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Gaming Guru

Tim O'Reiley

Airline cost for using McCarran to stabilize

5 June 2013

LAS VEGAS -- The costs for airlines to use McCarran International Airport will stabilize in the coming year after several years of a sharp run-up.

The Clark County Commission approved a new schedule of fees and charges that will add up to $12.04 for each passenger who enters an airplane, a 2-cent decline from this year.

Included in the number, to go into effect for the fiscal year that begins July 1, is a mix of increases and decreases for items such as counter rentals, landing fees based on the weight of the jets, gate use fees and parking for planes in areas away from the terminal.

As recently as 2006, McCarran was one of the cheaper big airports at $4.62 per passenger, but that figure has more than doubled and is now above average.

Not only has the airport taken on more debt to build projects such as Terminal 3, but the lower passenger counts compared with pre-recession times has raised operating expenses on a per-passenger basis.

In addition, previously strong growth in concession rentals and fees has stalled, shifting more of the burden to the airlines.

The airlines closely watch cost per passenger because it affects the profitability of flights, particularly in a leisure market such as Las Vegas where average revenue is lower than at business destinations.

However, only Allegiant Air has said publicly that the cost per passenger would affect its scheduling decisions.