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Howard Stutz

McCarran saw more traffic this May than any month since 2008

26 June 2015

McCarran International Airport had its busiest month in more than seven years in May because of special events on the Strip and an increased number of flights added by the airlines to the market.

The Clark County Aviation Department said 3.99 million passengers used McCarran during May, a 5.7 percent increase over May 2014.

The raw total was the largest number of passengers McCarran has seen in a single month since the airport brought in 4.12 million passengers in March 2008.

Similarly, the percentage increase was the largest figure since an 8.7 percent hike in September 2011.

Through May, McCarran has seen more than 18.1 million passengers, an increase of 3.3 percent over the first five months of 2014.

Aviation Director Rosemary Vassiliadis said the month benefited from a combination of factors.

Convention attendance in Las Vegas was up significantly in May, fueled by both large and small trade shows. Meanwhile, the championship fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Grand Las Vegas on May 2, plus the two-weekend Rock in Rio concert series, brought thousands of visitors to the market.

“The events during May created a tremendous demand for this market,” Vassiliadis said.

Vassiliadis said airlines operating at McCarran have been slowly increasing the number of seats in and out of the market while adding flights to and from different destinations.

“Over the years, the demand and the supply have been coming back,” she said. “We’re in a good place.”

Southwest Airlines — McCarran’s largest air carrier — often uses larger Boeing 737-800 jets in Las Vegas, and in May, its aircraft were more full compared with the same month a year ago.

In May, Southwest, which operates more than 200 flights a day at the airport, saw a 3.9 percent increase in passenger counts.

On a smaller scale, Frontier Airlines has doubled its seat count, going from an average of 39 flights per week in May 2014 to 103 flights per week this May. Its passenger volume increased 140.9 percent from a year ago.

Domestic air carriers accounted for almost 3.6 million passengers in May, a 5.4 percent increase from a year ago.

On the international front, passenger traffic was up 7.5 percent in May as McCarran saw increased flights from such carriers as Edelweiss, AeroMexico and Thomas Cook Airlines.

Vassiliadis said McCarran’s Terminal 3, which opened three years ago, is seeing increased use.

“The airlines are putting more seats into the market because they are able to fill them,” Vassiliadis said. “That’s an encouraging sign.”