LAX Soars in World Airport Rankings, Moves to Fourth Busiest in the World, No. 10 Busiest Cargo Operation Globally

03/13/2019 03:00 PM

LAX remains second-busiest airport in the U.S.
For Immediate Release:
March 13, 2019

Frederick Badlissi
(424) 646-5260
LAX remains second-busiest airport in the U.S., breaks 2017 record for cargo processed
(Los Angeles, CA) Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) has regained its position as the fourth busiest commercial airport in the world, while also growing in the global rankings for its cargo operations, according to Airports Council International (ACI) World data released today, which can be viewed here.

According to ACI World, LAX has surpassed Tokyo-Haneda Airport to become No. 4 in the world for overall passenger traffic and remains the second busiest airport in the United States. In 2018, LAX served a record 87.5 million guests, an increase of 3.5 percent from 2017.

"Los Angeles is a global crossroads and a place where everybody is welcome," said Mayor Eric Garcetti. "From reimagining our airport infrastructure to opening new routes that connect our city to the world, LAX's ascent is just another reminder that Los Angeles is continually reaching new heights."

"Los Angeles is a leading international destination for commerce and leisure travel, and the continued growth of passenger and cargo traffic in 2018 further affirms the importance of our global airport," said Deborah Flint, Chief Executive Officer, LAWA. "LAX’s record number of passengers and rise in world rankings is a testament to the discernible modernization and innovation that is underway, and the gold-standard service we take great pride in delivering"

LAX's total passenger count for 2018 was 87,534,384 travelers, comprised of 61,480,817 domestic passengers (up from 59,614,616 in 2017) and 26,053,567 international passengers (compared to 24,944,160 in 2017). 

The increase in passenger traffic is attributable to guest demand, increased aircraft sizes, and an expansion of destinations offered by LAX’s airline partners. From 2014 to 2018, LAX added 21 new airlines and 36 new nonstop routes to international destinations. Passenger traffic has grown consistently during this period, maintaining LAX’s position as the second-busiest commercial airport in the country. In 2018, new routes included Shenyang and Xian, China; and Buenos Aries. New domestic routes included Arcata/Eureka, Calif., and Flagstaff, Ariz.

In 2023, many passengers will get to experience the LAX Landside Access Modernization Program (LAMP), which will reduce traffic in LAX's central terminal area and provide a variety of easier ways to enter the airport. Upon completion, guests will enjoy a 2.25-mile elevated automated people mover (APM) that will connect LAX to a brand new consolidated rent-a-car facility and Los Angeles County Metropolitian Transit Authority's regional light rail system across six APM stations. 

LAX's world ranking for cargo operations also jumped three spaces to become No. 10 for the most cargo tonnage processed. In 2018, LAX processed a total of 2.2 million metric tons, an increase of 2.4 percent over 2017.

LAX's 2018 cargo figure of 2,209,850 millon metric tons breaks its previous record of 2.158 million metric tons in 2017. This increase reflects the critical role that LAX serves as a conduit for trade in the United States and beyond.

Every day, more than 1,200 flights carrying cargo arrive and depart from LAX. More than half of this number is international trade, served by carriers from the Asia-Pacific, North American, Latin American, European, and Middle Eastern regions. Cargo includes shipments sent on any one of the dedicated cargo airlines that land at LAX, or in the bellies of passenger aircraft.

LAX has more than 2.1 million square feet of space devoted to air cargo across 194 acres. The airport is home to the largest airport refrigeration facility and perishable center on the U.S. West Coast, maintained by Mercury Air Cargo, at a size of 12,700 square feet. FedEx also has an LAX presence with one of its major regional cargo centers. The LA-area cargo trade also engages more than 800 freight forwarders and 360 customs house brokers, who are in the L.A. area to expedite the region’s air cargo delivery.

LAWA is in the midst of modernizing its cargo facilities with the Century Cargo Redevelopment project, which will allow LAWA to maintain and enhance LAX’s air cargo market position among United States airports and the world. The aims of the project are to solicit innovative design and operational concepts which will allow LAWA to continue to modernize its LAX air cargo functionality and provide for additional capacity to help meet current and anticipated demand, including the creation of the first ever vertical cargo facility in the U.S.

About Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

LAX, the fourth-busiest airport in the world and second busiest in the United States, was named a top-10 U.S. airport by SKYTRAX. LAX served more than 87.5 million passengers in 2018 and offers an average of 700 daily nonstop flights to 109 cities in the U.S. and 1,281 weekly nonstop flights to 93 markets in 47 countries on 69 commercial airlines. LAX ranks 10th in the world in air cargo tonnage processed, with more than 2.4 million tons of air cargo. LAX handled 707,883 operations (landings and takeoffs) in 2018.   

LAX generated 620,600 jobs in Southern California, with labor income of $37.3 billion and economic output (business revenues) of more than $126.6 billion, according to an economic study based on 2014 operations. This activity added $6.2 billion to local and state revenues and $8.7 billion in federal tax revenues. The study also reported that LAX’s ongoing capital improvement program creates an additional 121,640 annual jobs with labor income of $7.6 billion and economic output of $20.3 billion; $966 million in state and local taxes; and $1.6 billion in federal tax revenues. 


LAX was honored as having the “Best Overall Customer Service Program” by Airports Council International-North America; named the “Best Airport for Breastfeeding Moms” by Mamava; selected for the Top 10 “Best of the U.S.’s Big Airports” (Wall Street Journal) and “Most Pet-Friendly Airports in the U.S. (Mental Floss); named the second-most improved airport in the U.S. by JD Power; received an “Innovation Award” from the L.A. Better Business Challenge for its Central Utility Plant; and named  a “Business Leader in Air Quality” by the South Coast Air Quality Management District.


LAX is also the second-most popular airport in the world to appear on Instagram, according to LAX is part of a system of two Southern California airports – along with Van Nuys general aviation – that are owned and operated by Los Angeles World Airports, a proprietary department of the City of Los Angeles that receives no funding from the City’s general fund.  

For more information about LAX, please visit or follow on Twitter  @flyLAXAirport, on Facebook at, and on YouTube at  

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