Los Angeles International Airport reported record international traffic in 2013, with nearly 17.9 million international passengers using the facility. The previous high was 17.5 million set in 2005.
Overall, 66.7 passengers went through LAX in 2013, an increase of about 5 percent over the previous year. LAX, which saw a sharp downturn in traffic after 2001, is finally starting to rebound in a big way. The airport’s record traffic was set in 2000, at slightly more than 67 million.
I think there’s a great likelihood that LAX breaks that overall mark in 2014. All seems to be going well for LAX, and the airline executives I speak with say the market is strong. (Lest you think they’re spinning me, these same executives do not have such bullish predictions for Ontario and Burbank Airports.)
As for the international numbers, city and airport officials should be proud of them. They have attracted several new airlines since I’ve been covering the beat and persuaded others to use larger airplanes or add new flights. But let’s not start attributing the added traffic to the new international terminal. For one, the building only partially opened in September. And for another — and this is important — most airline and airport people tell me that fancy new buidlings actually have less of an impact on passenger numbers than you might think. Yes, passengers are happpier in nice terminals, but apparently few travelers choose an airport based on the terminal’s amenities.
Here’s some historic LAX passenger traffic data, courtesy of the airport.