weather icon Clear

Activity at Las Vegas airport bodes well for tourism goals, experts say

Updated August 14, 2018 - 7:56 pm

McCarran International is one of 11 airports in the United States with nonstop flights to and from four continents.

Aviation consultants for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority said Tuesday the authority’s key tourism strategy of attracting high-spending international travelers is working.

As of June, flights from McCarran served 145 markets in 15 countries on 31 air carriers, said Joel Van Over of Dallas-based Ailevon Pacific Aviation Consulting in a report to the LVCVA board of directors.

Between January and June, seat capacity at McCarran was up 1.6 percent, passenger volume increased 3 percent, international passenger volume was up 5.2 percent and the economic impact of new air service climbed by $455 million.

Capacity hit 77,708 seats a day in June, nearing the all-time capacity mark of 79,181 reached at McCarran in June 2008.

Nonstop service between Las Vegas and Beijing began in December 2016 through Hainan Airlines, China’s largest privately owned commercial air carrier.

Van Over and Ailevon Pacific managing director Oliver Lamb said the route has been a valuable asset because without an open-skies agreement with China, airlines are limited in the number of flights they can have to the United States.

Major cities without flights to China that want them include Denver, Miami, Atlanta, Phoenix and Orlando, Florida.

Another big addition for McCarran was the June startup of nonstop service between Las Vegas and Sao Paulo on LATAM Airlines Group, a Chilean carrier.

The three-times-weekly seasonal service on LATAM has resulted in the longest international route to Las Vegas at 6,070 miles. LATAM is now the largest international airline serving McCarran.

The LVCVA partners with McCarran in airline development, one of the few partnerships in the country in which a destination marketing organization collaborates with an airport.

In another matter, the 14-member LVCVA board unanimously approved spending $150,000 through Las Vegas Events to support the Life Is Beautiful music and art festival in downtown Las Vegas Sept. 21-23.

The three-day event in 2017 drew 57,125 visitors to downtown Las Vegas resulting in a $46.2 million economic impact.

The LVCVA board also authorized spending $272,000 to attend the World Travel Market in London Nov. 5-7 and $210,000 for IBTM World in Barcelona Nov. 27-29.

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

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Allegiant Air has expanded into some unusual side businesses

Allegiant is also the only U.S. airline with side businesses that aren’t directly related to air travel, analysts told the Review-Journal — and its push outside aviation has left plenty of observers scratching their heads.