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As the third busiest airport of the United States of America and the sixth busiest in the world, Los Angeles LAX Airport provides passengers with more than 600 flights per day. Around 75 US and international airlines take passengers to some 91 domestic destinations as well as providing weekly non-stop flights to some 58 international city destinations.
Last year the airport handled more than 61 million air travellers. Despite the world-wide downturn in holiday bookings owing to the financial problems in the USA and abroad, the three Southern Californian airports, of which Los Angeles is one, were busier than ever last year. The other two airports serving the south of California are Van Nuys General Aviation and LA/Ontario International.
LAX Airport is constantly undergoing improvements and expansion. At present the $1.5 billion Bradley West Project is under way, during which the airport will be receiving new gates for the latest aircraft models dealing with commercial flights. In addition, there is the creation of new seating areas and new concourses with more shopping, dining facilities and better security controls.
The Bradley West Project is part of a much wider expansion program for LAX – in total the airport operators Los Angeles World Airports are going to spend around $4.11 billion on improvements. This is good news for the entire region, as some 40,000 new jobs will be created in the process. With such a large number of air travellers using the airport, new taxiways and lanes are needed together with better terminal facilities and an improved infrastructure for the region.
Los Angeles LAX Airport began life as a general aviation field in 1928, but the airfield wasn’t used for commercial aviation until 1946. The present grouping of terminals dates back to 1961 and the early 1980s, when international and new domestic terminals were constructed together with better access roads.
The airport deals mainly with domestic air travel, however, in 2010 some 15.9 million international passengers flew into and out of LA, and last year this number rose to more than 16.7 million passengers from world-wide points of origin.
In total there are nine passenger terminals forming the centre of the LAX airport complex. These terminals are linked by a U-shaped, two-level roadway system. Passengers will find the curb side baggage check-in on the upper departure level, while the reclaim for arriving passenger baggage is located on the lower level. The terminals are connected by free shuttle services running at regular intervals throughout the day and night. The shuttle services also link the terminals and the remote parking lots for short and long-term parking.
The terminals feature plenty of restaurants and snack bars serving local cuisine as well as ethnic-style food and beverages. Naturally, there are also the usual branded fast-food outlets, cafes, cocktail lounges and bars, newsstands and plenty of duty free shopping facilities for passengers to choose from. At the Tom Bradley International Terminal passengers also have access to a first-aid station in case of minor medical emergencies.
Throughout the terminals there are ATMs for cash transactions and public telephones, free Wi-Fi-zones for internet access, as well as business centre facilities for business travellers needing access to photocopying, computers, meeting rooms and telephones. Designated telephones connect to bus and limousine services and hotels as well as motels in the area. There are also around 40 car rental companies serving the airport and these special telephones connect to the car rental hire desks, too.
LAX Airport’s piece de resistance is the Encounter Restaurant with observation deck, located in the centre of the historic Theme Building complex of the airport. The restaurant and observation desk are perched some 70 feet above the ground level and the restaurant’s interior has an ultra-modern, space-age interior styling that puts diners in mind of the famous US animated series The Jetsons, a favourite with children during the late 1960s and 1970s, when the Apollo missions to the moon were on every news channel in the world.
The observation deck only opens its doors to the public on weekends, when during the hours of 8.00 am and 5.00 pm visitors can enjoy amazing views over the airport complex, aprons and runways.
For more information about LAX Airport, please visit the official website at http://www.lawa.org/welcomelax.aspx.