A Southwest aircraft comes in for a landing at Long Beach Airport Wednesday, June 22, 2022. Photo by Brandon Richardson.

The recovery for airlines since passenger volumes plummeted early in the pandemic has been slow, and is not over, but Long Beach’s small, municipal airport continues to fare better than the national trend, coming within 4.1% of pre-pandemic levels last month compared to June 2019, data shows.

In June, 294,315 people traveled through Long Beach Airport, compared to 306,937 during the same month in 2019, according to city data released Tuesday. Last month’s figure represents a 1,062% increase from June 2020, when 25,326 passengers went through the airport.

Passenger traffic at Long Beach Airport has improved greatly from February, which saw volumes 27% below the same month in 2020, which was the last full month of operations before the pandemic set in. May passenger traffic was 7.4% below 2019 levels, while April was 7.6% below and March 6.7% below.

“Long Beach Airport passenger activity in June was significantly closer to the pre-pandemic level during the same time in 2019,” airport Director Cynthia Guidry said in an emailed statement. “We’re pleased travelers continue to make LGB their airport of choice this summer.”

Nationwide, passenger volumes in June remained almost 11% below pre-pandemic levels, according to data from the U.S. Transportation Security Administration. Last month, over 68.1 million people traveled through U.S. airports, compared to over 76.5 million in June 2019.

In Long Beach, which has a noise ordinance that limits the number of daily flights to 53, airlines are not yet flying all available slots, according to airport spokesperson Kate Kuykendall.

“Although there are some variations on different days of the week, most days our commercial airline carriers are flying 44 flights,” Kuykendall said in an email. The figure does not count one daily flight by UPS for cargo delivery.

Last month, 1,083 tons of cargo were handled at the Long Beach airport, down 39% from 2019.

Brandon Richardson is a reporter and photojournalist for the Long Beach Business Journal.