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Los Angeles International Airport is the largest and busiest airport in the Greater Los Angeles Area and the state of California, as well as being one of the largest international airports in the United States. It is most often referred to by its IATA airport code LAX, with the letters pronounced individually. LAX is located in the southwestern Los Angeles area along the Pacific Ocean between the neighborhood of Westchester to its immediate north and the city of El Segundo to its immediate south. It is owned and operated by Los Angeles World Airports, an agency of the Los Angeles city government formerly known as the Department of Airports.

In 2015, LAX handled 74,936,256 passengers, an increase of 6 percent from the previous year, making it the seventh busiest airport by passenger traffic in the world. The airport holds the claim for "the world′s busiest origin and destination (O & D) airport," and has for many years. The airport also was the third busiest in the world by aircraft movements. Furthermore, it is also the only airport to rank among the top five U.S. airports for both passenger and cargo traffic.

While LAX is the busiest airport in the Greater Los Angeles Area, other airports, including Bob Hope Airport, John Wayne Airport, Long Beach Airport, and LA/Ontario International Airport, also serve the region. It is also notable for being one of the few U.S. airports with four parallel runways.

LAX serves as a hub for American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and Virgin America. The airport serves as a focus city for Allegiant Air, Air New Zealand, Qantas, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines and Volaris. LAX serves as either a hub or focus city for more Main-line US Carriers than any other airport in the Country and is the only airport that all three legacy carriers have designated a hub. As the largest international airport on the U.S. West Coast, LAX is a major gateway to and from Europe, Latin America, Asia and Oceania. With its deep connections to Asia and Latin America in particular, LAX is considered to be the premier "Gateway to the Pacific Rim".

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LAX History

In 1928, the Los Angeles City Council selected 640 acres (1.00 sq mi; 260 ha) in the southern part of Westchester for 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 in the National Register of Historic Places.

Mines Field opened as the airport of Los Angeles in 1930 and the city purchased it to be a municipal airfield in 1937. The name became Los Angeles Airport in 1941 and Los Angeles International Airport in 1949. In the 1930s the main airline airports were Burbank Airport (then known as Union Air Terminal, and later Lockheed) in Burbank and the Grand Central Airport in Glendale. (In 1940 the airlines were all at Burbank except for Mexicana′s three departures a week from Glendale; in late 1946 most airline flights moved to LAX, but Burbank always retained a few.)

Mines Field did not extend west of Sepulveda Boulevard; 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. 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.

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 c. 1947, and "LA" became "LAX." The letter "X" has no specific meaning in this identifier. "LAX" is also used for the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro and by Amtrak for Union Station in downtown Los Angeles.

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Aircraft Spotting

The "Imperial Hill" area (also known as Clutter′s Park) in El Segundo is a prime location for aircraft spotting. Another popular spotting location sits under the final approach for runways 24 L&R on a lawn next to the Westchester In-N-Out Burger on Sepulveda Boulevard. This 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 flight path.

This photo report is by no way the full picture of LA Airport. I have tried to give my impression as a first time visitor. I have included the Proud-Burger spotting location and while waiting a couple of hours for my departure I was able to photograph a nice selection of aircraft from the Tom Bradley International Terminal.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - LAX vintage cards from Tom Van den Broeke collection.

Aircraft spotting location – ′The Proud Bird′ Restaurant (see Google map)

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Aircraft spotting location – Imperial Hill LAX Southside (see Google map)

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Aircraft spotting location – Inside the Tom Bradley Int. Terminal North Side (see Google map)

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