Taking Off: Hertz Rental Car outpost that will be consolidated into a future facility near LAX.

Taking Off: Hertz Rental Car outpost that will be consolidated into a future facility near LAX. Photo by Ringo Chiu.

Passenger traffic at Los Angeles International Airport and Long Beach Airport soared last month, with LAX up 4.4 percent and Long Beach up 16 percent, compared to August of last year, according to figures released this week by the airports.

More than 7.9 million passengers flew into or out of LAX in August, up from nearly 7.6 million last August, according to statistics released by Los Angeles World Airports, the city agency that operates the airport. International passenger traffic really took off, jumping 8.3 percent as international carriers have consistently been adding flights from LAX to new and existing destinations.

From January through August, passenger traffic at LAX rose 4.9 percent to 56.7 million compared to the same eight months last year, with international traffic up 10 percent.

Air cargo tonnage moved also rose at LAX, up 7 percent in August to 205,000 metric tons compared to last August and up nearly 10 percent from January through August to 1.56 million metric tons compared to the same eight months last year.

Passenger traffic rose more sharply at Long Beach Airport as 316,000 passengers flew into or out of the airport in August compared to 271,000 in August of last year, according to figures released by the airport.

Jet Blue Airways - which has by far the largest passenger share of the four air carriers operating at the airport - added 17,000 passengers to top 124,000 for the month, a growth rate of 16 percent. Southwest Airlines, which has the second largest passenger share, grew 56 percent as it took up some reallocated flight slots, adding 7,000 passengers to bring its total to nearly 20,000.

American Airlines, which gave up slots at Long Beach, saw its passenger count plunge 34 percent to 5,500.

For the first eight months of this year, passenger traffic at Long Beach was up 39 percent to nearly 2.5 million compared to the same period last year.

Air cargo tonnage fell at Long Beach, down 6 percent to 2,142 metric tons in August compared to August of last year, and down 8 percent to 15,280 metric tons for the first eight months of this year compared to the same period last year.

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