Inside the numbers: Why LAX could be on track for record year in 2014

LAX traffic is on the upswing, airport officials told the city's airport commisison earlier this month. Staff photo by Brad Graverson.

LAX traffic is on the upswing, airport officials told the city’s airport commission earlier this month. Staff photo of new international terminal by Brad Graverson.

A new Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners took over a couple of months ago, and the group — appointed by new L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti — wanted a full update on traffic trends at LAX.

Luckily for us, that report, delivered at the Nov. 14 meeting, is public record. There’s nothing top secret in the power point airport officials delivered, but it might help you better understand some key LAX metrics.

Let’s take a look at what airport commission members learned:

  • Board members were told LAX is unique because it has no dominant airline. Instead four carriers – -American, Southwest, Delta and United — have roughly equal market shares. This pie chart is a bit misleading because American’s tally includes flights operated by its American Eagle subsidiary. United Express and Delta Connection flights, however, are not include in the larger airline’s tally.  (Many of the Skywest flights in the chart, for example, are operated as United Express.) 

LAX Market Share

  • LAX passenger traffic peaked in 2000, but airport officials are predicting 2014 will be a big year. Also, below, you’ll see New York Kennedy got a big traffic bump from Jetblue, which began operations in 2000. 

LAX chart 4

  • As you can see below, LAX officials are bullish on international traffic. In the past six months, airlines have announced new flights to Stockholm, London Gatwick, Oslo, Jeddah, Abu Dhabi and Sao Paulo.

LAX chart

  • Some of the airport commissioners said they’re concerned San Francisco International Airport is seeking to “steal” many of LAX’s international flights. But this slide below puts the competition in perspective. LAX still has almost twice as many international passengers as San Francisco. 

LAX map

  • In terms of international flights, San Francisco gained on LAX during the middle portion of the 2000s, in part because United and other Star Alliance carriers increased schedules at SFO. But since 2010, LAX has been holding steady against SFO, according to airport officials. 

LAX chart 2

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