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High winds, heavy traffic cause delays at Los Angeles airport

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Holiday travel at Los Angeles International Airport was snarled in a bottleneck of high volume and bad weather on Thursday, a spokesman for the facility said, as LAX became the nation's most troubled airline hub ahead of Christmas.

LAX had more canceled and delayed flights than any other U.S. airport on Thursday, according to tracking website FlightAware.com.

From midnight to noon, it had nearly 200 delays and 55 canceled flights, Los Angeles World Airports spokesman Frederick Badlissi said in a telephone interview.

Those figures broke down as 33 canceled departures, 22 canceled arrivals, 96 delayed departures and 78 delayed arrivals, he said.

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The airport on the Pacific Coast was beset with heavy winds on Wednesday and early on Thursday, which forced flights to arrive from the west, the opposite of their normal route, and led to disruptions on the tarmac, he said.

Also, volume is up at LAX this holiday season, which expects to have 4.3 million passengers pass through its gates between Dec. 16 and Jan. 3 compared to 3.9 million last year.

"You've got volume of planes, you've got volume of passengers and you've also got the weather," Badlissi said. He added that they had combined in a "perfect storm" of travel disruptions.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by James Dalgleish)

 
 
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