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McCarran sees strong growth in February passenger volume

30 March 2012

LAS VEGAS - Passenger counts at McCarran International Airport increased for the second straight month in February while Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air continued its double-digit growth in passenger traffic.

According to figures released Thursday by the Clark County Department of Aviation, 3,108,106 passengers passed through the airport in February, a 6.6 percent increase from 2,915,992 passengers in February 2011.

For the first two months of 2012, more than 6.28 million passengers traveled through McCarran, an increase of 3.3 percent compared with the 6 million who came through the airport during the same time frame last year.

Brian Gordon, principal with business advisory firm Applied Analysis in Las Vegas, said the February airport passenger figures benefited from an extra day of business.

"The thing we have to remember is we had a leap year, which gave us one more day than last year," Gordon said. "Adjusted for that one day, the year-over-year figure is closer to 3 percent."

Gordon said the February numbers demonstrate a continued demand for travel to Las Vegas and "that's a positive for the tourism industry overall."

Allegiant, which connects Las Vegas with smaller regional markets, as well as Los Angeles and San Diego, carried 175,928 passengers in February, a 26.3 percent increase compared with a year ago, when the airline carried 139,263.

Southwest Airlines continued to be McCarran's largest air carrier. The Dallas-based airline flew 1,174,634 passengers in and out of Las Vegas in February, a 2.7 percent increase from 1,143,595 passengers in February 2011.

For the first two months of the year, Southwest has flown more than 2.38 million passengers in and out of McCarran, a 3.3 percent decline.

Delta is the No. 2 carrier at McCarran with 287,826 passengers in February and 590,252 through the year's first two months.

While Southwest sister AirTran, US Airways and United Airlines posted passenger-count declines for the month, Virgin America and JetBlue Airways reported double-digit percentage growth.

Spirit Airlines continued its growth at McCarran, carrying 130,606 passengers last month, a 407.1 percent increase over February 2011.

McCarran reported 173,527 international passengers for the month, a 20.2 percent increase from February 2011. Seven international carriers, Aeromexico, British Airways, Korean Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Vivaaerobus, Volaris and WestJet Airlines, reported double-digit percentage increases.