Passenger volumes at Long Beach Airport rebounded in January after an unusually slow December, but they remained well below pre-pandemic levels.

Last month, 260,199 people traveled through the small, municipal airport, down 9.7% from the same month in 2020, which saw 288,070 passengers less than two months before the pandemic would ground almost every plane in the U.S.

December passenger volumes—247,285 travelers—in Long Beach were far below expectations due to mass cancellations by Southwest during the peak holiday travel period.

At the national level, meanwhile, passenger volumes came within 1% of 2020 levels. Last month, 60,548,344 people passed through U.S. Transportation Security Administration checkpoints compared to 61,172,421 during the same month in 2020.

“With the addition of new supplemental flight slots, we expect stronger volumes starting in late spring and summer,” Airport Director Cynthia Guidry said in a statement.

Earlier this month, Southwest was awarded five additional flight slots at the noise-controlled airfield, bringing its total to 45 out of the airport’s allotted 58. The carrier announced three additional daily, nonstop routes—to Colorado Springs, El Paso and Albuquerque—which all begin this summer.

Southwest also is bringing back its seasonal daily, nonstop service to Maui next month and is adding a second daily flight to Dallas in June.

https://lbbusinessjournal.com/aerospace/southwest-long-beach-colorado-springs-el-paso-albuquerque

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