LA Area Airport Traffic Recovery

The recovery in passenger traffic at local airports resumed in September, with Los Angeles International Airport surpassing for the first time 80% of pre-pandemic passenger counts.

Nearly 7 million passengers went through the gates in September at the four airports serving Los Angeles County: LAX, Ontario International, Hollywood Burbank and Long Beach. That was down 16% from pre-pandemic September 2019, the smallest percentage shortfall since the pandemic began.

LAX had 5.62 million passengers in September, down 19.8% from September 2019.
“LAX finished the summer travel season in a strong position, with significant gains in international passenger traffic as global pandemic restrictions ease and travelers continue to seek a return to destinations around the world,” said Justin Erbacci, chief executive of Los Angeles World Airports, the city agency that runs LAX.

What’s more, Erbacci said the total of 48.7 million passengers going through the gates at LAX for the first nine months of this year exceeded the total of 48.0 million for all 12 months of 2021.

He added that LAX is now gearing up for what officials there expect to be a robust holiday travel season.

Among the other three regional airports, both Ontario and Burbank continued to exceed pre-pandemic passenger counts in September. Ontario saw 517,000 passengers, up 10% from September 2019 and 14% from September of last year. Burbank’s tally of 542,000 was up nearly 5% from the same month in 2019 and 33% from September of last year.

“The double-digit increase in passenger volume last month reinforces the important role we play in meeting the air travel needs of one of the most robust population and economic centers in the country,” Alan Wapner, president of the Ontario International Airport Authority board of commissioners, said in a statement.

Long Beach Airport captured the title of biggest year-over-year gainer in passengers, with its 282,000-passenger tally for September up 55% from the same month last year.
Cargo levels down.

Air cargo tonnage at the four airports serving Los Angeles County was down 9% in September from last year. But that was mostly due to last year’s exceptional volume as the economy was rapidly bouncing back from the impact of the pandemic and supply chain issues with the nearby ports forced some cargo shippers to switch to planes. This year, many companies ordered their products extra early to avoid last-minute supply-chain foul-ups.

Of the two airports that handle 98% of the region’s air cargo – LAX and Ontario – LAX posted the biggest drop in tonnage in September, down 11% to 216,000. Ontario held steady in its cargo volume at about 70,000 tons.

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