Air passengers up slightly over July at McCarran, but return is slow

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Air passenger traffic at McCarran International Airport increased slightly in August compared to July.

But it was a relatively small increase, and passenger levels are still down about 60.8% from levels a year ago before the COVID-19 pandemic.

A McCarran news release reports 1.7 million arriving and departing passengers in August, compared with 1.6 million in July and 4.4 million in August of 2019.

Year-to-date figures show air passengers down 56% for the same period in 2019.

More Las Vegas resorts have opened over the past two months, but officials have noted that much of the tourism traffic is coming by car from Arizona and California. Evidence of that California traffic has been apparent on weekends, when the familiar Interstate 15 backups have appeared again as gamblers head home.

McCarran’t five busiest carriers report varying levels, with Southwest airlines operating 54.3% below August 2019 passenger counts. Spirit (-43.4%), American (-48.2%) and Frontier (-46%) have fared slightly better. Delta Airlines (-72.8%) has been hit hardest.

The report also shows effects from the closure of Sundance Helicopters. Maverick Helicopters has established a lead over other helicopter tour companies, nearly returning to pre-COVID-19 passenger levels. Signature is close behind in passenger counts, but has not returned to normal business levels.

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