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Las Vegas’ McCarran airport set passenger record in 2018

Updated January 31, 2019 - 7:47 pm

Las Vegas’ airport soared to record heights last year, when it saw the most travelers pass through its gates in its 70-year history.

McCarran International Airport saw 49.7 million passengers arrive and depart, setting a passenger volume record, the Clark County Department of Aviation announced Thursday.

It was the second straight year the airport bested its record yearly high, as 2017’s 48.5 million passengers broke the mark of 47.7 million passengers set in 2007.

“McCarran has again been experiencing continuous growth for several years, setting and breaking passenger records month after month, and now, year after year,” said Rosemary Vassiliadis, director of the Clark County Department of Aviation, in a statement. “In the midst of all this hustle and bustle, McCarran was ranked No. 1, along with Orlando, in passenger satisfaction among Mega Airports in the J.D. Power 2018 North America Airport Satisfaction Study. I believe it’s our commitment to customer service that our travelers notice and appreciate.”

December helped the airport end the year on a high note. McCarran welcomed 3.9 million passengers that month, a 2 percent bump over December 2017.

The airport set single-month passenger volume records twice last year, welcoming 4.43 million passengers in July, and 4.44 million in October.

Domestic passenger volume rose by 2.2 percent in 2018, accounting for an additional 945,000 Las Vegas travelers.

Low-cost carriers saw the largest percentage gains, with Spirit Airlines seeing 4.3 million passengers in 2018, a 25.1 percent increase over 2017. The largest carrier out of McCarran by volume, Southwest, held relatively steady with 18 million passengers, a 0.1 percent dip from 2017.

International flights saw a 5.5 percent bump over 2017, transporting 3.8 million passengers, up from 3.6 million in 2017. WestJet was the largest international carrier by volume in 2018 with 950,473 passengers, a 3.09 percent jump from 2017’s 921,950 passenger count.

Steve Hill, CEO and president of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, said the airport’s ability to serve a record number of passengers while maintaining its customer service standards is vital in helping the city keep its worldwide appeal to visitors.

“As we continuously work to attract more visitors, we see the success of both McCarran International Airport and our airline partners as a great indicator for the entire destination,” Hill said in an email. “McCarran’s dedication to customer satisfaction is truly an expression of the hospitality that makes Las Vegas the world’s premier destination for business and leisure travel.”

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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