Passengers at LAX

Passengers at LAX

An estimated 4.35 million passengers will pass through Los Angeles International Airport during the holiday season, up 0.9 percent from last year’s record 4.31 million, according to a holiday traffic forecast released Tuesday by airport officials.

Los Angeles World Airport officials said they expect the busiest days of the 19-day holiday season that runs between Friday, Dec. 15 and Tuesday, Jan. 2 will be Saturday, Dec. 23, with 253,000 passengers passing through the terminals. Other anticipated busy days are Thursday, Dec. 21, Tuesday, Dec. 26 and Wednesday, Dec. 27 when officials expect roughly 246,000 passengers on each of those days.

Overall, daily passenger traffic is expected to average 227,000 over the season. That’s somewhat less than the daily average of 232,000 passengers during the first 10 months of this year. This drop reflects the inclusion in the holiday period of some of the quietest travel days of the year, including Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve; fewer than 212,000 passengers are expected on those three days.

Besides crowded terminals, airport officials expect more than 1.9 million vehicles in the central terminal area. The week before Christmas is forecast to average more than 109,000 vehicles daily, peaking on Friday, with about 120,000 vehicles. The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is expected to average nearly 98,000 vehicles daily. Motorists and passengers waiting for public transportation should plan for delays of up to 30 minutes during periods of traffic congestion in the terminal area, airport officials said.

Economy, education, energy and transportation reporter Howard Fine can be reached at hfine@labusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @howardafine.