Date of Award

Fall October 2012

Access Restriction

Campus Access only Research Projects

Degree Name

Master of Science


Systems Engineering

School or College

Seaver College of Science and Engineering


Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is the 5th busiest airport in the world, receiving more than 61 million passengers annually. In 2002, LAX was close to capacity in handling international passengers and over 75% capacity in handling domestic passengers. With the next 10 years passenger and cargo travel at LAX is expected to increase 25%. With capacity levels reaching its peak the officials at the Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) that oversees the operations at LAX, Van Nuys, Palmdale and Ontario Airports determined that it was a definite need to expand airports in the Los Angeles region. In order to effectively address air traffic within the Los Angeles region the airports must accommodate for increased traffic, but also address the environmental impact, passenger safety, traffic congestion, and improved security and accessibility. Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), which operates LAX and three other airports, is in the process of redesigning LAX. to make the airport experience more enjoyable, improve airfield safety and reduce its environmental footprint, while maintaining the airport's role as an engine for the regional economy. According to 1995 statistics from the U.S Department of Commerce, the Los Angeles region was equivalent to the 121h largest economy in the world with GDP of 433 Billion Dollars.

When addressing the feasibility for expanding air traffic in the Los Angeles area the first option discussed was to expand the other airports owned by LAWA (Ontario, Palmdale, and Van Nuys). Ontario and Palmdale Airports are currently the best options for expansion. Currently Ontario Airport (ONT) can accommodate 20 million passengers annually and can handle up to 20.5 million annual passengers (MAP) in 2020. Ontario Airport reduce some pressures from LAX in terms of domestic flights, but will not be able to lower the total amount of flights from LAX. Palmdale Airport (PMD) has the infrastructure to expand but due to its remote location and lack of interest from the airline industry subsequently dropped Palmdale from consideration. Van Nuys Airport (VNY) was immediately eliminated from contention due to noise restrictions, limited space, and close proximity to Burbank (BUR) airport.

Other airports in the region not owned by LAWA; Long Beach (LGB), Santa Ana- John Wayne (SNA), and Burbank (BUR) has expressed interest in obtaining more flights to alleviate some pressure from LAX and have ramped up efforts to increase the daily number of flights. Unfortunately those airports have limited space to expand, strict noise ordinances set by the surrounding communities, and inadequate infrastructure to accommodate large aircraft for long-haul flights.

With options decreasing the last choice will be to expand LAX. LAX also has the issue of limited expansion space, noise and environmental concerns, safety implications, and cost concerns. Expansion of this airport will be very challenging and this report will discuss the issues pertaining to the expansion to the Los Angeles International Airport from a Systems Architecture standpoint.