Passenger traffic at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) during the first half of this year jumped nearly five percent from the same time last year, airport officials announced.

The airport saw nearly 28.3 million passengers in the first six months of 2010, compared to nearly 27 million during the same period last year, statistics show. While there was a 3.4 percent modest growth in domestic passengers, international traffic grew by nine percent to 7.8 million passengers from 7.1 million last year.

Air cargo tonnage also increased 24.8 percent to 941,238 tons during the first six months of this year, from 754,022 tons during the same period in 2009.

“Since late last year we have seen a slow increase in passenger volume due to some improvement in the economy further assisted by added service on existing routes from several of the domestic and international airlines, and the introduction of new flights in June by Alitalia to Rome,” said Gina Marie Lindsey, executive director of Los Angeles World Airports, which owns and operates LAX.—“The next several months will confirm the extent to which recent upward movement in traffic is the foundation of a sustained pattern.”

For the month of June, domestic traffic at LAX rose 1.4 percent to nearly 3.8 million passengers from 3.77 million passengers in June 2009, while international traffic increased 11.6 percent to 1.4 million passengers from 1.3 million passengers in June 2009. June was the 10th month in a row of increasing passenger volume, and while airport officials say they are cautiously optimistic about future increases, they also point out that 2009 passenger traffic at LAX was at its lowest during the last decade due to the U.S. economic recession that began in December 2007.

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