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Pacific Gateway – Los Angeles International Airport

Kevan James

June 29, 2022.

Usually known by its three-letter code of LAX, Los Angeles International Airport covers 3,200 acres of land bordering the Pacific Ocean in West Los Angeles, just 10 miles from the centre of the city itself.

The airport is owned and operated by Los Angeles World Airports, a proprietary department of the City of Los Angeles.

Terminals / Gates

The Central Terminal Area includes nine terminals (numbered 1-8 as well as the Tom Bradley International Terminal). In addition, there are nine remote gates available, and American Airlines operates regional jet service from an eight-gate facility located east of Terminal 8.


1. 6L/24R = 10,885 feet long x 150 feet wide

2. 2. 6R/24L = 8,926 feet long x 150 feet wide

3. 3. 7L/25R = 12,923 feet long x 150 feet wide

4. 4. 7R-25L = 11,095 feet long x 200 feet wide

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, LAX served nearly 88.1 million passengers in 2019, for a daily average of 241,000, and offered an average of nearly 700 daily nonstop flights to 113 destinations in 42 states in the U.S., and 1,200 weekly nonstop flights to 91 markets in 46 countries on 72 commercial airlines. LAX handled 691,257 operations (arrivals and departures) in 2019 with 2.31 million tons of cargo handled.

Los Angeles World Airports directly employs nearly 3,700 persons. More than 57,000 people, including airline, concession and ground handling company employees, hold badges at LAX. The airport generated 620,600 jobs in Southern California, with labour income of $37.3 billion and economic output (business revenues) of more than $126.6 billion, according to an economic study based on 2014 operations. 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 created an additional 121,640 annual jobs with labour 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.

With winds typically coming from the west, over the Pacific Ocean, the runway complex at LAX spends the majority of the time in ‘Westerly Operations’ with aircraft departing over the Pacific Ocean and then turning in the appropriate direction. Arriving aircraft arrive approach from the east and thus over the heavily populated areas inland of the runways.

Between 12:30 and 6:30 a.m., LAX typically changes to ‘Over-Ocean Operations.’ Aircraft continue to take off into the wind coming from the ocean, making use of the northern pair of runways. Arriving aircraft however, also approach over the ocean, making use of the south runway complex, which brings some relief to residents. If one of the runways is closed for maintenance however, the airport remains in Westerly Operations during the time taken.

Rarely, weather conditions will require LAX to shift into 'Easterly Operations,' with planes arriving from over the ocean and taking off toward the east. This happens most often during winter storms, when the wind direction shifts.

Like every airport, LAX has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to it however, a multi-billion dollar rebuild programme commenced across the airport and the reduction in traffic presented an opportunity for this work to continue with less impact on passengers. The results have seen a huge improvement in facilities, although there is one airport building that, from the outside at least, still looks like it always has.

LAX’s Landmark

The Theme Building is a 62-year-old cultural and historic landmark in the centre of LAX’s passenger terminal area. It was part of the $50-million Los Angeles Jet Age Terminal Construction Project that began in 1960. On Dec. 18, 1992, the Los Angeles City Council designated the Theme Building a cultural and historical monument.

The Theme Building after opening in 1960


• The three-year, $12.3-million renovation began in February 2007, after a 1,000- pound, 5-foot-by-10-foot panel of the stucco 'skin' fell off the underside of the east upper arch.

• The renovation included a significant seismic retrofit, complete reconstruction of the stucco façade of the upper and lower arches, and upgrading Americans with Disabilities Act features.

• This was the first time the arches were redone since the building was constructed.

• Upon completion of the renovation, the Theme Building’s observation deck, located above the restaurant, reopened for the first time since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It was open weekends until 2016, when the schedule was reduced to the second weekend of the month. As of September 2018, the observation deck is again closed.

• LAWA won two prestigious awards from the California Preservation Foundation (CPF) for the renovation. The organization’s Preservation Design Award for Preservation Technology recognizes projects that sustain the original form and extent of a structure while aiming to halt further deterioration through structural stability with a minimum of rebuilding, restoration, or rehabilitation.

• The Trustees Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation, which is entirely at the discretion of the board, is only awarded if a project is deemed to be of very high importance to California architecture or history. The CFP Board noted the Theme Building as a great monument to mid-century design. One of the benefits of the new Automated People Mover (APM) train is that it will bring a significant number of airport guests into the vicinity of the Theme Building, greatly increasing the foot traffic nearby. While the APM stations do not directly connect to the Theme Building, the East CTA Station includes a viewing platform, and two of the stations will provide easier access than currently available. Guests will be able to exit to the street from the East CTA and Centre CTA stations and walk over to the building. Each station will be approximately 200 feet from the Theme Building.

Image - LAWA / Jacob Brosseau

US Airlines:

• Alaska Airlines • Allegiant Air • American Airlines • Boutique Airlines • Delta Air Lines • Frontier Airlines • Hawaiian Airlines • JetBlue Airways • Mokulele Airlines • Southwest Airlines • Spirit Airlines • Sun Country Airlines • United Airlines


• Aeroflot • AeroMexico • Aer Lingus • Air Canada • Air China • Air France • Air Italy • Air New Zealand • Air Tahiti Nui • Alitalia • All Nippon Airways (ANA) • Asiana • Austrian Airlines • Avianca • British Airways • Copa • Cathay Pacific • China Airlines • China Eastern • China Southern • El Al Israel • Emirates Airlines • Etihad • EVA Air • Fiji Airways • Finnair • Hainan Airlines • Hong Kong Airlines • Iberia • InterJet • Japan Airlines • KLM • Korean Air • LATAM Airlines • LOT Polish • Lufthansa • Norwegian Air • Philippines Airlines • QANTAS • Qatar Airways • SAUDIA • Scandinavian Airlines • Sichuan Airlines • Singapore • SWISS • Turkish Airlines • Virgin Atlantic • Virgin Australia • Viva Aerobus • Volaris • WestJet • Xiamen Airlines.

Information and images courtesy of Los Angeles World Airports

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