Passenger travel in and out of Long Beach Airport continues to increase as Southwest Airlines adds more routes, but it remains well below pre-pandemic levels, new data shows.

In February, 257,466 travelers flew into and out of Long Beach, up nearly 20% from the same month last year. The figure, however, remains 7.4% below February 2020, when 278,099 passengers used the airfield.

“Year-to-date, passenger traffic at LGB is up 27% compared to the same time last year, and we expect this upward trend to continue as we enter into a strong spring break and summer travel season,” airport Director Cynthia Guidry said in a statement to the Business Journal.

Through the end of February, 517,665 travelers passed through the small municipal airport, compared to 406,772 during the same period in 2022. In January and February 2020, meanwhile, a total of 566,169 passengers traveled through Long Beach—weeks before the pandemic would bring the industry to a grinding halt.

Southwest, the airport’s leading carrier, recently began flying several new routes, including Nashville, New Orleans, Salt Lake City, Orlando and Kansas City, which have all contributed to increased passenger volumes. The airline is slated to begin flying to Colorado Springs, El Paso and Albuquerque this summer, followed by Portland and Boise in October.

Nationwide air travel was up 25% year-to-date by the end of February compared to the same period last year, U.S. Transportation Security Data shows. National air travel was up 18.3% in February over the same month last year but remained down nearly 4% from pre-pandemic levels.

Southwest announces nonstop flights from Long Beach to Portland, Boise