Schedules show slight advance in air passenger counts for first half of ‘14

After a static 2013 for passenger counts at McCarran International Airport, the first half of this year has started to shape up as only a slight improvement.

Schedules loaded into airline reservation systems show a 1.3 percent increase in the number of seats coming into Las Vegas during the six months, according to the travel data firm Innovata. This comes to 168,000 more seats during the period, or about 135,000 more visitors assuming that 80 percent get filled, a level most airlines now achieve or exceed.

Although the year starts off faster than the average, the gains trail off toward midyear.

McCarran’s in-house statistics show a similar pattern, with a 2.3 percent capacity increase during the convention-heavy January, followed by 1.6 percent in February and 1.7 percent in March. Airport managers do not look any further forward than one quarter, at least for public consumption, because they feel that the accuracy decreases after that.

However, the variation between the two sources amounts to 0.3 points or less for comparable months.

Either way, the numbers point to a visitor industry facing continued slow growth.

During 2013 through November, the visitor counts rose only 0.1 percent compared to 2012, as counted by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, almost identical to the 0.2 percent rise in McCarran’s passenger counts. The authority reports show the overall hotel occupancy rate went up only 0.2 percent and the number of nights each room was filled went down 0.4 percent.

Still, said Andrew Klebanow, a principal at Gaming Market Advisors in Las Vegas, “Any growth in the number of seats into the market is going to help. One point three percent? Great, we’ll take it.”

This comes against a backdrop, he said, of “no new must-see properties” that have opened in the past couple of years to stoke demand.

The importance of the airline seats, known as lift in the industry, extends beyond the raw count in the view of some experts.

“Air travelers tend to be higher value consumers as opposed to the drive-in market from Southern California,” said Brian Gordon, a principal at the economic consulting firm Applied Analysis. “Assuming the airline seats can be filled, they should generate some meaningful growth (for the visitor industry) going forward.”

Authority surveys have shown year after year that people who arrive by air spend more and stay longer than their ground-bound counterparts. This is due in part to many convention attendees on expense accounts and foreigner tourists flying here.

Further, the car counts at the state line at Primm have dropped in six of the last eight months, according to authority numbers, so more airline passengers help to fill the gap.

The authority has its own consultant to market Las Vegas to airlines to beef up McCarran schedules. In addition, the authority played a lead role in bringing the World Routes airline conference to Las Vegas in October in the hope that schedule planners would be impressed enough by seeing the city in person to bring in more flights.

The Las Vegas performance roughly mirrors broader airline strategy called capacity discipline. This involves keeping a lid on supply as a way to drive up fares and avoid money-losing fare wars. The strategy was adopted when fuel prices spiked upward about six years ago. Southwest Airlines, which holds nearly 40 percent of the local market, has projected about the same amount of flying this year as 2013.

Contact reporter Tim O’Reiley at or at 702-387-5290.

Bellagio, MGM Resorts International’s luxury hotel turns 20
The more than 3,000-room Bellagio hotel is situated on the site of the former Dunes Hotel. The Dunes was imploded in 1993, and construction of the Bellagio started in 1996. It cost $1.6 billion to build, making it the most expensive hotel in the world at the time. The Bellagio was former Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn’s second major casino on the Strip after The Mirage. MGM Resorts International acquired the property from Steve Wynn in 2000. (Tara Mack/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Facial recognition software at G2E – Todd Prince
Shing Tao, CEO of Las Vegas-based Remark Holdings, talks about his facial recognition product. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former NBA player, Shaquille O'Neal, speaks about his new Las Vegas chicken restaurant
Former NBA player, Shaquille O'Neal, speaks about his new Las Vegas chicken restaurant. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Bobby Baldwin to leave MGM
MGM Resorts International executive and professional poker player Bobby Baldwin is set to leave MGM.
Caesars has new armed emergency response teams
Caesars Entertainment Corp. has created armed emergency response teams. They are composed of former military and law enforcement officials. "These teams provide valuable additional security capabilities,” Caesars spokeswoman Jennifer Forkish said. Caesars is hiring Security Saturation Team supervisors, managers and officers, according to LinkedIn. The company did not say how many people it plans to hire for the units. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas, airlines prepare for CES
CES in January is expected to attract more than 180,000 attendees. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
AGS partners with Vegas Golden Knights
AGS is the nation’s second-largest manufacturer of Class II slot machines used primarily in tribal jurisdictions. It announced a marketing partnership with the Vegas Golden Knights NHL team. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Lehman Brothers bet big on Las Vegas
Lehman Brothers collapsed 10 years ago, helping send the country into the Great Recession.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Ross & Snow launches in Las Vegas
Luxury shoe brand Ross & Snow has opened in Las Vegas, featuring "functional luxury" with premium shearling footwear. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remote Identification and Drones
DJI vice president of policy and public affairs discusses using remote identification on drones. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Drones and public safety in Nevada
Two representatives in the drone industry discuss UAV's impact on public safety. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Frontier Airlines to launch flights from Las Vegas to Mexico
Frontier, a Denver-based ultra-low-cost carrier, will become the first airline in more than a decade to offer international service to Canada and Mexico from Las Vegas when flights to Cancun and Los Cabos begin Dec. 15. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren addresses Oct. 1 lawsuits
MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren addresses criticism his company has received for filing a lawsuit against the survivors of the Oct. 1 shooting. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International opens the doors on MGM Springfield
Massachusetts’ first hotel-casino opens in downtown Springfield. The $960 million MGM Springfield has 252 rooms and 125,000-square-feet of casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International prepares to open MGM Springfield
Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts International gave news media and invited guests a preview of the $960 million MGM Springfield casino in Massachusetts. The commonwealth's first resort casino will open Friday, Aug. 24. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A Walk Through Circus Circus
It only takes a short walk through Circus Circus to realize it attracts a demographic like no other casino on the Strip: families with young children. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Morphy Auctions, a vintage slot machines seller, wants gaming license
Vice president Don Grimmer talks about Morphy Auctions at the company's warehouse located at 4520 Arville Street in Las Vegas on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada's venture capital money doesn't stay in state
Zach Miles, associate vice president for economic development for UNLV, said there’s venture money in Southern Nevada, “but trying to find the right groups to tap into for that money is different.” According to a 2017 report from the Kauffman Foundation, Las Vegas ranked number 34 out of 40 metropolitan areas for growth entrepreneurship, a metric of how much startups grow. With a lack of growing startups in Las Vegas, investment money is being sent outside of state borders. The southwest region of the U.S. received $386 million in funding in the second quarter, with about $25.2 million in Nevada. The San Francisco area alone received about $5.6 billion. (source: CB Insights)
Neon wraps can light up the night for advertising
Vinyl wrap company 5150 Wraps talks about neon wraps, a new technology that the company believes can boost advertising at night. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nevada on the forefront of drone safety
Dr. Chris Walach, senior director of Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems, talks to a reporter at NIAS's new Nevada Drone Center for Excellence of Public Safety, located inside the Switch Innevation Center in Las Vegas. K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
Motel 8 on south Strip will become site of hotel-casino
Israeli hoteliers Asher Gabay and Benny Zerah bought Motel 8 on the south Strip for $7.4 million, records show. They plan to bulldoze the property and build a hotel-casino. Motel 8 was built in the 1960s and used to be one of several roadside inns on what's now the south Strip. But it looks out of place today, dwarfed by the towering Mandalay Bay right across the street.
Project billed as one of the world's largest marijuana dispensaries plans to open Nov. 1
Planet 13 co-CEO Larry Scheffler talks about what to expect from the new marijuana dispensary, Thursday, July 19, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Oasis Biotech opens in Las Vegas
Brock Leach, chief operating officer of Oasis Biotech, discusses the new plant factory at its grand opening on July 18. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like