A Southwest plane flies past the Holiday Inn Long Beach Airport hotel as it makes its final approach at Long Beach Airport. Photo by Brandon Richardson.

Long Beach Airport passenger numbers plummeted in April 2020, with a meager 6,300 travelers passing through the facility due to the emergence of COVID-19. After two years, the facility still has not reached its pre-pandemic level of customers.

Last month, 274,381 people traveled through Long Beach Airport, a 70.5% increase from the same month last year. The 2022 figure, however, is 7.6% behind April 2019, when 296,941 travelers used the airfield.

“Our commercial passenger numbers continue to reach closer and closer to pre-pandemic levels,” airport Director Cynthia Guidry said in an email to the Business Journal. “We saw strong demand during spring break and hope to see an even more robust summer travel season.”

Year-to-date, a total of 930,741 passengers have traveled through the small, municipal airport, 15.6% below the same period in 2019, which saw over 1.1 million passengers.

Nationwide, air travel in April 2022 was 9.5% below the same month in 2019, according to data from the Transportation Security Administration. Last month, over 63.4 million passengers traveled through U.S. airports compared to over 70 million three years ago.

In April 2019, 27 out of 30 days saw more than 2 million passengers. Last month, only 19 days saw over 2 million passengers.

Back in Long Beach, total air cargo grew 8.7% year-over-year to 1,187 tons. The figure remains over 28% below April 2019, when 1,655 tons of cargo were handled.

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