LAX is the fifth busiest airport in the world, second in the United States in terms of commercial passenger volumes, serving more than 84.6 million passengers in 2017. LAX ranks 13th in the world and fourth in the U.S. in air cargo tonnage processed. LAX handled 700,362 operations (landings and takeoffs) in 2017.
Air Cargo Operations, Calendar Year 2017
Freight and mail cargo at LAX increased by 8.3% in calendar year 2017 as compared to calendar year 2016. Freight and mail were up by 173,973 tons and 10,202 tons, respectively. Domestic cargo was up by 43,739 tons or 5.0% and international cargo was up by 140,401 tons or 10.5%. Federal Express was the top air freight carrier accounting for 16.4% of total freight cargo, followed by American Airlines with 4.5%. United Airlines was the top mail carrier accounting for 22.7% of total mail cargo.
LAX Air Cargo (in US Tons)
A majority of the more than 1,900 daily flights that fly through LAX carry at least some cargo. In addition to air cargo transported in passenger aircraft, nearly 30 dedicated-cargo airlines operate at LAX.
An economic study based on 2014 operations reported LAX generated 620,600 jobs in Southern California with labor income of $37.3 billion and economic output (business revenues) of more than $126.6 billion. This activity added $6.2 billion to local and state revenues and $8.7 billion in federal tax revenues. The study also reported that LAX’s ongoing capital-improvement program creates an additional 121,640 annual jobs with labor income of $7.6 billion and economic output of $20.3 billion, $966 million in state and local taxes, and $1.6 billion in federal tax revenues.
Los Angeles US Customs District Ranked #1
Los Angeles International Airport is a key transportation center for one of the world’s most dynamic economies. In 2017, the Los Angeles U.S. Customs District again ranked #1 among the nation’s 46 districts with two-way international trade valued at a record $431.38 billion. LAX alone was responsible for nearly $114.4 billion in exports and imports. See LA Trade Numbers for more information.
The Southern California region accounts for a majority of the state’s multi-billion dollars in international trade. Many of the largest industrial companies headquartered in the state are located in the greater Los Angeles area. Los Angeles is a leading high-technology center for the nation in the entertainment, electronics, biomedical, computers, and aerospace industries.
The convenience and efficiency of LAX as a major distribution center for air cargo is supported by the ready availability of vital allied services, especially for Pacific Rim traders. The LA-area cargo trade also engages more than 800 freight forwarders and 360 customs house brokers, who are in the LA area to expedite the region’s air cargo delivery. U.S. banks with international operations have offices in Los Angeles, as do foreign banking institutions.
Latest Analysis of the Trade Numbers
In 2017, the value of total exports and imports topped $114.37 billion, the seventh consecutive LAX record. That is the longest ongoing record among any of the nation’s top 10 trade gateways – the more than 450 U.S. airports, seaports and border crossings where trade occurs.
That $114.37 billion in trade was powered by $28.43 billion with top-ranked China and included another 226 nations. For the second consecutive year, LAX trade with its top 22 trade partners topped $1 billion each.
Among LAX’s top 10 trade partners, seven are Asian nations and three European. Those 10 accounted for slightly more than two-thirds of all LAX trade in 2017. In addition to No. 1 China, at 24.86 percent of all LAX trade in 2017, they are Hong Kong (7.19 percent), Japan (6.86), India (6.02), Germany (4.63), Taiwan (4.34), Switzerland (3.94), the United Kingdom (3.45), Singapore (3.17) and Thailand (3.16).
The record-setting 2017 total marked a robust 11.38 percent increase over the previous year and 31.57 percent above the total from five years earlier, a faster five-year growth rate than Chicago’s O’Hare International, New York’s JFK International, Miami International Airport, Dallas-Fort Worth International and other leading U.S. airports.
For the third time in the last four years, LAX registered a trade surplus with the world, and for the second time in the last four years, that surplus topped $1 billion.
Among the airport’s $57.71 billion in exports, a record 10 categories topped $1 billion each, led by computer chips, civilian aircraft and parts, and diamonds. Exports in the top 67 categories topped $100 million in 2017, and the top 240 topped $10 million.
Two markets, China and Hong Kong, received 35 percent each of the computer chips exported from LAX, which accounted for 12 percent of the value of all exports. LAX led the nation in computer chip exports in 2017, with 17 percent of the nation’s total.
Civilian aircraft and parts, LAX’s second most valuable export, accounted for 10 percent of the value of all exports. Of the total, 15 percent went to Japan, 11 percent to Taiwan, 9.1 percent to France and 8.4 percent to the United Kingdom. LAX ranked No. 11 among the nation’s airports, seaports and border crossings in this category.
Diamonds, LAX’s third most valuable export, accounted for 8.2 percent of the value of all of the airports’ exports in 2017. Seventy-two percent went to India, with another 11 percent to Hong Kong, 9.1 percent to Israel and 5.4 percent to Belgium. LAX ranked second to JFK International for diamond exports in 2017.
Among the airport’s $56.66 billion in imports, a record nine categories topped $1 billion, led by computers, cell phones and related equipment, and diamonds. Imports in the top 72 categories topped $100 million, with imports in the top 223 above $10 million.