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McCarran slips in national passenger traffic list

16 March 2007

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Airlines in the United States carried more than 744 million people in 2006, up slightly less than 1 percent from 2005.

But despite the overall uptick, or partly due to the increase, McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas fell from fifth to sixth in passenger traffic rankings.

The numbers come from the Airports Council International and the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics, which released 2006 traffic figures Thursday.

Transportation department figures show American Airlines carried 98.1 million people overall, the most passengers for the fifth straight year. For the third consecutive year, Southwest Airlines carried the most domestic passengers with 96.3 million people, including 15.4 million people to and from McCarran.

But even as McCarran traffic increased to 46.2 million people last year, it slipped behind Denver International Airport on the list of busiest airports.

Airports in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles and Dallas were also ahead of Las Vegas on the domestic list.

McCarran spokesman Chris Jones said traffic in Las Vegas remains strong but McCarran slipped because Denver grew at a faster pace.

McCarran's reign as No. 5 lasted just one year. Since 2000, Denver held that spot every year except in 2005.

Worldwide, McCarran was the 11th-busiest in 2006, behind overseas airports in London; Tokyo; Paris; Frankfurt, Germany; and Beijing and just ahead of Amsterdam, Holland.