L.A. County’s three commercial airports Los Angeles International Airport, Burbank Airport and Long Beach Airport served 65.5 million passengers in 1997, up from 63.2 million in 1996. Long Beach Airport had the biggest increase in passenger traffic last year, welcoming 40.4 percent more travelers than in 1996. The passenger increase was largely due to American Airlines starting Long Beach service in February 1997, and Sunjet Airlines increasing daily flights from two to 12 in October 1997. LAX had a 3.7 percent increase in passenger traffic in 1997, while totals at Burbank dropped 2.5 percent.
Airline market share hasn’t changed much since last year. The top five were the same, and perennial No. 1 United Airlines had the exact same share as last year 22.5 percent. Market share refers to the percent of passengers carried at all three airports. Shuffling did occur in the Nos. 6 through 8 spots on the list: America West dropped from No. 6 to No. 8, and Alaska Airlines and Continental each moved up a notch. Other big movers include United Express, which increased its market share from 0.6 percent to 1.1 percent in 1997, and Hawaiian Airlines, which moved from No. 21 to No. 17 on the list.
More than one-fifth of all passengers coming in and out of L.A. County’s three commercial airports fly United Airlines. The 22.5 percent share posted by the Elk Grove, Ill.-based carrier is 8 points higher than that of No. 2 Southwest Airlines, but the exact same percentage as in 1996. United flew 14.7 million L.A. County passengers in 1997 13.9 million of those at LAX and the rest out of Burbank. In addition, United Express, the airline’s commuter division, served nearly 700,000 LAX passengers last year. United has made some recent adjustments to its Los Angeles flight schedule to coincide with demand. On Sept. 9, United added eight daily round-trip flights from San Jose to LAX via the company’s Shuttle by United service. Also in September, United decreased its daily nonstop flights from LAX to Tokyo from two to one, due to a decline in Asian tourism caused by the economic crisis there.
The airline posted 1997 revenues of $17.4 billion, and 1997 net income of $949 million. In August 1998, United had its biggest single-month total ever in North America, carrying 8.3 million passengers.