McCarran passenger counts up for eighth straight month

Passenger traffic at McCarran International Airport climbed for the eighth straight month in April as 3.6 million people passed through the Las Vegas airport’s gates.

The Clark County Aviation Department reported Wednesday that passenger counts were 1.7 percent ahead of the number recorded in April 2013. For the year, passenger totals are ahead 3 percent to 13.7 million travelers.

International traffic counts continued to pace McCarran’s growth with 287,425 passengers, an 8 percent jump from a year ago. Domestic passenger totals were up 1.3 percent to 3.24 million. The remaining 81,916 passengers flew air tour and helicopter flights from the west side of the airport. Tour traffic was down 0.6 percent for the month from last year.

In four months in 2014, the number of international passengers arriving at McCarran already has pushed past 1 million people.

Southwest Airlines continued to lead the way at McCarran with 1.4 million passengers, 0.8 percent ahead of April 2013. For the year, the Dallas-based carrier is up 1.5 percent over last year to 5.3 million passengers.

Southwest added five more daily flights in April, boosting the number of seats it has to the market by 3.8 percent.

Delta Air Lines fell a notch with a spring schedule reduction and is now the third-busiest carrier behind Southwest and United. Its passenger counts fell 8.6 percent in April to 306,814 as a result of having 17 fewer flights a week, reducing seat capacity by 9.1 percent since March.

Spirit Airlines more than made up some of Delta’s declines with a 19.4 percent increase in passengers in April to 177,751. Spirit fueled the increase with fuller planes on more routes. It increased its number of weekly flights by 20 since April 2013, adding to seat capacity of 14.1 percent. In the first four months of 2014, Spirit passenger counts are up 24.2 percent and the airline is now the fifth busiest McCarran operator.

United Airlines, up 9.9 percent in April to 339,014 passengers, may have a slight drop by fall with plans to end its route between Las Vegas and Fresno on commuter partner Skywest Airlines. United confirmed flights would end after the Labor Day weekend.

Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air continues to focus its energy on East Coast operations with McCarran passenger numbers down 8.2 percent to 173,954 for the month. For the first four months of 2014, Allegiant counts are off 4.4 percent.

On the international side, Canadian carriers continue to impress. Air Canada had 58,315 passengers, up 26.4 percent from a year ago. Canada’s flagship carrier took market share from WestJet Airlines, McCarran’s top international operator, which had 96,045 passengers for the month, a 1 percent decline from April 2013.

Double-digit increases in passengers also were recorded by Mexican carriers Interjet (73.1 percent), Aeromexico (54.1 percent) and Grupo Aereo Monterrey Magnicharters (42.1 percent) in April. Discounter Volaris was off 1.6 percent to 18,172 passengers.

Panama’s Copa Airlines passenger counts were up 42.1 percent from last year to 11,961.

Contact reporter Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow him on Twitter @RickVelotta.