Long Beach's municipal airport terminal handled 25% more passengers in June 2017 than it did in June 2016, and year-to-date numbers also are rising.

Airport officials released the June numbers today (Monday). Counting a passenger if they either get on or get off an airplane, Long Beach served 313,064 passengers compared to 250,421 in June 2016.

The year-to-date numbers are 1,849,953 passengers in the first half of 2017, a jump of nearly 50% compared to last year's count. 

Southwest Airlines, which ramped up service here this year, went from about 10,000 passengers in 2016 to almost 100,000 (97,422) so far this year. Delta's passenger count was up slightly, but American dropped by more than 15,000 passengers.

JetBlue, which holds the vast majority of flight slots, was the big difference maker. JetBlue served 124,965 passengers this June compared to 101,270 the same month last year. It has had 744,965 passengers so far in 2017 compared to 529,937 in the first six months of 2016.

Ironically, JetBlue's load factors — the percentage of seats filled, actually is lower in 2017. So far, those planes are at 79% of capacity according to airport figures. The average load in 2016 was 88%.

Finally, the total number of seats available on flights at Long Beach jumped to 1,182,132, compared to 734,468 for the first six months of 2016.

A number much in the news in the last couple of months, the curfew violations, are not available yet, according to an airport spokesperson. Those figures are part of the monthly noise reports, and are still being reviewed, she said.

For more information about the Long Beach Airport, go to www.lgb.org.

—Harry Saltzgaver

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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