I have taken several flights (in and out) from LAX (Los Angeles International Airport), both domestic and international and have flown in variety of commercial planes (727, 737, 747, 757, 777, 787, A319, A320, A330, A380, turboprops, etc). at various times of day but have always landed/taken off from runway 24L. According to Wikipedia, LAX airport has the following runways.

Runway Length (ft) Length (m) Surface
6L/24R 8,926 2,721 Concrete
6R/24L 10,285 3,135 Concrete
7L/25R 12,091 3,685 Concrete
7R/25L 11,095 3,382 Concrete

I'm sure other runways are also used but why does 24L seem most preferred?


4 Answers 4


Two words: sample size. Eventually, you will use another one :)

There are only 4 runways, and they are all used heavily.

LAX normally has a westerly traffic flow, with aircraft landing/taking off toward the ocean.

How the airport operates:

At all times, the inboard runways shall be preferred to the outboard runways for departures


well over 90% of all operations use the preferred runways

Quotes from this document. Nice graphics can be found in there, too.

  • $\begingroup$ mmm.. That explains.. but don't you think its a bad model. One runway is having more "wear and tear" than the other. $\endgroup$
    – Ank
    Oct 9, 2015 at 4:26
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Ank inboards for departure, outboards for landing is a good model (and a common one). It is much easier to queue departure aircraft that do not have to cross a runway and the arrival airplanes can be queued at different intersections to the departure runway and cross between departures. $\endgroup$
    – casey
    Dec 28, 2015 at 19:44

ATC has a very specific flight path that they keep traffic inbound to LAX on. If you are arriving/departing from/to a northerly direction then you will typically use the north runways. The opposite is true for the south runways. They also typically use the inner runways for departures and the outer runways for arrivals. During less busy times they will allow aircraft to use a runway that is closer to their gate.

  • $\begingroup$ I'm flown Trans Pacific flights from LAX (flying east / west) and arrived / departed on 24L.. $\endgroup$
    – Ank
    Oct 9, 2015 at 3:36
  • $\begingroup$ And last time I was flying to Chicago, departing from 24L and there was a Airbus A380 (Korean Air) departing from the same runway in front of me.. $\endgroup$
    – Ank
    Oct 9, 2015 at 3:37
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Ank, from LAX, both Chicago and Korea are to the north, so 24L is preferred departure runway for both. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Oct 9, 2015 at 8:15
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    $\begingroup$ @Ank While you wouldn't normally think about it from looking at a map, the shortest path to Southeast Asia from almost anywhere in the mainland U.S. is North, not West. When I flew from LAX to HKG, we actually flew North of Alaska over the Arctic Ocean. We were so far North that we experienced midnight sun (it was near the beginning of summer.) $\endgroup$
    – reirab
    Dec 28, 2015 at 16:56
  • $\begingroup$ FWIW HKG is East Asia, not Southeast Asia.... Unless Mrs. Wright taught me wrong :) $\endgroup$
    – vasin1987
    Jan 11, 2016 at 17:12

Runway 24L appears to be closest to the terminals.

I was heard, don't know if it's true), that LAX uses the inner runways (24L / 25R, 06R / 07L) to land and the outer runways to takeoff from (24R / 25L, 06L / 07R)

  • $\begingroup$ There are 8 terminals in LAX. I can't believe 24L is closest to all. Its a long taxiway for United Airlines to 24L but it still takes off / lands on 24L. $\endgroup$
    – Ank
    Oct 9, 2015 at 3:17
  • $\begingroup$ You sure LAX uses 06L, 06R, 07L, 07R). For a large airport like LAX, I'm not sure if it'd take off / land on both sides of runway. $\endgroup$
    – Ank
    Oct 9, 2015 at 3:29
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    $\begingroup$ Depending on the wind direction, the aircraft will use either the runways to the west or the runways to the east. They never takeoff and land in opposite directions. $\endgroup$
    – wbeard52
    Oct 9, 2015 at 3:30

KLAX under normal operations will depart 25R and 24L (The "inboards") and land 25L and 24R (outboards). The same applies true for the rare days KLAX is in east flow. This is for several reasons, but the primary one is so that there is only ONE runway crossing and that occurring as far downfield for safety. Typically if you are arriving/departing from/to the NW, you will be on the north complex, SW CCW SE the south complex and it's a mix if you are going E/NE. In some cases, heavy freighters or LONG haul pax flights NEED 25L as it is the longest runway for performance reasons. 24R is currently only 9630' due construction.


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