Originally the entire airport was within the Burbank city limits, but the north end of Runway 15/33 has been extended into the city of Los Angeles.
Burbank Airport was the historical home of the Lockheed "Skunk Works," which designed many black project aircraft during the Cold War, including the U-2, SR-71 Blackbird and F-117 Nighthawk. The "Skunk Works" name originated in 1943 due to the strong odor emanating from a manufacturing plant near the Burbank site. As of 1978, when Lockheed announced the Skunk Works' relocation to Palmdale, Lockheed employed around 12,000 people at Burbank. The land occupied by the old Lockheed buildings (demolished in the 1990s), at the corners of Empire Avenue and Hollywood Way and Thornton Avenue, is now the site of a growing power center commercial development with chain restaurants and businesses. The facility remained Hollywood-Burbank Airport for more than a decade until 1978 when Lockheed sold it to the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority.