Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) set a record for international passenger traffic during the first half of the year, surpassing the previous airport record during the first six months of 2001.
International passenger traffic at LAX had a record of 8.48 million passengers in the first half of this year — a 6.7 percent increase over the same period last year. The airport’s previous first-half record was 8.44 million international passengers.
Airport officials have attributed the boost in international travel to Los Angeles to the “strength of overseas currency,” such as the euro and Japanese yen, compared to the weaker U.S. dollar, said Nancy Castles, LAX spokeswoman.
Los Angeles is also experiencing a rise in tourism this year because of attractions such as the 50th anniversary of Disneyland and the King Tutankhamen exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Castles said.
The first-half record continues the record-setting trend for international passenger traffic this year at LAX, which also set a record for the first quarter of the year.
Overall passenger traffic at the airport during the first half of this year increased 1.8 percent over the same period last year.
But first-half domestic passenger traffic experienced little change from last year as airlines cut flight schedules due to record fuel prices, airport officials said.
“Domestic volume is basically flat,” Castles said. “More people are going after fewer seats and the airlines are charging more.”
Domestic passenger traffic at LAX rose only 0.01 percent from the first six months of 2004 to about 21.43 million passengers in the first half of this year.
LAX also experienced a first-half record for air freight this year with 996,580 tons, which surpassed the previous record from the first half of 2000, airport officials said.
The annual record of 67.3 million domestic and international passengers at LAX was set in 2000.
Castles said LAX is on pace to have about 64 million passengers this year, which would help bring the airport to full recovery to pre-September 11th, 2001, passenger levels by the end of 2006.