McCarran passenger count drops 53% in March compared to 2019 levels

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The dramatic drop in air travel that came with the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March, as passenger traffic at McCarran International Airport dropped more than half — 53% — compared to 2019 levels.

That dip has continued into April, and is clear in year-to-year numbers already, as passenger traffic for 2020 has already dropped by 15.5% for the year, according to statistics released Thursday.

Our file video is a reminder of how hard airlines were hit.

International flights saw a greater drop than domestic flights, falling 58.2% in March compared to 52.8% domestic flights.

McCarran’s Top 5 carriers — American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Southwest Airlines and Spirit Airlines — saw big drops in Las Vegas. Southwest, which carries more passengers in and out of McCarran than any other airline, had passenger counts 62% lower than in March 2019.

Here’s a look at the March and year-to-date counts:

The realities of stay-at-home rules and restrictions on some travel led Southwest to cut 40% of its flights by the end of March.

The airport received $195 million as part of COVID-19 relief efforts.

McCarran also dealt directly with COVID-19 when the FAA air traffic control tower was shut down in mid-March when an employee tested positive. Air traffic was directed from a radar tower until the primary tower reopened.

The airport has consolidated operations as flights decreased, and even parking lots have been consolidated.

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