Airlines add more seats to Las Vegas, raising visitation

Most of the nation’s airlines are showing a renewed confidence in Las Vegas as a revenue-generating destination, adding seats to the market and boosting passenger visitation to McCarran International Airport in April by 4.4 percent over last year.

April passenger counts hit 3.8 million for the month, the highest year-over-year percentage increase since January 2014.

McCarran spokeswoman Christine Crews said there is more expansion on the horizon.

“The airlines are showing confidence in Las Vegas by putting seats back into the market, and passengers are buying them,” Crews said. “Looking back to February and March, we saw a 4.2 and 3.8 percent year-over-year increase in lift, respectively. In April, that increase was 3.5 percent. Looking at May and five months beyond, each month currently shows a 4 percent to 5 percent increase in scheduled seats.”

Airlines are adding capacity with a mix of more flights and using larger aircraft on existing routes.

Domestic and international passenger counts showed increases in April with international growing at a greater rate. International counts were up 8.8 percent to 312,755, while domestic numbers climbed 4.6 percent to 3.4 million.

Market leader Southwest Airlines paced the domestic growth with a 5.1 percent increase to 1.5 million passengers for the month. Deep discounter Spirit Airlines, the No. 5 carrier, had a 17.8 percent increase to 209,335 passengers.

Also showing passenger growth were No. 2 Delta Air Lines (5.2 percent increase to 322,760) and No. 4 American Airlines (6.2 percent increase to 236,101), but No. 3 United Airlines passengers declined 6.3 percent to 317,580.

For the first four months of 2015, passenger counts are up 2.4 percent to 14.1 million.

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

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