LAX Experiences Strong Growth

IN OCTOBER, officials at Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), the city department that owns and operates Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and two other Southern California airports reported that LAX is experiencing strong growth in overseas air services with airlines adding over 150 international weekly flights during the last three years.
International traffic at LAX was up 7.5% during the last 12 months ending August 2010 to 10,837,839 passengers from 10,080,700 of August 2009.  However, international passengers are still below the 11,685,560 12-month total ending August 2007 before the global economic downturn impacted air travel.
“Since late 2009, we have seen a slow increase in total domestic and international passenger volume due to some improvement in the global economy – especially in the international sector,” said LAWA Executive Director Gina Marie Lindsey.
“Promising indicators for the immediate future are the start of new services by existing airlines and airlines new to LAX.  The next several months will confirm the extent to which the recent upward movement in traffic is the foundation of a sustained pattern.”
LAWA says that since 2007, LAX has seen more new international flights than any other US airport, except for New York’s John F Kennedy (JFK).
During the past three years, eleven airlines, including three carriers that had not served LAX before (Emirates, Volaris and V Australia) began non-stop service to overseas destinations including:  Air New Zealand to Rarotonga, Cook Islands; Alitalia resumed service to Rome, Italy, following an eight-year absence from LAX; Emirates to Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Copa Airlines to Panama City, Panama; Delta Airlines to Sydney, Australia; Korean Airlines to São Paulo, Brazil; Volaris Airlines to Guadalajara, Morélia, Mexico City/Toluca and Zacatecas, Mexico; United Airlines to San José del Cabo, Mexico; V Australia to Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney; Virgin America to Cancun, Mexico, and Toronto, Canada; and West Jet to Edmonton, Canada.
Seven additional airlines have started or are about to launch scheduled daily links to new markets during the next few months or to increase service on existing routes.  These include All Nippon Airways that started flying to Tokyo-Haneda International Airport this November, while Delta Air Lines will compete on the same route from February 2011.  Emirates began a second daily flight to Dubai on October 31 and Turkish Airlines will provide its first ever Istanbul-LAX service from March 2011.  The US Department of Transportation approved the applications of American Airlines and United Airlines for each to begin daily non-stop flights to Shanghai, China, on April 5 and May 20 next year respectively.  Following a 13-year absence at LAX, Iberia will resume flights to Madrid, Spain, with four weekly services beginning on April 20.
LAWA says these airlines represent an increase of 155 weekly international flights at LAX since 2007, of which 89 flights serve transoceanic routes using wide-body aircraft.  According to a 2007 study by the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation – an organization responsible for attracting, retaining and increasing businesses and jobs in Los Angeles County – one daily, transoceanic wide-body flight to/from LAX generates an estimated $623 million in economic output annually, and sustains 3,120 direct and indirect jobs in Southern California with annual wages of $156 million.
According to the airport’s officials, the international air services that have started over the past three years now generate $10.7 billion annually in economic benefits that are spread across the Southern California region.