LAX crowds in line.

We’re about halfway through the massive travel holiday crush Tuesday at Los Angeles International Airport, and officials say it’s not your imagination if things feel more crowded than ever.

The 19-day holiday period will see a 9.5-percent increase in passenger traffic over the same period in 2015, despite a number of delays due to a flight order issued by the Federal Aviation Administration, according to airport authorities.

Airline spokespersons urged travelers to call or check online sites before leaving for the airport to see if flights are running on time. It wasn’t clear if expected high winds around Southern California will affect flight operations.

Officials also urged travelers to arrive at the airport at least two hours before their flights during the busiest periods and three hours prior to international flights.

The holiday period — which runs from Dec. 16 through Jan. 3, 2017 — will see an estimated 4.3 million travelers pass through LAX, an additional 400,000 passengers over last year’s total of 3.9 million, according to Los Angeles World Airport spokeswoman Katherine Alvarado.

With all those passengers have come some flight delays.

Airport officials reported that from midnight to noon Monday, there have been a reported 53 arrival delays, 30 departure delays, two arrival and three departure flight cancellations. Alvarado said these delays were not caused by runway construction, but by an air traffic volume delay order issued by the FAA to manage the increase in flights added by airlines to reduce airport congestion.

The busiest days this holiday period were Dec. 21 and Dec. 23, with daily passenger totals nearing 239,000 travelers, according to Alvarado. The slowest days were Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and the upcoming New Year’s Eve is also expected to be lighter with an estimated 198,000 travelers, well under the daily average of 221,000 passengers.

LAX is the seventh-busiest airport in the world and the third-busiest in the United States.

The increased volume in passenger traffic has impacted flight operations in a number of ways, according to Alvarado:

— LAX averages 1,750 to 1,800 daily operations during this holiday travel period, and operations have increased to more than 1,900 a day during the busiest days;

— Increased aircraft to meet the volume demand;

— Gate management issues, airlines having difficulty managing the volume of aircraft and not having enough gate space;

— A shortage of airline gates causing planes to be held on the runway after arriving at LAX;

— Increased passenger volume added to wait times at airline ticket counters;

— Weather impacts at other U.S. airports that can cause arrival delays, which in turn can contribute to departure delays at LAX.

“The additional volume of passengers and management of terminal gates will be addressed with our airline partners,” said LAWA Chief of External Affairs Trevor Daley. “It is in all of our best interest to find solutions to better accommodate the increasing number of people who want to use LAX.”

— Staff and wire reports

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.