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Las Vegas airport traffic soars again in April; Southwest leads carriers

Updated May 24, 2023 - 6:39 pm

Passenger traffic at Harry Reid International Airport continues to soar as the Clark County Department of Aviation on Tuesday reported 4.8 million passengers left and arrived at Las Vegas’ airport in April.

The total was 12.8 percent more than in April 2022 and just behind March’s 4.94 million.

Reid’s report was the first look at traditional monthly tourism indicators. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and the Nevada Gaming Control Board are expected to release visitation and casino gaming statistics next week.

For the first four months of 2023, airport passenger traffic is 21.9 percent ahead of 2022’s pace at 18.3 million passengers.

The number of April arrivals comes days before Las Vegas braces for the traditional kickoff of the summer vacation season and the LVCVA research department said Tuesday that it is expecting 335,000 visitors for the three-day Memorial Day weekend. That’s 3.7 percent more than the number of visitors for Memorial Day in 2022.

With the total number of hotel rooms available up 0.1 percent to 151,839 this year compared with last, the LVCVA is anticipating a blistering 93 percent occupancy rate over the three-day holiday, up 0.4 percentage points from last year.

Visitors to Las Vegas are expected to spend $387.3 million during the weekend, producing a total economic impact of $684.4 million on the community for summer’s unofficial arrival.

Last week, airport officials projected that 600,000 passengers would pass through Reid’s gates and concourses during the holiday between Friday and Monday. That prompted Reid officials to remind outgoing passengers that the airport would be busier than usual and that passengers should arrive at least two hours before their scheduled departure times, especially if they’re returning a rental car or need to navigate parking garages.

There were few surprises among April’s passenger statistics.

Domestic air traffic was up 12.2 percent to 4.5 million passengers for the month, boosting domestic year-to-date passenger totals to 17 million for four months, a 20.1 percent boost from a year ago.

International arrivals and departures were up 33.3 percent to 266,536 passengers in April, and 75.1 percent to 960,496 for the year.

Low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines continued to dominate domestic traffic, followed by ultra-low fare carriers Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines. Spirit showed the fastest growth, up 50.9 percent to 752,389 passengers in April. Southwest had 1.7 million passengers, up 11.8 percent from April a year ago.

The higher numbers were the result of higher capacity — Southwest, Spirit and Frontier are offering more flights and seats to and from Las Vegas than ever before. Those higher numbers offset declines reported by legacy carriers Delta Air Lines and American Airlines, which were down 6 percent (to 397,924 passengers) and 6.5 percent (to 348,713 passengers) respectively.

On the international side, Canadian carriers Air Canada, Flair and Westjet each had double-digit percentage increases in passengers in April, while European carriers British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, KLM and Edelweiss had higher numbers in April over 2022.

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

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