Las Vegas Airport break the 40 million passenger barrier in 2011

Las Vegas International Airport posted its best monthly passenger counts of the year in October and is on a pace to break the 40 million passenger barrier in 2011, said a report released today.

The Las Vegas airport, the nation’s seventh busiest, served 3.7 million passengers in October, a 4.5 percent increase over the total a year ago. The previous high for the year of 3.65 million passengers was reported in May.

Las Vegas International Airport passenger totals last year dipped below 40 million for the first time since 2004. The airport’s highest annual passenger total occurred in 2007, when 47.7 million people passed through the airport’s gates, prompting officials to begin work on Terminal 3 to manage expected growth beyond the airport’s 53 million capacity.

Continued strong numbers in international arrivals fueled the October increase. Based partly on those figures and the overall favorable trend in McCarran traffic, a Las Vegas-based analyst is projecting unprecedented occupancy rates and higher average daily room rates.

A research report by Union Gaming said a 5.5 percent increase in visitation, a 4.4 percent rise in McCarran arrivals and a 9 percent increase in taxi trips from the airport, coupled with projections of minimal expansion in hotel rooms next year, should result in historically high occupancy rates.

“We estimate 84.9 percent occupancy for full-year 2011 (vs. 80.4 percent in 2010), 88.1 percent in 2012 and forecast Las Vegas exceeding peak occupancy in 2013 at 91.1 percent,” says the report, issued today.

With demand growing against stable supply, Union expects average daily room rate growth of 8 percent in both 2012 and 2013. Presently, the average rate is at $104.52 and could rise to $111.57 in 2013. The city’s historic high was $119.43 in 2007.

International passenger traffic to McCarran continued its double-digit percentage increase trend from 2010.

McCarran reported a 30.8 percent increase to 243,530 international passengers, with most of the growth coming from Calgary, Alberta-based WestJet. That airline posted a 32.7 percent increase to 92,213 passengers at McCarran.

New service from Mexican discounter Volaris and 25 percent increases from both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic Airways from Great Britain also contributed to the increase.

Among domestic carriers, Spirit Airlines, with its expanded Las Vegas presence, paced percentage growth over October 2010 with a 267.7 percent increase to 146,670 passengers.

Double-digit percentage increases were reported by JetBlue Airways (26.7 percent to 97,258), Alaska Airlines (25.4 percent to 112,376), Allegiant Air (13.8 percent to 176,595), Sun Country (12.8 percent to 12,279), Frontier (12.1 percent to 61,952) and US Airways (10 percent to 211,720).

Market leader Southwest Airlines showed a fractional decrease of 0.4 percent to 1.4 million for the month, but is still on pace to bring more than 15 million passengers to the city in 2011.

source: 2011/dec/01/mccarran-traffic-hits-high-october/