Slow recovery continues at Los Angeles International Airport


Passenger and cargo activity at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) continues to recover, as both full service carriers and LCCs slowly return capacity to the airport. LAX suffered significantly in the global economic downturn, particularly as a result of its exposure to Asian freight and passenger markets, which have fallen heavily.

For Jul-2009, passenger numbers at LAX were down by 3.2%, the smallest level of decline in 12 months. Domestic passenger numbers have continued to performed better than international, falling 1.7% year-on-year to 4.1 million, while international passenger numbers were down 7.2%, to 1.5 million.

Los Angeles Airport passenger number growth and cargo volume growth: Aug-2008 to Jul-2009

The majority (90%) of domestic passengers are handled by scheduled carriers, which have suffered less at LAX than the smaller commuter and charter carriers. Scheduled carriers have seen domestic passenger numbers fall by just 1.5% in July, compared to a 3.9% cut in commuter carrier traffic and a 57% fall in charter carrier traffic.

Los Angeles Airport passenger numbers and passenger number growth: Aug-2008 to Jul-2009

Cargo coming back

After leveling out at around -25%, cargo continues its recovery, down 9.9% year-on-year in Jul-2009. For the year-to-date, cargo is down 18%.

The traffic downturn has had one welcome benefit for LAX, in the shape of on-time performance. According to recent US Department of Transportation statistics, the airport ranked second among 15 busiest US airports in terms of the fewest delays experienced domestic passengers, the best result for the airport since 2004. The airport was beaten by Detroit Metropolitan-Wayne County Airport.

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