McCarran Airport starting to see traffic increase

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A Las Vegas showgirl hands an arriving passenger a mask at McCarran Airport on June 26.
A Las Vegas showgirl hands an arriving passenger a mask at McCarran Airport on June 26.

Airlines serving McCarran Airport are increasing their flight schedules in response to a sustained passenger demand anticipated in the coming months, according to the airport and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

In the latest statistics available, 391,712 passengers went through the airport in May, a 91.5% drop from May 2019. There has been a 48.9% drop in traffic for the year through May compared with the same time period last year. 

At its ebb during the pandemic, during which Las Vegas resorts were shut down from mid-March to June 4, McCarran had only 110 scheduled arrivals for a single day. In May, the top 10 domestic carriers at McCarran combined to average 145 scheduled arrivals per day. In June, that total rose to almost 200. It is expected to rise to more than 280 per day in July and more than 330 in August, an airport spokesman said.  The top 10 domestic carriers combined to average 475 scheduled arrivals per day from May through August at McCarran last year.

"McCarran International Airport is at the forefront of the Las Vegas comeback story," said Rosemary Vassiliadis, Clark County director of aviation. "The significant investment in increased scheduling shows the confidence our airline partners have in travelers' demand to return to our incredible destination, and it underscores the hard work being done to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 here at the airport."

In addition to enhanced and more-prominent cleaning, McCarran introduced a campaign, "LAS All In," to promote health and safety in May. Masks are mandatory throughout the facility and all public places in Nevada.

Southwest Airlines is expected to have the largest jump in summer service, averaging 156 daily arrivals in August compared with 87 in May. Delta Air Lines will increase from an average of 10 arrivals a day in May to 32 in August.

"The reopening of Las Vegas was stronger than we expected," said Steve Hill, CEO and president of the LVCVA. "We greatly appreciate our airline partners recognizing the demand by investing in increased flights as we continue to open up additional casino-resorts and attractions, and welcome our visitors back."

JetBlue will launch twice-daily service between McCarran and Newark (N.J.) Liberty Airport in August. Spirit Airlines is bringing back daily service from Philadelphia, Tampa, Fla., and Columbus, Ohio, this month. Select foreign markets in Canada and Mexico have also returned.

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