Air Lines. Following United's merger with Continental Airlines, the airport will be the seventh largest hub for United.

The "X" in LAX

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 circa 1947, and "LA" became "LAX." The letter "X" has no specific meaning in this identifier.[20] "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

LAX is a famous location for commercial aircraft spotting, most notably at the "Imperial Hill" area (also known as Clutter's Park) in El Segundo from which nearly the entire South Complex of the airport can be viewed. Another spotting location sits under the final approach for runways 24 L&R on a small lawn next to the Westchester In-N-Out Burger restaurant, and 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 flightpath.[21]


LAX 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.[22] It is the world's sixth-busiest airport by passenger traffic[23] and eleventh-busiest by cargo traffic,[24] 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.[25] In terms of international passengers, LAX is the second busiest in the U.S. (behind only JFK in New York City)[26] and 26th worldwide.[27] The airport also claims to be "the world's busiest origin and destination (O & D) airport"[28] — i.e., the busiest airport as measured by the number of passengers who are not changing planes.

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%), Alaska Airlines (4.74%), and Continental Airlines (3.76%).[29]

The LAX control tower and Theme Building as seen from Terminal 4

LAX has nine passenger terminals arranged in a "U," also called a "horseshoe." The terminals are served by a shuttle bus.

United Airlines/United Express operates the most departures from the airport per day (210), followed by American Airlines/ American Eagle (126), and Southwest Airlines (123).[29]

United Airlines operates to the most destinations followed by American Airlines and Alaska Airlines/Horizon. The largest international carriers at LAX include Qantas, Air New Zealand, Air Canada, Air France, Lufthansa, British Airways, and Korean Air.

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. Continental Airlines[citation needed] and Qantas[30] each have maintenance facilities at LAX although neither carrier operates a hub there.

Terminal 1

Terminal 1 has 15 gates: 1–3, 4A–4B, 5–14 and houses Southwest Airlines, US Airways, and US Airways Express. Terminal 1 was built in 1984 and was occupied by Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA), AirCal, Muse Air, and USAir. It is the largest of all the terminals in terms of number of gates, and busiest terminal for regional flights. During the summer of 2011, Southwest Airlines and US Airways will offer a combined total of 135 daily departures from the facility.

Terminal 2

Terminal 2 has 11 gates: 21–21B, 22–22B, 23, 24–24B, 25–28. It hosts most foreign airlines not using the Tom Bradley international Terminal along with a couple domestic airlines: Aeromexico, Air Canada, Air China, Air France/KLM, Air New Zealand, Alitalia, Hawaiian Airlines, Sun Country Airlines, TACA/Lacsa, Virgin Atlantic, Volaris and WestJet.

Terminal 2 was built in 1962 and was the original international terminal. It was completely torn down and rebuilt in 1984. Terminal 2 has CBP (Customs and Border Protection) facilities to process arriving international passengers. For many years, it housed Northwest Airlines until services moved to Terminal 5 in 2009 during that airline's merger with Delta Air Lines.

Note: Some TACA/LACSA arrivals are processed at the Tom Bradley International Terminal.

Terminal 3

Terminal 3 has 12 gates: 30, 31A–31B, 32, 33A–33B, 34–36, 37A–37B and 38 (gate 39 was removed to make room for V Australia 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 October 2010, AirTran Airways, Alaska Airlines and its subsidiary Horizon Airlines, JetBlue, V Australia and Virgin America are the primary tenants of Terminal 3. Alaska Airlines plans to move from Terminal 3 to Terminal 6 in late-2011 and is expected to begin operations there in early-2012.[31]

Note: Alaska Airlines international arrivals from airports without United States border preclearance are processed at the Tom Bradley International Terminal. Virgin America uses Terminal 2 for arrivals from Cancun and V Australia uses Terminal 5 for arrivals from Australia.

Terminal 4

Interior view of Terminal 4

Terminal 4 has 14 gates: 40–41, 42A–42B, 43–45 (gate 44 is for the bus to the American Eagle satellite terminal), 46A–46B, 47A–47B, 48A–48B, 49B. Terminal 4 was built in 1961 and, in 2001, was renovated at a cost of $400 million in order to improve the appearance and functionality of the facility. It is home for American Airlines, which operates its West Coast hub at the Airport, and for its subsidiary commuter carrier, American Eagle. American is the only tenant at T4, other than daily Qantas departures to Auckland and Brisbane. An international arrivals facility serving American Airlines flights was also added in the renovation in 2001. During the summer of 2011, American Airlines, American Eagle and Qantas will operate 156 departures daily from the facility.

Note: American Eagle flights operate from a remote terminal 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 2 (Gate 22A), 3 (Gate 35) and 5, because of Eagle's codesharing with Hawaiian, Alaska and Delta, respectively.

Terminal 5

Delta Boeing 757-200 at LAX in August 2003

Terminal 5 has 14 gates: 50B, 51A–51B, 52A–52B, 53A–53B, 54A–54B, 55A, 56–57, 58A, 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 re-designed, 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 June 30, 2009 as part of their merger with the airline.

Terminal 6

A Virgin America Airbus A319 at Terminal 6. In December 2008, Virgin America moved to Terminal 3.

Terminal 6 has 14 gates: 60–61, 62–62A, 63–66, 67A–67B, 68A–68B, 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 built and owns the Connector Building (which links the Ticketing and rotunda buildings), and leases much of the space in the Ticketing Building. Continental in turn leases some of its Connector gates to Delta, supplementing its base at Terminal 5. United leases space from the Airport in Terminal 6, in addition to its base at Terminal 7. Most of the rotunda gates can feed arriving passengers into a sterile corridor that shunts them to Terminal 7's customs and immigration facility. Other airlines, such as Frontier and Spirit, lease space and operate at Terminal 6 under a monthly tariff agreement. Also, one foreign-flag airline, Copa, departs from Terminal 6.

Alaska Airlines in April 2011 agreed to a deal with Los Angeles World Airports to renovate Terminal 6. The airline will move its flights to Terminal 6, and eight other carriers currently operating from the terminal will be relocated.[32]

Terminal 7

Terminal 7 has 11 gates: 70A–70B, 71A–71B, 72–74, 75A–75B, 76–77. 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 $200 million and was designed by HNTB. Added were new gate podiums, increased size of gate areas, relocated concessions, expanded restrooms, new flooring and new sigange[33]. Also, the roof of the terminal was raised and new, brighter light fixtures were added in order to provide more overall lighting[34]. The terminal also contains a United Club and International First Class Lounge.

Terminal 8

Terminal 8 has 9 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 (TBIT)

Tom Bradley International Terminal in the early morning
Check-in counters in the Tom Bradley International Terminal

The Tom Bradley International Terminal 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 not in Terminal 2 including Turkish Airlines, British Airways, Lufthansa and Swiss International Air Lines, and all major Asian airlines, with the exception of Air China.

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. There are 34 airlines that serve the Tom Bradley International Terminal and the terminal 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 unaligned lounge (to replace the multiple airline specific lounges) and fully facelifted 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.

On February 22, 2010, construction began on the $1.5 billion Bradley West project. The project will add over 1,250,000 square feet (116,000 m2) of shops, restaurants, and passenger lounges, as well as new security screening, customs and 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 super jumbo aircraft. The timeline for the project includes phased openings beginning in early 2012, with the full Bradley West extension completed in early 2014.

Airlines and destinations

LAX handles more "origin and destination" (i.e. not connecting) passengers than any other airport in the world.[35] It is the world's fifth-busiest airport by passenger traffic[23] and eleventh-busiest by cargo traffic,[24] 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.[25] In terms of international passengers, LAX is the third-busiest in the U.S. (behind only New York-JFK and Miami International Airport) and 26th worldwide.[27]

United Airlines/United Express operates 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. Qantas operates the most trans-Pacific destinations (4), with nonstop service to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Auckland. Lufthansa serves the most destinations in Europe, while Alaska Airlines serve the most destinations in Latin America.

Airlines Destinations Terminal
Aeroflot Moscow-Sheremetyevo TBIT
Aeroméxico Guadalajara, Mexico City 2
Aeroméxico Connect Hermosillo, Leon/El Bajio
Seasonal: Culiacán
Air Berlin Berlin-Brandenburg [begins June 3, 2012], Berlin-Tegel [begins May 11, 2012; ends June 2, 2012]
Seasonal: Düsseldorf
Air Canada Calgary, Montréal-Trudeau, Toronto-Pearson, Vancouver 2
Air China Beijing-Capital 2
Air FranceB Papeete, Paris-Charles de Gaulle 2
Air New Zealand Auckland, London-Heathrow, Rarotonga 2
Air Pacific Nadi TBIT
Air Tahiti Nui Papeete, Paris-Charles de Gaulle TBIT
AirTran Airways Atlanta, Baltimore, Milwaukee 3
Alaska Airlines Guadalajara, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, Manzanillo, Mazatlán, Mexico City, Portland (OR), Puerto Vallarta, San José del Cabo, Seattle/Tacoma, Vancouver, Washington-Reagan
Seasonal: Anchorage
Alaska Airlines operated by Horizon Air La Paz, Loreto, Mammoth Lakes, Medford, San Jose (CA), Santa Rosa, Seattle/Tacoma
Seasonal: Sun Valley
Alitalia Seasonal: Rome-Fiumicino 2
All Nippon Airways Tokyo-Haneda, Tokyo-Narita TBIT
Allegiant Air Bellingham, Billings, Des Moines, Eugene, Fargo, Fayetteville (AR), Grand Junction, Idaho Falls, Medford, Missoula, Pasco, Sioux Falls, Springfield (MO), Wichita [ends January 7, 2012] 6
American Airlines Austin, Boston, Chicago-O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Fort Lauderdale, Honolulu, Kahului, Kona, Las Vegas, Lihue, London-Heathrow, Miami, Nashville, New York–JFK, Newark, Orlando, St. Louis, San Francisco, San José del Cabo, San Juan, Shanghai-Pudong, Tokyo-Narita, Toronto-Pearson, Washington-Dulles 4
American Eagle Albuquerque, Boise, Denver, El Paso, Fresno, Houston-Intercontinental, Monterey, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, Reno/Tahoe, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Jose (CA), Santa Barbara, Santa Fe, Tucson
Seasonal: Aspen [begins December 15]
Arkefly Seasonal: Amsterdam [begins June 7, 2012][37] TBD
Asiana Airlines Seoul-Incheon TBIT
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
Continental Airlines Cleveland, Guadalajara, Hilo, Honolulu, Houston-Intercontinental, León/El Bajío, Newark
Charter: Havana
Continental Express operated by ExpressJet Airlines Durango [begins March 11, 2012] 6
Copa Airlines Panama City 6
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, Detroit, Guatemala City, Honolulu, Indianapolis, Kahului, Kona, Las Vegas, Lihue, Memphis, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New Orleans, New York–JFK, Orlando, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, Sydney, Tampa, Tokyo-Haneda, Tokyo-Narita
Seasonal: Cancún, Columbus (OH), Managua, Puerto Vallarta, Raleigh/Durham
Delta Connection operated by Compass Airlines Kansas City 5
Delta Connection operated by SkyWest Airlines Denver [begins June 7, 2012], Las Vegas, Oakland, Phoenix, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco 5
El Al Tel Aviv TBIT
Emirates Dubai TBIT
EVA Air Taipei-Taoyuan TBIT
Frontier Airlines Denver, Kansas City 6
Frontier Airlines operated by Republic Airlines Denver, Kansas City 6
Great Lakes Airlines Farmington, Merced, Prescott, Visalia[1] 6
Hawaiian Airlines Honolulu 2
Iberia Madrid TBIT
Japan Airlines Tokyo-Narita TBIT
JetBlue Airways Boston, Fort Lauderdale, New York–JFK 3
KLM Amsterdam 2
Korean Air São Paulo-Guarulhos, Seoul-Incheon, Tokyo-Narita TBIT
LAN Airlines Lima, Santiago de Chile TBIT
LAN Perú Lima TBIT
Lufthansa Frankfurt, Munich TBIT
Malaysia Airlines Kuala Lumpur, Taipei-Taoyuan TBIT
Philippine Airlines Manila TBIT
Qantas Auckland, Brisbane 4
QantasA Melbourne, Sydney TBIT
Singapore Airlines Singapore, Tokyo-Narita TBIT
Southwest Airlines Albuquerque, Austin, Baltimore, Chicago-Midway, Denver, El Paso, Houston-Hobby, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Nashville, New Orleans, Oakland, Phoenix, Reno/Tahoe, Sacramento, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Francisco, San Jose (CA), Tucson 1
Spirit Airlines Chicago O'Hare, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas 6
Sun Country Airlines Minneapolis/St. Paul 2
Swiss International Air Lines Zürich TBIT
TACA Airlines San Salvador 2
TACA Airlines operated by Lacsa Guatemala City, San José de Costa Rica, San Salvador 2
Thai Airways International Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi TBIT
Turkish Airlines Istanbul-Atatürk TBIT
United Airlines Baltimore, Boston, Cancún, Chicago-O'Hare, Denver, Honolulu, Kahului, Kona, Las Vegas, Lihue, London-Heathrow, Melbourne, Mexico City, New Orleans, New York–JFK, Orlando, Pittsburgh, Puerto Vallarta, San Francisco, San José del Cabo, Shanghai-Pudong, Sydney, Tokyo-Narita, Washington-Dulles 6,7,8
United Express operated by SkyWest Airlines Albuquerque, Austin, Bakersfield, Boise, Carlsbad, Colorado Springs, Dallas/Fort Worth, El Paso, Fresno, Imperial, Inyokern, Las Vegas, 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, St. George, Tucson, Tulsa, Vancouver, Yuma
Seasonal: Aspen, Bozeman, Jackson Hole, Montrose
US Airways Charlotte, Las Vegas [ends November 29],[38] Philadelphia, Phoenix 1
US Airways Express operated by Mesa Airlines Las Vegas [ends November 29], Phoenix 1
Virgin America Boston, Cancún, Chicago-O'Hare,[39] Dallas/Fort Worth, Fort Lauderdale, New York-JFK, Orlando, San Francisco, Seattle/Tacoma, Washington-Dulles 3
Virgin Atlantic Airways London-Heathrow 2
Virgin Australia operated by V Australia Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney 3
Volaris Aguascalientes, Guadalajara, Mexico City, Morelia, Zacatecas 2
WestJet Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver 2

A:^ Qantas flights to/from New York–JFK are only for non-domestic, connecting traffic.

B:^ Effective May 28, 2012, Air France will operate the Airbus A380 to Paris-CDG. However, the A380 service will operate out of the Tom Bradley International Terminal while the Boeing 777 flights will continue to operate out of Terminal 2.

Scheduled cargo services

Airlines Destinations
ABX Air Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, Guadalajara, Mexico City, Portland (OR), San Francisco, San José de Costa Rica, Seattle/Boeing Field
AeroUnion Guadalajara, Mexico-City
Air China Cargo Beijing-Capital
Air Transport International Toledo
Ameriflight Phoenix, Tucson
Asiana Cargo Seoul-Incheon
Atlas Air Guam, Fairbanks
Cargolux Calgary, Glasgow-Prestwick, Luxembourg
Cathay Pacific Cargo Hong Kong, Vancouver
China Cargo Airlines Shanghai-Pudong
China Southern Cargo Shanghai-Pudong
EVA Air Cargo Taipei-Taoyuan
FedEx Express Burbank, Fort Worth/Alliance, Honolulu, Indianapolis, Memphis, Newark, Oakland, San Diego, Sydney
Florida West International Airways Bogotá
Kalitta Air Honolulu
Korean Air Cargo Seoul-Incheon, Tokyo-Narita
Lufthansa Cargo Frankfurt
MasAir Guadalajara, Merida, Mexico-City, Quito, São Paulo-Viracopos
Nippon Cargo Airlines Tokyo-Narita
Polar Air Cargo Anchorage, Seoul-Incheon, Shanghai-Pudong, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky
Shanghai Airlines Cargo Shanghai-Pudong
Singapore Airlines Cargo Amsterdam, Hong Kong
Southern Air Seoul-Incheon
UPS Airlines Dallas/Fort Worth, Louisville
World Airways Baltimore, San Francisco, Seoul-Incheon
Yangtze River Express Shanghai-Pudong

Traffic and statistics

Busiest International Routes from Los Angeles (2009–2010) [40]
Rank Airport Passengers Carriers
1 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg London (Heathrow), United Kingdom 1,387,535 Air New Zealand, American, British Airways, United, Virgin Atlantic
2 Flag of Japan.svg Tokyo (Narita), Japan 1,227,464 All Nippon Airways, American, Delta, JAL, Korean Air, Singapore Airlines, United
3 Flag of Australia.svg Sydney, Australia 998,678 Qantas, Delta, United, V Australia
4 Flag of the Republic of China.svg Taipei (Taoyuan), Taiwan 947,535 China Airlines, EVA Air, Malaysia Airlines
5 Flag of South Korea.svg Seoul (Incheon), South Korea 896,389 Asiana Airlines, Korean Air
6 Flag of Mexico.svg Guadalajara, Mexico 769,254 Aeroméxico, Alaska Airlines, Continental, Delta, Volaris
7 Flag of Canada.svg Vancouver, Canada 686,731 Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, United, WestJet
8 Flag of Mexico.svg Mexico City, Mexico 647,745 Aeroméxico, Alaska Airlines, United
9 Flag of France.svg Paris (Charles de Gaulle), France 552,709 Air France, Air Tahiti Nui
10 Flag of New Zealand.svg Auckland, New Zealand 528,625 Air New Zealand, Qantas
11 Flag of Hong Kong.svg Hong Kong 457,190 Cathay Pacific
12 Flag of Mexico.svg San José del Cabo, Mexico 417,497 Alaska Airlines, American, United
13 Flag of Canada.svg Toronto (Pearson), Canada 337,692 Air Canada, American
14 Flag of El Salvador.svg San Salvador, El Salvador 325,186 American, TACA Airlines
15 Flag of French Polynesia.svg Papeete, French Polynesia 307,267 Air France, Air Tahiti Nui
16 Flag of Germany.svg Frankfurt, Germany 303,752 Lufthansa
17 Flag of Australia.svg Brisbane, Australia 275,651 Qantas, V Australia
18 Flag of Australia.svg Melbourne, Australia 240,225 Qantas, United, V Australia
19 Flag of the Netherlands.svg Amsterdam, the Netherlands 205,874 KLM
20 Flag of Mexico.svg Puerto Vallarta, Mexico 205,648 Alaska Airlines, Delta, United
Busiest Domestic Routes from Los Angeles (August 2010 - July 2011) [41]
Rank Airport Passengers Carriers
1 California San Francisco, California 1,569,000 American, Delta, Southwest, United, Virgin America
2 New York New York (JFK), New York 1,515,000 American, Delta, JetBlue, United, Virgin America
3 Illinois Chicago (O'Hare), Illinois 1,100,000 American, Spirit, United, Virgin America
4 Nevada Las Vegas, Nevada 1,000,000 American, Delta, Southwest, Spirit, United, US Airways
5 Hawaii Honolulu, Hawaii 987,000 American, Continental, Delta, Hawaiian, United
6 Texas Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas 970,000 American, United, Virgin America
7 Colorado Denver, Colorado 941,000 American, Frontier, Southwest, United
8 Georgia (U.S. state) Atlanta, Georgia 907,000 AirTran, Delta
9 Washington (state) Seattle, Washington 758,000 Alaska, United, Virgin America
10 Washington, D.C. Washington (Dulles), D.C. 687,000 American, United, Virgin America
Traffic by calendar year
Passengers FAA Aircraft Movements Air Freight in tons Air Mail in 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
Source: Los Angeles World Airports [42]

Terminal Connections

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. Such connections can be time consuming and do normally require set minimum connections times to be considered a legal connection.

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:

  • Terminals 6, 7, and 8 are all connected airside via walking corridors allowing connecting passengers a seamless connection. The only exception applies to international-arriving passengers in Terminals 6/7 who are making connections. International arrivals still need to exit through customs, then re-clear through security to have access to the departures area.
  • 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.[43]

Airport lounges

  • Terminal 1 (US Airways Club)
  • Terminal 2 (Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, Air New Zealand Koru Club, Hawaiian Airlines Premier Club, Air France Club)
  • Terminal 3 (Alaska Airlines Board Room)
  • Terminal 4 (American Airlines Admiral's Club, American Airlines Flagship Lounge, Qantas Club)
  • Terminal 5 (Delta Air Lines Sky Club)
  • Terminal 6 (Continental Airlines Presidents Club)
  • Terminal 7 (United Airlines International First Class Lounge, United Airlines Red Carpet Club)
  • TBIT (Star Alliance Lounge, SkyTeam Lounge, Oneworld Lounge, reLAX Lounge)

Ground transportation

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

LAX can be reached primarily using the Century Boulevard exit (and several more northern exits) on Interstate 405, or the Sepulveda Boulevard (State Route 1) exit on Interstate 105.


Out of a number of bus systems, many routes (local, rapid and express) of the LACMTA, Line 8 of Torrance Transit, Line 109 of Beach Cities Transit, and the regular as well as the rapid buses of both the Santa Monica Big Blue Bus system's Line 3 and the Culver CityBus's Line 6 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

Flyaway bus in service.

The FlyAway Bus is a shuttle service run by the LAWA, which travels between one of four off-airport areas: San Fernando Valley (Van Nuys), downtown Los Angeles (Union Station), the Westside (Westwood) and Orange County (Irvine). 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.


Shuttle bus "G" offers a free connection to the Aviation/LAX station on the Metro Green Line. The line was originally intended to connect directly to the airport, but budgetary restraints and opposition from local long-term parking lot owners impeded its progress. A Metro Rail extension to LAX is a part of both LAX and Metro's master plans. Shuttle bus "G" runs every 10–15 minutes (synched with the train schedule) from 5am–1:30am. [44]

Taxis and private shuttles

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

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 4 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

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".[45] 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, and others.

Other facilities

The airport has the administrative offices of Los Angeles World Airports.[46]

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.[47] In 1963 Continental's headquarters moved to a two story, $2.3 million building on the grounds of the airport.[48][49] The July 2009 Continental Magazine issue stated that the move "underlined Continental's western and Pacific orientation."[50] On July 1, 1983 the airline's headquarters were relocated to the America Tower in the Neartown area of Houston.[51]

In addition to Continental, Western Airlines and Flying Tiger Line also had their headquarters on the LAX property.[52][53]

Incidents involving LAX

During its history there have been numerous incidents, but only the most notable are summarized below:[54]


  • 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.[55] 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 Frenchman, 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.[56]


  • On June 1, 1940, the first Douglas R3D-1 for the U.S. Navy, BuNo 1901, c/n 606, crashed at Mines Field, before delivery. The Navy later acquired the privately-owned DC-5 prototype, c/n 411, from William E. Boeing as a replacement.[57]
  • On November 20, 1940, the prototype NA-73X Mustang, NX19998,[58] first flown October 26, 1940, by test pilot Vance Breese, crashed this date.[59] 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.[60]
  • On October 26, 1944, WASP pilot Gertrude Tompkins Silver of the 601st Ferry Squadron, 5th Ferry Group, Love Field, Dallas, Texas, departed Los Angeles Airport, in P-51D-15-NA Mustang, 44-15669,[61] 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.[62]


  • On the morning of June 30, 1956, United Airlines Flight 718, a Douglas DC-7, and TWA Flight 2, a Lockheed Super Constellation, departed LAX within three minutes of each other on eastbound transcontinental flights. The two propeller-driven airliners subsequently collided over the Grand Canyon in Arizona while both were flying in unmonitored airspace, killing all 58 people aboard Flight 718 and 70 people aboard Flight 2.


  • 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 p.m. local time. The aircraft was destroyed, resulting in the loss of all 32 passengers and six crewmembers aboard.


  • 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.[63]
  • On March 1, 1978, two tires burst in succession on a Continental Airlines McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10 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 morning of September 25, 1978, Pacific Southwest Airlines Flight 182, which was on a Sacramento-Los Angeles International Airport-Lindbergh Field, San Diego route, collided in midair with a Cessna 172 while descending for a landing at Lindbergh Field; both planes crashed in San Diego's North Park district, killing all 135 on board the PSA jetliner, both occupants of the Cessna aircraft, and seven people on the ground.
  • On January 30, 1979, a Varig cargo Boeing 707-323C registration PP-VLU en route from Tokyo-Narita to Rio de Janeiro-Galeão via Los Angeles went missing over the Pacific Ocean some 30 minutes (200 km ENE) from Tokyo. Causes are unknown since the wreck was never found. Among other cargo, the aircraft was carrying 153 paintings by the Japanese Brazilian artist Manabu Mabe, worth USD 1.24 million. The aircraft was flown by Gilberto Araújo da Silva, who was also the captain and survivor of the accident with Flight 820 six years earlier. The crew of 6 died and their bodies were never recovered.[64]
  • On the evening of March 10, 1979, Swift Aire Flight 235, a twin-engine Aerospatiale Nord 262A-33 turboprop enroute 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.
  • On May 25, 1979, American Airlines Flight 191 crashed upon takeoff from O'Hare International Airport in Chicago to Los Angeles, killing all 271 people on board and two people on the ground. The crash remains the deadliest single-aircraft crash in United States history, and the worst aviation disaster in the nation before 9/11.[65]


  • 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 64 passengers and crew aboard the Aeroméxico flight were killed, in addition to 15 on the ground. 5 homes were destroyed and an additional 7 were damaged by the crash and resulting fire. The three occupants of the Piper were killed immediately when the two planes collided; their aircraft went down in a nearby schoolyard and caused no further injuries on the ground. As a result of this incident, FAA required all commercial aircraft to be equipped with Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS).
  • On December 7, 1987, Pacific Southwest Airlines PSA Flight 1771, bound from LAX to San Francisco International Airport, was cruising above the central California coast when a USAir employee aboard the plane shot his ex-supervisor, both pilots and then himself, causing the airplane to crash near the town of Cayucos. All 43 aboard perished. Following this event, airline staff and crew were no longer allowed to bypass security checks at U.S. airports.


  • On February 1, 1991, USAir Flight 1493, a Boeing 737-300, landing on Runway 24L at LAX, collided on touchdown with a SkyWest Airlines Fairchild Metroliner, Flight 5569 departing to Palmdale, 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.
  • On April 6, 1993: China Eastern Airlines Flight 583 went into severe oscillations during flight. The aircraft made an emergency landing in Alaska. Two of the passengers ultimately died.[66]


  • 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.[67][68] He had planned to leave one or two suitcases filled with explosives in an LAX passenger waiting area.[69][70] He was initially sentenced to 22 years in prison, but in February 2010 an appellate court ordered that his sentence be extended.[71]
  • 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.[72]
  • Three of the four planes used on the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks were originally headed for Los Angeles. American Airlines Flight 11, and United Airlines Flight 175, which were both from Logan International Airport, in Boston, Massachusetts and crashed into the World Trade Center towers, and American Airlines Flight 77 was from Washington Dulles International Airport, in Dulles, Virginia, which crashed into the Pentagon.
  • In the 2002 Los Angeles Airport shooting of July 4, 2002, Hesham Mohamed Hadayet killed 2 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,[73] one of the few on U.S. soil since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The attack was similar to the Rome and Vienna Airport Attacks.
  • On September 21, 2005, a JetBlue Airbus A320 (JetBlue Airways Flight 292) 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.[74][75]
  • 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.[76]
  • 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.[77] 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.[78]

Planned modernization

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 [79] 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

  • In 2004 NBC debuted a drama series titled LAX about airport management which ran 13 episodes total.
  • The music video of Backstreet Boys' I Want It That Way was filmed and is set mostly at the airport. The Tom Bradley International Terminal is seen in shots and also appears as the band sings and dances to the chorus. The scene where they are greeted by fans was filmed in one of the hangars of LAX. The plane in the video is a Boeing 727.
  • Susan Raye, who has been retired from the music industry since 1986, made a rare public appearance to sing her classic hit at a concert at the celebration and to be on hand when a proclamation was issued to make the song the official song of LAX.
  • Los Angeles Rapper Game had a 2008 album titled LAX.
  • In the final season premiere of Lost, notably titled LA X, the alternate timeline sequences are mostly set in LAX, which was the intended destination of Oceanic Airlines Flight 815.
  • LAX appears as a playable level in Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow, where a smallpox virus, released by main antagonist, Norman Soth, is supposed to kill thousands of people.
  • Appears in various episodes of the A-Team TV series.
  • Several scenes of the 1985 Arnold Schwarzenegger motion picture Commando were filmed at the Tom Bradley International Terminal, on the airfield, and in an LAX parking deck.
  • The iconic opening credit sequence to 1967's The Graduate were filmed in an LAX concourse connection tunnel.
  • The LAX Theme Building influenced the stage set up for the U2 360 Tour.
  • The 2004/2005 video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas featured and parodied the airport as Los Santos International Airport or LSX and was commonly called as Los Santos International. The theme building, light towers, and the control tower of LAX were also featured.
  • The Theme Building was also featured in the 2005 videogame, Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories at Francis International Airport.
  • In the game Destroy All Humans, a majestic base appears to be similar to LAX.

See also


  1. ^ a b http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/transportation/8974-visalia-to-access-flights-to-lax-las-vegas
  2. ^ a b FAA Airport Master Record for LAX (A&fn=LAX Form 5010 PDF). Retrieved March 15, 2007.
  3. ^ World's busiest airports by passenger traffic
  4. ^ "Aviation Facilities Company, Inc. :: Properties :: LAX". Afcoinc.com. http://www.afcoinc.com/properties-lax.html. Retrieved 2010-12-06. 
  5. ^ "LAX Early History". Los Angeles World Airports. http://www.lawa.org/welcome_lax.aspx?id=1108. Retrieved 2011-10-25. 
  6. ^ "LAX - Airport Information - General Description - Just the Facts". Lawa.org. http://www.lawa.org/welcome_LAX.aspx?id=44. Retrieved 2010-12-06. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f "Search history". Los Angeles World Airports. http://www.lawa.org/lax/LAXSearchHistory.cfm. Retrieved 2008-03-21. [dead link]
  8. ^ Official Guide of the Airways 7/40 and American Aviation Air Traffic Guide 1/46, 12/46 and 6/47
  9. ^ Eddie Sotto (2001-08-06). Encounter at the Theme Building. Interview with Marc Borrelli. LaughingPlace.com. http://www.laughingplace.com/News-PID503190-503190.asp. Retrieved 2008-02-25. 
  10. ^ "Iconic LAX Theme Building ready for its close-up". KPCC. July 2, 1010. http://www.scpr.org/news/2010/07/02/iconic-lax-theme-building-ready-its-close-/. Retrieved July 2, 1010. 
  11. ^ Nelson, Valerie J. (November 25, 2007). "Charles D. Kratka, 85; designer, artist created mosaic tunnel walls at LAX". Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/2007/nov/25/local/me-kratka25. Retrieved August 25, 2010. 
  12. ^ "SEGD - LAX Gateway". http://www.segd.org/design-awards/2001-design-awards/lax-gateway.html. Retrieved 2011-10-25. 
  13. ^ "Story About the Kinetic Light Installation at the Los Angeles International Airport". SeeTheGlobe.com. 2007-10-20. http://www.seetheglobe.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=1037. Retrieved 2009-07-31. 
  14. ^ "Deal Cut to Halt Los Angeles Airport Lawsuits". http://www.redorbit.com/news/technology/318661/deal_cut_to_halt_los_angeles_airport_lawsuits/. 
  15. ^ Oldham, Jennifer (2007-02-23). "LAX watches world go by; Cramped facilities push Pacific Rim carriers to newer airports". Los Angeles Times: p. A1. 
  16. ^ a b Steve Hymon, Council OKs 10 new gates at LAX, Los Angeles Times, August 16, 2007
  17. ^    (2007-03-19). "abc7.com: World's Largest Airliner Lands at LAX 3/19/07". Abclocal.go.com. http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=local&id=5132965. Retrieved 2010-12-06. 
  18. ^ Pae, Peter (March 31, 2008). "Foreign airlines flock to LAX". Los Angeles Times. http://www.latimes.com/travel/la-trw-lax31mar31,0,1064477.story. Retrieved 2010-09-26. 
  19. ^ "American Airlines Announces Cooperative Agreement with Air Berlin" (Press release). American Airlines. July 27, 2010. http://aa.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=43&item=2976. 
  20. ^ "LAX Frequently Asked Questions". Los Angeles World Airports. http://www.l-a-x.org/welcome_lax.aspx?id=1318#q23. Retrieved 2010-01-28. 
  21. ^ "Los Angeles International". aircraftspotting.net. Archived from the original on 2007-10-26. http://web.archive.org/web/20071026221722/http://www.aircraftspotting.net/airports/LAX.html. Retrieved 2008-02-24. 
  22. ^ . Federal Aviation Administration. http://www.faa.gov/airports/planning_capacity/passenger_allcargo_stats/passenger/media/cy08_primary_np_comm.pdf. Retrieved 2010-02-28 
  23. ^ a b "Passenger Traffic 2006 FINAL". Airports Council International. 2007-07-18. http://www.aci.aero/cda/aci_common/display/main/aci_content07_c.jsp?zn=aci&cp=1-5-54-55_666_2__. Retrieved 2008-02-24. 
  24. ^ a b "Cargo Traffic 2006 FINAL". Airports Council International. 2007-07-18. http://www.aci.aero/cda/aci_common/display/main/aci_content07_c.jsp?zn=aci&cp=1-5-54-4819_666_2__. Retrieved 2008-02-24. 
  25. ^ a b Passenger Traffic 2006 FINAL from Airports Council International
  26. ^ "U.S. International Travel and Transportation Trends, September 2006" (PDF). U.S. Department of Transportation, Research and Innovative Technology Administration, Bureau of Transportation Statistics. 2006. http://www.bts.gov/publications/us_international_travel_and_transportation_trends/2006/pdf/entire.pdf. Retrieved 2008-02-24. 
  27. ^ a b "Year to date International Passenger Traffic". Airports Council International. 2010-07-12. http://www.aci.aero/cda/aci_common/display/main/aci_content07_c.jsp?zn=aci&cp=1-5-212-1376-1379_666_2__. Retrieved 2010-07-23. 
  28. ^ "LAX Airport Information: General Information". Los Angeles World Airports. http://www.lawa.org/welcome_lax.aspx?id=40. Retrieved 2010-11-18. 
  29. ^ a b http://www.lawa.org/%5Cuploadedfiles%5CLAX%5Cstatistics%5Caircarrier-2008.pdf
  30. ^ "Mayor Villaraigosa Announces New Qantas Maintenance Facility at LAX". Business Wire. 2006-02-01. http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Mayor+Villaraigosa+Announces+New+Qantas+Maintenance+Facility+at+LAX;...-a0141547227. Retrieved 2008-04-03. 
  31. ^ http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Alaska-Airlines-Starts-Major-prnews-1818332888.html?x=0&.v=1
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  33. ^ http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/united-begins-200m-terminal-expansion-at-lax-228375/
  34. ^ http://web.archive.org/web/20010512114707/http://aviation.hntb.com/4d8.htm
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  36. ^ a b http://www.alaskaair.com/as/www2/flights/lax_Irregular-Operations.asp Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Operations Adjustments
  37. ^ "NIEUW! MET ARKEFLY NAAR CALIFORNIÃ [NEW! With Arkefly to California]" (in Dutch) (Press release). Travel Unie International Nederland N.V.. September 20, 2011. http://www.nieuwsbank.nl/inp/2011/09/20/B024.htm. Retrieved September 28, 2011. 
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  43. ^ http://www.qantas.com.au/travel/airlines/airport-guide-los-angeles/global/en#transfers
  44. ^ LAWA Contract Manager
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  54. ^ All incidents listed here are in the Aviation Safety Network LAX database, unless otherwise noted.
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  58. ^ Waag, Robert, "NA 73 - The Forgotten Mustang", Airpower, Granada Hills, California, November 1971, Volume 1, Number 2, p. 9.
  59. ^ Editors, "Mustang", Airpower, Granada Hills, California, July 1985, Volume 15, Number 4, p. 12.
  60. ^ Mizrahi, Joseph V., "Airmail", Wings, Granada Hills, California, December 1985, Volume 15, Number 6, p. 5.
  61. ^ October 1944 USAAF Stateside Accident Reports
  62. ^ P-51 Mustang
  63. ^ Jonathan B. Tucker (2000). Toxic Terror: Assessing Terrorist Use of Chemical and Biological Weapons. MIT Press. p. 77. ISBN 9780262700719. 
  64. ^ "Accident description PP-VLU". Aviation Safety Network. http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19790130-0. Retrieved 23 September 2011. 
  65. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10 N110AA Chicago-O'Hare International Airport, IL (ORD)". Aviation-safety.net. http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19790525-2. Retrieved 2010-12-06. 
  66. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident McDonnell Douglas MD-11 B-2171 Shemya, AK." Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on June 15, 2009.
  67. ^ U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (February 2, 2010). "U.S. v. Ressam". http://www.nefafoundation.org/miscellaneous/US_v_Ressam_9thcircuitappeals0210.pdf. Retrieved February 27, 2010. 
  68. ^ "Complaint; U.S. v. Ressam". NEFA Foundation. December 1999. http://nefafoundation.org/miscellaneous/FeaturedDocs/U.S._v_Ressam_Complaint.pdf. Retrieved February 26, 2010. 
  69. ^ "Ressam Testimony in Mokhtar Haouari Trial". Southern District of New York. July 2001. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/trail/inside/testimony.html. Retrieved February 27, 2010. 
  70. ^ "Ahmed Ressam's Millenium Plot". Frontline (PBS). http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/trail/inside/cron.html. Retrieved 28 February 2010.  [sic]
  71. ^ "'Millennium bomber' sentence overturned; feds seek longer one – CNN.com". CNN. February 2, 2010. http://www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/02/02/millennium.bomber/index.html?hpt=T2. Retrieved May 11, 2010. 
  72. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident McDonnell Douglas MD-83 N963AS Anacapa Island, California". Aviation Safety Network. 2004-07-26. http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=20000131-0. Retrieved 2008-03-13. 
  73. ^ Feldman, Charles (2008-09-05). "Federal investigators: L.A. airport shooting a terrorist act". CNN.com. http://archives.cnn.com/2002/US/09/04/lax.shooting/index.html. Retrieved 2008-03-13. 
  74. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident Airbus A320-232 N536JB Los Angeles International Airport, California". Aviation Safety Network. 2005-10-07. http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=20050921-0. Retrieved 2008-03-13. 
  75. ^ Stuart, Pfeifer; Garvey, Megan; Morin, Monte (2005-09-22). "Disabled Airliner Creates a 3-Hour Drama in Skies". Los Angeles Times: p. A1. 
  76. ^ "Third Annual Archie League Medal of Safety Award Winners: Michael Darling". NATCA. http://www.natca.org/natca/06archieleaguewinners.msp. Retrieved 2008-03-13. [dead link]
  77. ^ "NTSB incident report. NTSB identification OPS07IA009A". National Transportation Safety Board. http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/brief.asp?ev_id=20070821X01217&key=1%20. Retrieved 2008-03-13. 
  78. ^ Staff (September 2007). "Outgoing FAA Administrator Marion Blakey: LAX Must Address Runway Safety". Metro Investment Report. http://www.metroinvestmentreport.com/mir/?module=displaystory&story_id=442&format=html. 
  79. ^ "LAX Specific Plan Amendment" (PDF). http://www.lawa.org/uploadedfiles/LAX/pdf/Contractors%20roll%20out%2011-19-08.pdf. Retrieved 2010-12-06. 

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