LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Officials say traffic through Los Angeles International Airport has increased during the third quarter of this year.

About 16 million travelers passed through LAX in July-September, a 2.9 percent increase from 15.5 million during people during the same period a year ago, according to Los Angeles World Airports, which operates LAX.

Total year-to-date passenger volume is up to 44.3 million, a 4.3 percent increase from the 42.5 million recorded in January-September 2009.

“We have been watching a gradual increase in total domestic and international passenger volume due to some improvements in the global economy — especially in the international sector,” LAWA Executive Director Gina Marie Lindsey said.

All of the airport’s numbers are up, in fact – domestic passenger traffic is up 2.7 percent, international traffic up 3.4 percent and air cargo volume up 13.3 percent.

“Promising indicators for the immediate future are the start of new service by existing airlines, as well as airlines new to LAX,” Lindsey said. “The next several months will confirm the extent to which recent upward movement in traffic will be the foundation of a sustained pattern.”

The future appears promising for LAX, where American Airlines and American Eagle plan to add nine domestic destinations and one international route from LAX and increase departures by 28 percent. American Eagle also plans to spend $20 million to expand its newly opened LAX terminal, which has six gates. The expanded terminal will have 10 gates when its finished at the end of 2011.

American Airlines, British Airways and Iberia, meanwhile, announced the launch of their joint business by introducing a new Los Angeles-Madrid route, operated by Iberia, that will begin service in April 2011.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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