What's Nearby

Historic Van Nuys Airport

Aptly launched on the 25th anniversary of Orville and Wilbur Wright’s historic first flight, today’s Van Nuys Airport opened as Metropolitan Airport on December 17, 1928. It was located on 80 acres of farmland about 20 miles north of Los Angeles International Airport and quickly became the launch pad for many record-breaking speed and endurance flights. During the Great Depression, Hollywood directors used the airport as a backdrop for feature films – a tradition that continues to this day. The Van Nuys Airport has had a starring role in decades of movies, including Casablanca, Hell’s Angeles, Pearl Harbor and Lethal Weapon.


During World War II, Metropolitan Airport became a U.S. military base and important defense-manufacturing center known as Van Nuys Army Airfield. During this time, an Army photographer discovered none other than 19-year-old Marilyn Monroe working on an aircraft assembly line in 1945. After the war, the City of Los Angeles reclaimed the expanded airport in 1949, for just $1, renaming it the San Fernando Valley Airport.

The airport expanded in the 1950s and was once again renamed, becoming Van Nuys Airport in 1957. It continued to grow throughout the 1960s and, by 1971, was the busiest general aviation airport in the nation, with more than a half-million operations. Today, it continues to be one of the word’s busiest general aviation airports.

Owned and operated by Los Angeles World Airports, the Van Nuys Airport now spans 725 acres and has two runways that are frequently used by publicity-shy Hollywood celebrities, politicians and executives. It continues to be a favorite backdrop for film and televisions producers, appearing in multiple seasons of Entourage, as well as several music videos.