Business

LAX will be nation’s second-busiest airport as Labor Day traffic jumps 5%

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Passengers stand in a ticketing line at Los Angeles International Airport.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

The lines may be extra long at Los Angeles International Airport during the Labor Day holiday because of lower airfares, the strong economy and increased competition among airlines.

A projected 16.1 million people will fly on U.S.-based airlines during the Labor Day travel week, a 5% increase over the same period last year, according to Airlines for America, a trade group for the nation’s airlines.

The chief economist for the group, John Heimlich, attributes the growth to a thriving economy, increased household wealth and low ticket prices, among other factors.

The average domestic fare in the U.S. was $352 in the first quarter of 2017, a 5% drop from the same quarter last year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

The three busiest airports during the holiday period of Aug. 30 to Sept. 5 will be Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport and Chicago O’Hare International Airport, according to the trade group.

LAX officials have yet to predict the crowds for this Labor Day week, but the airport last year anticipated 817,000 travelers using the facility during the holiday period.

To accommodate the bump in passenger traffic, the airline industry is expected to add 133,000 seats a day from Aug. 30 to Sept. 5, mostly by using larger planes to serve the most popular destinations and increasing the flight frequency on those routes, the trade group said.

hugo.martin@latimes.com

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