Successful North Complex Power Shutdown Exercise Provides Valuable Insight on LAX's Power Resiliency

09/20/2018 02:30 PM

North complex shutdown exercise tested power reliability in T1, T2 and T3.
September 20, 2018

Becca Doten
(424) 646-5260
[email protected]


Participants of the planned power resiliency exercise listen as LAWA's Director of Emergency Management, Ed Bushman, provides a briefing in advance of the exercise. 

(Los Angeles, CA) Late in the evening of Tuesday, September 11, more than 300 personnel from Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), Los Angeles Airport Police Division, the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD), the Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, concessionaires, airlines, and airport partners gathered on the roof of Parking Structure 2A and at the Department Operations Center (DOC) at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to commence an overnight power exercise. The planned exercise assessed the impact a complete loss of power would have on the north terminals (Terminal 1, Terminal 2 and Terminal 3) and the resiliency of the systems in place in the case of such a power failure. The exercise, while only on the north complex, provided a real-time test of the backup generators, fire/life/safety systems, emergency communications and recovery protocols that are in place in the case of a major power failure.

“LAWA leads with commitment to planning and preparedness for numerous emergency scenarios. Understanding our current capabilities is essential to ensure the best guest experience possible under all conditions,” said Deborah Flint, CEO, LAWA. “We are strategically investing in power resiliency as part of the modernization of LAX.”

The goals of the exercise included discovering areas of vulnerability for the airport, identifying areas of the LAX terminal operations where further work was warranted and better preparing personnel and first responders for a real world event such as a natural disaster or major power failure.  The north complex was chosen because Terminal 2 is connected to a back-up generator system that is designed to power the terminal at a high level of functionality even if power to the airport is interrupted.

“The north complex shutdown exercise was a successful demonstration of our back-up power capabilities in this area of the airport, and also provided us important insights on where we can improve our systems and response plans in the case of a full power failure,” said Bob Gilbert, Chief Development Officer, LAWA. “You don’t know what you don’t know until you test a system, and this exercise has provided us with data that will help us improve our airport’s emergency response capabilities and provide us a roadmap for similar exercises in the future.” 

LAWA staff and partners monitor the resiliency of the back-up power systems. 
In a post-event briefing presented to the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners today, the exercise coordinators shared that all goals for the exercise were met, the timeline was followed and normal airport operations were not impacted by the exercise. The exercise also allowed staff to determine, in real-time, where there were operational challenges, deploy resources and quickly mitigate these challenges.

"The north complex power shutdown allowed the LAFD to work seamlessly with LAWA and our public safety partners to ensure that fire and life-safety protection systems remained operational during an important training scenario," said Nikki Brodowy, Assistant Chief, LAFD. "These successful exercises allow all stakeholders to work together towards the common goal of safety and operational readiness at the airport."

The test also provided important information to the airport on areas that need additional work or testing. For instance, circuit boards in two elevators were burned out by the power surge when the grid turned back on. Additionally, emergency lighting was inadequate in certain locations, and LAWA staff is reviewing options to add more lighting to these areas. 

Based on the success of the north complex power shutdown exercise, LAWA plans to host a second major power exercise early in the morning of Wednesday, October 31. This exercise will include a power shutdown and assessment of emergency back-up systems at Tom Bradley International Terminal.

High-resolution photos of the power shutdown exercise available upon request.

Stationed on the roof of Parking Structure 2A, LAWA staff confer with the LAFD during the north complex power shutdown exercise at LAX. 

About Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
LAX, the fifth busiest airport in the world and second in the United States, was named in Skytrax’ 2018 top 10 U.S. airports. LAX served more than 84.56 million passengers in 2017 and offers 737 daily nonstop flights to 100 cities in the U.S. and 1,386 weekly nonstop flights to 88 cities in 44 countries on 73 commercial air carriers.  LAX ranks 14th in the world and fifth in the U.S. in air cargo tonnage processed, with more than 2.2 million tons of air cargo valued at over $101.4 billion.  LAX handled 700,362 operations (landings and takeoffs) in 2017.  

An economic study based on 2014 operations reported LAX generated 620,600 jobs in Southern California with labor income of $37.3 billion and economic output (business revenues) of more than $126.6 billion. This activity added $6.2 billion to local and state revenues and $8.7 billion in federal tax revenues.  The study also reported that LAX’s ongoing capital-improvement program creates an additional 121,640 annual jobs with labor income of $7.6 billion and economic output of $20.3 billion, $966 million in state and local taxes, and $1.6 billion in federal tax revenues. 

LAX is also the second most popular airport in the world to appear on Instagram according to LAX is part of a system of two Southern California airports – along with 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. 

For more information about LAX, please visit or follow on Twitter @flyLAXAirport, on Facebook at, and on YouTube at

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