updated 10/15/2010 8:16:18 AM ET 2010-10-15T12:16:18

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 15, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is experiencing strong growth in overseas air service with airlines adding over 160 international weekly flights during the last three years, according to officials at Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), the City department that owns and operates LAX and two other Southern California airports.

International-only traffic at LAX is up 7.5 percent during the last 12 months ending August 2010 to 10,837,839 passengers from 10,080,700 of August 2009. However, international passengers are still below the 11,685,560 12-month total ending August 2007 before the global economic downturn impacted air travel.

 "Since late 2009, we have seen a slow increase in total domestic and international passenger volume due to some improvement in the global economy – especially in the international sector," said LAWA Executive Director Gina Marie Lindsey. "Promising indicators for the immediate future are the start of new service by existing airlines and airlines new to LAX. The next several months will confirm the extent to which the recent upward movement in traffic is the foundation of a sustained pattern."     

Since 2007, LAX has seen more new international flights than any other U.S. airport, except for New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK).

During the past three years, 12 airlines, including four carriers that had not served LAX before (Airberlin, Emirates, Volaris and V Australia) began nonstop service to overseas destinations including: Air New Zealand to Rarotonga, Cook Islands; Airberlin to Dusseldorf, Germany; Alitalia resumed service to Rome, Italy, following an eight-year absence from LAX; Emirates to Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Copa Airlines to Panama City, Panama; Delta Airlines to Sydney, Australia; Korean Airlines to Sao Paulo, Brazil; Volaris Airlines to Guadalajara, Morelia, Mexico City/Toluca and Zacatecas, Mexico; United Airlines to San Jose del Cabo, Mexico; V Australia to Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney; Virgin America to Cancun, Mexico, and Toronto, Canada; and West Jet to Edmonton, Canada.

Seven additional airlines (including Turkish Airlines that has not served LAX before) are scheduled to start daily service to new markets during the next few months or to increase service on existing routes, including:  All Nippon Airways and Delta Airlines, both to Tokyo-Haneda International Airport, beginning Nov. 11 and Feb. 11, respectively; Emirates with a second daily flight to Dubai beginning Oct. 31; and Turkish Airlines to Istanbul, Turkey, beginning March 11. Within the last week, the U.S. Department of Transportation approved the applications of American Airlines and United Airlines for each to begin daily nonstop flights to Shanghai, China, next year on April 5 and May 20, respectively. Following a 13-year absence at LAX, Iberia will resume service to Madrid, Spain, beginning April 20, with four weekly flights.   

These airlines represent an increase of 162 weekly international flights at LAX since 2007, of which 96 flights serve transoceanic routes using wide-body aircraft.

According to a 2007 study by the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation -- an organization responsible for attracting, retaining and increasing businesses and jobs in Los Angeles County -- one daily, transoceanic wide-body flight to/from LAX generates an estimated $623 million in economic output annually, and sustains 3,120 direct and indirect jobs in Southern California with annual wages of $156 million. According to airport officials, the international air service already started during the past three years now generates $10.7 billion annually in economic benefits to the Southern California region.

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is the seventh busiest airport in the world, offering more than 565 daily flights to 81 destinations in the U.S. and over 1,000 weekly nonstop flights to 66 international destinations on over 75 carriers. LAX served 56.5 million passengers and handled more than 1.6 million tons of air cargo in 2009. LAX is part of a system of three Southern California airports – along with LA/Ontario International and Van Nuys general aviation – that are owned and operated by Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), a department of the City of Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles World Airports logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=7299

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