FAA Building and
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is the sixth busiest airport in the world and third busiest in the United States, offering 680 daily flights to 96 domestic cities and 930 weekly nonstop flights to 59 cities in 30 countries on 63 commercial air carriers. It ranks 14th in the world and fifth in the U.S. in air cargo tonnage processed.
In 2012, LAX served nearly 63.7 million passengers, processed more than 1.9 million tons of air cargo valued at nearly $89.6 billion, and handled 605,480 aircraft operations (landings and takeoffs).
LAX is part of a system of three Southern California airports – along with LA/Ontario International and Van Nuys general aviation – that are owned and operated by Los Angeles World Airports, a proprietary department of the City of Los Angeles that receives no funding from the City’s general fund.
A $4.11-billion capital improvement program is underway at LAX, generating nearly 40,000 local jobs. The program’s centerpiece is the $1.7-billion New Tom Bradley International Terminal Project with new gates for latest-generation aircraft; new concourses and seating areas; new retail and food-and-beverage offerings reflecting Los Angeles’ cuisine and culture; and expanded areas for more efficient passenger and checked-luggage security screening, and immigration and customs processing. There also are several major airfield and facility projects, including a replacement Central Utility Plant, new taxiways and taxi lanes, and multi-million-dollar renovations to other terminals undertaken by both LAWA and the airlines.
Originally known as Mines Field, the LAX site has been used as a general aviation field since 1928. During World War II, it was used for military flights. Commercial airline service started in December 1946. The present terminal complex was constructed in 1961. In the early 1980s, LAX added domestic and international terminals and a second-level roadway.
LAX is a dynamic airport that creates, attracts and supports economic activity throughout Southern California.
Total passenger volume for 2012 was 63,688,121, compared to 61,862,052 in 2011. International travel increased to 17,152,914 passengers in 2012, up from 16,731,324 passengers in 2011.
International flights make a substantial contribution to the economy of Southern California, adding $82.1 billion in total economic output, plus 363,700 direct and indirect jobs with annual wages of $19.3 billion in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura Counties, according to a 2007 study by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation.
Total air cargo tonnage was 1,963,211 in 2012, compared to 1,080,734 in 2011. Air freight was 1,866,432 tons, up from 1,049.257 tons in 2011. Air mail tonnage was 96,779 tons in 2012, up from 31,477 tons in 2011.
An economic impact study in 2011 reported those operations at LAX generated 294,400 jobs in Los Angeles County with labor income of $13.6 billion and an economic output of more than $39.7 billion. This activity added $2.5 billion to local and state revenues.
Central Terminal Area
The central complex features nine passenger terminals connected by a U-shaped, two-level roadway. Curbside baggage check-in is available on the Upper/Departures Level. Baggage claim and ground transportation is on the Lower/Arrivals Level. Restaurants, cocktail lounges, gift shops, newsstands, duty free shops for international flights, restrooms, public telephones, business centers, airline lounges, and other convenient services for the traveling public are located in the terminals.
Other amenities include a first-aid station in the Tom Bradley International Terminal and Interactive Visitors Centers (kiosks) with passenger information and direct telephone connections to area hotels/motels, bus/limousine services, and car rental firms serving most Southland communities. Free LAX shuttle service is provided between all terminals and Economy Lot C.
The Encounter Restaurant is located 70 feet above the ground in the center of the historic Theme Building complex. The restaurant, topped by an observation deck, features a space-age interior design. The Observation Deck offers spectacular views and is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Air Traffic Control
The 277-foot-tall air traffic control tower is uniquely designed to service LAX’s four parallel runways. Federal Aviation Administration employees control the air space above LAX and ground controllers handle their duties for each of the four runways. Clearance delivery, flight data and gate-hold positions are operated from the central position of the tower cab.
Coast Guard Facilities
The U.S. Coast Guard Air Station, the only one of its kind in the country, provides around–the-clock vigilance on search/rescue missions. Its personnel conduct maritime law enforcement on oil pollution in coastal waters. The station is located adjacent to the north runway complex.
Nearly 8,000 parking stalls are available in eight parking structures located opposite the roadways from the passenger terminals. In addition to the Central Terminal Area parking, LAX has a capacity of over 4,500 parking stalls available in Economy Parking Lot C.
Free shuttle bus service to airline terminals is provided from Lot C, located one-half mile northeast of the airport. Adjacent to Lot C is the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Bus Center, which connects public bus systems with the courtesy LAX shuttle bus service to/from the terminals provided by the airport.
Among the modes of transportation available at LAX are: airport buses, door-to-door shuttle vans, local buses, light rail, rental cars, and taxicabs. A free, frequent shuttle bus connects LAX with Metro’s Green Line Light Rail, and free shuttle buses transport passengers between airline terminals.
The LAX FlyAway® bus service provides frequent nonstop transportation between LAX and the new Exposition/La Brea Metro Rail Station, Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, the Van Nuys Bus Terminal, and Westwood/UCLA.
Services for Travelers with Disabilities and the Elderly
LAX provides many services to assist passengers or visitors with disabilities. There are extra-wide parking spaces in all parking facilities, ramp ways and elevators along the curbs, and extra-wide restroom stalls and Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD) or speech-impaired installed in all airline terminals. LAX also provides a free shuttle van equipped with a lift for wheelchairs that operates between Economy Lot C and all airline terminals. A special assistance vehicle also is available to transport passengers with disabilities or special needs between terminals and aircraft gates located on the airfield.
LAX has 1,000 cargo flights each day linking Los Angeles with the world. Its handling facilities include the 98-acre Century Cargo Complex, the 57.4-acre Imperial Complex, the Imperial Cargo Center and a number of cargo facilities on the south side of the airport. Mercury Air Cargo also operates a 12,700-square-foot refrigeration facility, considered the largest of any airport refrigeration units on the West Coast.