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Los Angeles International Airport is the primary airport serving Los Angeles, Californiamarker, the second-most populated metropolitan area of the United Statesmarker. It is often referred to by its IATA airport code LAX, with the letters usually pronounced individually (IPA: /ɛl.eɪ.ɛks/). LAX is located in southwestern Los Angeles in the neighborhood of Westchestermarker, from the downtown core.

With 59,542,151 passengers in 2009, LAX is the seventh busiest airport in the world and is served by direct flights to North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia, Oceania, and the Middle East. The airport is a major hub for both United Airlines and Alaska Airlines, a focus city for American Airlines, Southwest Airlinesmarker, Allegiant Air, Air New Zealand and Virgin America. It also serves as an international gateway for Delta Air Lines.

The airport also functions as joint civil-military facility, providing a base for the United States Coast Guard and its Coast Guard Air Station Los Angelesmarker facility, operating 4 HH-65 Dolphin helicopters.

LAX is the busiest airport in Californiamarker in terms of flight operations, passenger traffic and air cargo activity, followed by San Francisco International Airportmarker (SFO). LAX is also the only U.S. airport to serve 3 or more international destinations with ridership of 1 million passengers or more per year (Tokyo-Narita, London-Heathrow, Taipei).

Although LAX is the busiest airport in the Greater Los Angeles Area, the region relies on a multiple airport system because of its vast size. Many of the area's most well-known attractions are closer to alternative airports than to LAX; for example, Hollywoodmarker and Griffith Parkmarker are closer to Bob Hope Airportmarker in Burbankmarker, while Disneylandmarker, the Honda Centermarker, Angel Stadium of Anaheimmarker, and other Orange Countymarker attractions are closer to John Wayne Airportmarker in Orange Countymarker. Long Beach Airportmarker is closer to some of the coastal attractions known to Southern California like Palos Verdesmarker and Huntington Beach, and LA/Ontario International Airportmarker is closer to the Inland Empiremarker region's cities of Riversidemarker and San Bernardinomarker.


The airport occupies some of the city on the Pacific coast, about southwest of downtown Los Angeles. LAX is one of the most famous locations for commercial aircraft spotting, most notably at the so called "Imperial Hill" area (also known as Clutter's Park) in El Segundomarker from which nearly the entire South Complex of the airport can be viewed. Another famous spotting location sits right under the final approach for runways 24 L&R on a small grass lawn next to the Westchestermarker In-N-Out Burger restaurant, and is noted as 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. 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 Airportmarker in Ontariomarker, San Bernardino Countymarker to the east.


In 1928, the Los Angeles City Council selected in the southern part of Westchestermarker 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. The first structure, Hangar No. 1, was erected in 1929 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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 (LAX) in 1949. Prior to that time, the main airport for Los Angeles was the Grand Central Airport in Glendalemarker.

Until this time, the entire airport was located east of Sepulveda Boulevard. As the airport expanded westward to meet the Pacific Ocean, a tunnel was completed in 1953 so that Sepulveda Boulevard would pass underneath the airport's runways. It was the first tunnel of its kind.

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 fully realized, and shortly thereafter the Theme Building was constructed on the site originally intended for the dome.

The distinctive white "Theme Buildingmarker", designed by Pereira & Luckman architect Paul Williams and constructed in 1961, resembles a flying saucer that has landed on its four legs. A restaurant that provides a sweeping view of the airport is suspended beneath two intersecting 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 Imagineeringmarker, was completed before the "Encounter Restaurant" opened there in 1997. At one time, tourists and passengers were able to take the elevator up to the roof of the "Theme Building", but after the September 11 attacks, the rooftop was closed off to everyone for security reasons.

The first jet service appeared at LAX in 1959, transporting passengers between LAX and New York. The first wide-bodied jets appeared in 1970 when TWA flew Boeing 747s between LAX and New York.

In 1981, the airport began a substantial $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 dedicated to picking up arriving passengers and the upper level dedicated to dropping off departing passengers. 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.

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, International Terminal was opened on June 11, 1984 and named in Bradley's honor.

In 1996, a new 277 foot (84 m) tall air traffic control tower, with overhanging awnings that shade the windows and make the building vaguely resemble a palm tree, was constructed at a cost of $29 million.
The Theme Building decorated with light displays for the holidays
In 2000, prior to Los Angeles hosting the Democratic National Convention. fourteen acrylic glass cylinders, each up to ten stories high, were placed in a circle around the intersection of Sepulveda Boulevard and Century Boulevard, with additional cylinders of decreasing height following Century Boulevard eastward. The cylinders, lit from inside, slowly cycle through a rainbow of colors, and provide an additional landmark for visitors arriving by air at night. This was part of an overall facelift that included new signage and various other cosmetic enhancements. LAX pylons underwent improvements in 2006, as stage lighting inside the cylinders was replaced with LED lights to conserve energy, make maintenance easier and to enable on demand cycling through various color effects.

At various points in its history, LAX has been a hub for TWA, Air California, Continental, Delta, PSA, USAir, Western Airlines, and the Flying Tiger Line.

Starting in the mid-1990s under Los Angeles Mayors Richard Riordan and James Hahn modernization and expansion plans for LAX were prepared only to be stymied by a coalition spearheaded by residents who live near the airport angry at noise, pollution and traffic impacts of the existing facility. In late 2005 newly elected L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was able to reach a compromise allowing some modernization to go forward while efforts are made to encourage future growth be spread among other facilities in the region.

It is illegal 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 passengers usage hits 75 million, a maximum of 2 gates a year for up to 10 gates 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.

On July 29, 2006, Runway 7R/25L was closed for reconstruction until March 25, 2007. The reconstruction was to move the runway south to prevent runway incursions and prepare the runway for the next generation of Airbus A380. The newly moved runway also has storm drains, and enhanced runway lighting, something that the other 3 runways do not have. The reconstruction of runway 25L made way for a central taxiway in between runways 25L and 25R. The central taxiway between runways 25L and 25R 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, in which 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 Airportmarker and McCarran International Airportmarker in Las Vegas, Nevadamarker 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.

In response to the report, the $500 million Tom Bradley International Terminal project began immediately.

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

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. 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 ferried to the building by an underground people mover extending from the terminal. It is expected to be completed in 2012.

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 announcing several flights to a variety of existing and new destinations. The weak dollar has caused a surge in demand for US travel, and among the new airlines at LAX are V Australia and Emirates Airlines. In addition, Korean Air, Qantas, Air China, and Air France are all adding new routes, and Brazilian carriers TAM Airlines and OceanAir 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. Most of the new flights will start in mid to late 2008 and will raise the number of travelers to the airport to pre-9/11 levels. 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.

Qantas launched service with the Airbus A380 on October 20, 2008, using the west side remote gates. The select day service goes to/from Melbourne and Sydney to Los Angeles.

The "X" in LAX

Before the 1930s, existing airports used a two-letter abbreviation based on the weather station at the airports. So, at that time, LA served as the designation for Los Angeles International Airport. But, with the rapid growth in the aviation industry, the designations expanded to three letters, and LA became LAX. The letter X does not otherwise have any specific meaning in this identifier. Portland International Airportmarker in Oregonmarker also has a similar code: PDX. "LAX" is also used for the International Port of Los Angelesmarker located in San Pedro and for the Amtrak-serving Union Stationmarker in downtown. All three along with the Atlanta (ATLmarker) and Dallas-Fort Worth (DFWmarker) designations have become culturally eponymous and are often used in shorthand as an indicator of identity by local residents.


LAX handles more "origin and destination" (i.e. not connecting) passengers than any other airport in the world. It is the world's fifth-busiest airport by passenger traffic and eleventh-busiest by cargo traffic, 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. In terms of international passengers, LAX is the second-busiest in the U.S. (behind only JFK International Airportmarker in New York City), and 26th worldwide.

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 Airlinesmarker (12.62%). Other airlines with a presence on a lesser scale include Delta Airlines (7.33%), Alaska Airlines (4.74%), Northwest Airlines (3.79%), and Continental Airlines (3.76%). Mexicana operates the most flights of any non-American airline.
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).

United Airlines operates to the most destinations (61), followed by American Airlines (34), and then Alaska Airlines/Horizon (29). Qantas operates the most international trans-Pacific destinations (4), with direct services to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Auckland. Lufthansamarker serves two destinations in Europe for the most there, and Alaska Airlines and Mexicana Airlines have the most destinations in Latin America (11).

In addition to these terminals, there are 2 million square feet (186,000 m²) of cargo facilities at LAX, and a heliport operated by Bravo Aviation. Continental Airlines and Qantas 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. Terminal 1 was built in 1984 and was occupied by Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA). It is the largest of all the terminals in terms of number of gates.

Terminal 2

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

Terminal 2 has 11 gates: 21-21B, 22-22B, 23, 24-24B, 25-28. 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 service moved to Terminal 5 in 2009 after merging with Delta Air Lines, since then, the terminal has primarily served international flights.

Terminal 3

Note: V Australia's and Alaska Airlines' international arrivals from airports without United States border preclearance are processed at the Tom Bradley International Terminal.

Terminal 3 has 12 gates: 30, 31A, 31B, 32, 33A, 33B, 34-36, 37A, 37B, 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 acquiring Reno Air and TWA in 1999 and 2001, respectively, then moved all American flights to Terminal 4.

Terminal 4

Interior view of Terminal 4

Note: American Eagle commuter flights operate from a remote terminal 0.3 mi (500 m) west of Terminal 4. "Gate 44" serves as the shuttle bus stop at Terminal 4. The Eagle terminal is also connected by shuttle buses to Terminals 2 (Gate 22A), 3 (Gate 35), 5, and 6, because of Eagle's codesharing with Hawaiian, Alaska, and Delta/Northwest respectively.

Terminal 4 has 14 gates: 40, 41, 42A, 42B, 43, 44 (bus to American Eagle satellite terminal), 45, 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 terminal. An international arrivals facility was also added in the renovation serving American Airlines flights.

Terminal 5

Terminal 5 has 14 gates: 50B, 51A-51B, 52A-52B, 53A-53B, 54A-54B, 55A, 56, 57, 58A, 59. Western Airlines had occupied this terminal since its opening in 1962, and then 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

Terminal 6 has 14 gates: 60, 61, 62-62A, 63-66, 67A-67B, 68A-68B, 69A-69B. This terminal has 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 Satellite 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 Satellite gates can feed arriving passengers into a sterile corridor that shunts them to Terminal 7's customs and immigration facility. Other airlines, such as AirTran, 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.

Terminal 7

Terminal 7 has 11 gates: 70A-70B, 71A-71B, 72-74, 75A-75B, 76, 77. This terminal opened in 1962. Five of these gates have two jetways, which accommodate large aircraft. Terminal 7 is the home to United Airlines, which operates a major hub at the airport. The terminal has been renovated and has the United Red Carpet 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 used on occasion if the need arises. United Express is the regional division of United Airlines operating flights generally under 3 hours long.

Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT)

Tom Bradley International Terminal in the early morning

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.

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.

The terminal is currently undergoing major renovations to facelift and modernize the entire facility and add more building space for baggage screening equipment. The renovations include refreshed check in space with 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. These renovations are expected to be completed by 2010. The current renovations do not add any new gates.

On November 17, 2008, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa unveiled vision 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.

Upon entry into Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT), centralized security would enhance way-finding and lead departing passengers into the Great Hall, where they can choose from a concessions and retail offerings.

International passengers arriving at TBIT would be guided through the concourse on an elevated secured corridor. These passengers would have shorter waiting periods in the expanded passport control and baggage claim areas.

Each of these projects must first complete a rigorous environmental review process.

Airlines and destinations

LAX handles more "origin and destination" (i.e. not connecting) passengers than any other airport in the world. It is the world's fifth-busiest airport by passenger traffic and eleventh-busiest by cargo traffic, 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. In terms of international passengers, LAX is the second-busiest in the U.S. (behind only New York-JFKmarker), and 26th worldwide.

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 Airlinesmarker (12.62%). Other airlines with a presence on a lesser scale include Delta Airlines (7.33%), Alaska Airlines (4.74%), Northwest Airlines (3.79%), and Continental Airlines (3.76%). Mexicana operates the most flights of any non-American airline.

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).

United Airlines operates to the most destinations (61), followed by American Airlines (34), and then Alaska Airlines/Horizon (29). Qantas operates the most international trans-Pacific destinations (4), with direct services to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Auckland. Lufthansamarker serves two destinations in Europe for the most there, and Alaska Airlines and Mexicana Airlines have the most destinations in Latin America (11).

Cities with a direct international airlink to Los Angeles International Airport

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 5, 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 (even though it's the same terminal).

  • Terminals 4 and 5 were previously connected via an underground walkway located in the center of the concourses. This walkway is currently closed.

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 Alliance Lounge, Oneworld Alliance Lounge, ElAl King David 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.


LAX can be reached using the Century Boulevard exit (and several more northern exits) on Interstate 405, or the Sepulveda Boulevard exit on Interstate 105. Like most other California airports (with the exception of San Francisco International and John Wayne Airport in Orange County), LAX does not have direct freeway access; all visitors entering by car must pass at least one traffic light-controlled intersection to transition from the freeway into the airport's main loop road.


Out of a number of bus systems, many routes (local, rapid and express) of the LACMTA, Line 6 of the Culver CityBus system, Line 8 of Torrance Transit, and the regular as well as the rapid buses of the Santa Monicamarker Big Blue Bus system's Line 3 all make stops at the LAX City Bus 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

The FlyAway Bus is a shuttle service run by the LAWA, which travels between one of four off-airport locations: Van Nuys, Union Station, Westwood and the Irvine Transportation Center in Orange County. 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/LAXmarker 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.

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 United States Coast Guard operates an air station at LAX, covering Coast Guard operations in various Southern California locations, including Catalina Island, which are part of the Coast Guard's Eleventh District. 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. The air station currently maintains and operates 3 HH-65 Dolphin helicopters.

Flight Path Learning Center

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". However, there are other museums at major airports including the Udvar-Hazy Centermarker of the National Air and Space Museummarker adjacent to Washington Dulles Airportmarker, the Royal Thai Air Force Museum at Don Muang Airportmarker, the Suomen ilmailumuseo (Finnish Aviation Museummarker) at Helsinki-Vantaa Airportmarker, the Frontier of Flight Museum at Dallas Love Fieldmarker, and others.

Incidents involving LAX

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



  • On January 13, 1969, a Scandinavian Airlines System Douglas DC-8-62 crashed into Santa Monica Baymarker, approximately west of LAX at 7:21 pm, local time. The aircraft was operating as flight SK-933, nearing the completion of a flight from Seattlemarker. Of nine crewmembers, three lost their lives to drowning, while 12 of the 36 passengers also drowned.
  • On January 18, 1969, United Airlines Flight 266marker a Boeing 727-22C bearing the registration number N7434U, crashed into Santa Monica Baymarker approximately 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 Mountainsmarker. 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.
  • 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 Honolulumarker, 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 182marker, which was on a Sacramentomarker-Los Angeles International Airport-Lindbergh Fieldmarker, San Diegomarker 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 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 Baymarker 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 191marker crashed upon takeoff from O'Hare International Airportmarker 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 Statesmarker history, and the worst aviation disaster in the nation before 9/11.


  • On August 31, 1986, Aeroméxico Flight 498marker, a DC-9 en route from Mexico City, Mexicomarker to Los Angeles, began its descent into LAX when a Piper Cherokee collided with the DC-9's left horizontal stabilizer over Cerritos, Californiamarker, 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 1771marker, bound from LAX to San Francisco International Airportmarker, was cruising above the central Californiamarker 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 Cayucosmarker. 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 1493marker, a Boeing 737 landing on Runway 24L at LAX, collided on touchdown with a SkyWest Airlines Fairchild Metroliner, Flight 5569 departing to Palmdalemarker, 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 February 20, 1992, Aerolíneas Argentinas Flight 386, cholera-tainted shrimp was distributed on the Buenos Aires-Lima-Los Angeles flight. One elderly passenger died from food poisoning.
  • 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.


In popular culture

L.A. International Airport, a song written by Leanne Scott and first recorded by David Frizzell in 1970, was covered in 1971 by Susan Raye and this version reached #9 on the Billboard Country Singles chart (and #54 on the Hot 100 singles chart).The song was re-recorded with updated lyrics in 2003 by Shirley Myers for the 75th Anniversary of LAX. 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. Rapper The Game had a 2008 album titled LAX. LAX is referred to at the beginning of Party in the USA (2009) by Miley Cyrus.

See also


External links

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