McCarran International Airport will have the fifth-largest percentage growth in passengers among major North American airports over the next 10 years, a leading aviation consultant says.
Michael Boyd, president and CEO of Boyd Group International, said McCarran traffic would grow 16.8 percent through 2023.
Boyd made the prediction in his annual North American Airport Forecast on the final day of his company’s International Aviation Forecast Summit that concluded Tuesday at Wynn Las Vegas. More than 400 airline, airport and aircraft manufacturing executives attended the three-day event, the first conference that the consultant staged in Las Vegas.
Boyd projected 21.6 million “enplanements” at the Las Vegas airport in 2014. An enplanement is a passenger boarding a departing flight.
McCarran tracks passenger numbers based on arrivals as well as departures.
Boyd’s forecast predicts passenger enplanements will rise to 24.5 million people by 2023.
Las Vegas trails Charlotte, N.C.; Los Angeles International Airport; Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport in projected percentage growth. The remaining airports in the top 10 are Newark, N.J.; Atlanta; Denver; Baltimore; and Detroit.
Charlotte, a hub city for the recently merged American Airlines, is projected to have 30.8 percent growth through 2023. Boyd is anticipating additional growth from Asia for Los Angeles; Dallas is another American Airlines hub; and Houston, a United Airlines hub, anticipates growth from Latin American countries.
Boyd said projections are based on population, economic factors, airline service trends, schedule and capacity shifts and unusual local factors.
For Las Vegas, the emphasis on attracting international tourism is a key factor. Boyd also is impressed with the city’s ability to attract small-town America by air through Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air, whose business model is to connect small cities to resort destinations, attracting customers with low base fares. McCarran is close to Boyd’s projections based on statistics that the Clark County Aviation Department released late Tuesday.
The department said that after seven months, McCarran has served 25 million passengers, or about 12.5 million enplanements, and is 2.2 percent ahead of 2013’s totals for the same period.
The airport reported 3.7 million passengers in July, 1.9 percent ahead of the July 2013 total.
International traffic for the month was up 17.6 percent over July 2013, and for seven months, it’s up 10.4 percent to 1.9 million passengers.
Mexican carriers Aeromexico and Volaris, Panama’s Copa Airlines and Canada’s WestJet and Air Canada continued to pace the international arrivals, all showing double-digit percentage increases from July 2013.
Southwest Airlines continued to be the leading driver of domestic traffic with 1.5 million passengers, up 2.5 percent from July 2013. The largest percentage increases in July among domestic carriers came from Virgin America, up 18.1 percent to 71,379 passengers and newly minted deep discounter Frontier Airlines, up 11.6 percent to 47,668 passengers for the month.
Contact reporter Richard N. Velotta at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.