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Chris Jones

McCarran Flier Count on Pace for Another Record

27 July 2005

With half a year now in the books, Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport is well on its way to setting a 12-month passenger record for the second consecutive year.

On Tuesday, the Clark County Aviation Department released June passenger data showing that more than 3.8 million air travelers arrived or departed from the nation's sixth-busiest airport last month, up 7.9 percent from June 2004.

Data also showed McCarran is on pace to host more than 43.5 million passengers this year, which would easily eclipse its current high of nearly 41.5 million annual passengers set last year.

Tempe, Ariz.-based America West Airlines ranked second in June's overall passenger count, but its 697,387 tally was the best improvement among McCarran's major carriers.

That total was 17.6 percent better than the previous June's 592,856 count.

Separately, America West's sixth-month count topped 3.7 million, an 11.7 percent gain compared with the first half of last year.

"We've really looked to Vegas based on the strength we've seen there," Dion Flannery, America West's vice president of scheduling and route planning, said Tuesday from Arizona.

"In some markets, you have to cut back on flights due to reductions in performance, but the demand has been there" in Las Vegas, he added.

From Jan. 1 through June 30, the airline's Las Vegas departures grew from 37,710 to 48,110, an increase of 27.6 percent. Those figures includes flights operated by America West Express.

While Flannery did not have research data to explain why so many customers of his and other airlines are buying tickets to and from McCarran, he suspects obvious factors are driving the traffic.

"The city's popularity, brand recognition, new hotels and even the poker tournaments," he said.

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines was again McCarran's top carrier in June with 1.17 million passengers, up 4 percent. Year-to-date, its 6.75 million tally was up 6 percent.

United Airlines' and its low-fare subsidiary, Ted, ranked third on the month and year with 285,583 and 1.64 million passengers, respectively. Both totals were above last year's.

American Airlines' 221,180 June passengers ranked fourth despite a slight 1.1 percent gain. But its 1.27 million count through June was down less than 1 percent.

Delta Air Lines rounded out the top five with 217,378 June passengers, down 8.4 percent.

Year-to-date, the Atlanta-based carrier's 1.4 million count was up 3 percent.