A Southwest plane lands at Long Beach Airport. Photo by Brandon Richardson.

Passenger volumes at Long Beach Airport remain well below pre-pandemic levels, but officials said Tuesday they are already seeing a boost during the spring.

During February, 202,906 people traveled through the small municipal airport, nearly quadruple the same month last year, when only 51,305 passed through the facility.

“We are already experiencing a boost in spring travel,” said Long Beach Airport Director Cynthia Guidry, “and look forward to an even more solid report for March.”

Last month’s figure, however, remains 27% below February 2020, which was the last full month of operations before the onset of the pandemic.

National travel recovery shows similar trends, according to data from the U.S. Transportation Security Administration. Throughout February, 48.5 million people passed through U.S. airports, up 48.76% from the same month last year. Air travel nationwide remains 24.6% below pre-pandemic levels, when about 60.5 million people flew out of U.S. airports.

Total air cargo inbound and outbound at Long Beach Airport totaled 1,097 tons in February, up 17.2% compared to the 936 tons during the same month last year. Cargo levels, though, remain 25.4% below February 2020.

Long Beach officials anticipate opening the airport’s new ticketing lobby in the coming weeks. The project is part of the Phase II Terminal Area Improvements, which also will feature a new baggage claim area, car rental hub and meet-and-greet plaza.

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