Travelers wearing masks arrive at LAX.

Travelers wearing masks arrive at LAX. Photo by Ringo Chiu.

Domestic passenger traffic is rebounding at LAX, but international travel is still suffering, according to figures released April 26 by Los Angeles World Airports.

Overall passenger traffic at Los Angeles International Airport was down 20.5% in March to 2.6 million passengers from March of last year, when the pandemic slammed air travel.

But there was a sharp divergence in the performance between domestic and international travel. Domestic passenger traffic was off 5.6% in March to 2.27 million compared to the same month last year. International traffic was down 60.9% to 346,500 in the same period.

Numerous international travel restrictions to control the spread of the coronavirus remain in effect — both for U.S. passengers to other countries and for international passengers to this country. But restrictions have slowly been eased on domestic flights, and airlines have been restoring routes and flights that were cut a year ago.

Even when compared to figures from 2019 — the most recent pre-pandemic year — the divergence continued. Domestic passenger traffic in March was down 57.4% from 5.32 million in March 2019. International passenger traffic plunged 83.1% to 2.05 million from March 2019.

Meanwhile, the air cargo boom at LAX continued in March, with tonnage up 41.6% to nearly 265,000 tons from March 2020 and up 27% from March of 2019.

During the pandemic, LAX has emerged as a key point of entry for cargo of all types, especially of personal protective equipment.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.