Updated January 26, 2022 - 3:51 pm
Las Vegas’ Harry Reid International Airport served 39.7 million travelers last year as visitor volume continued to increase from pandemic-related lows.
The total represented an increase of more than 17 million passengers over the 2020 count, the Clark County Department of Aviation announced Wednesday.
Still, 2021’s volume was 23 percent behind pre-pandemic levels seen in 2019, when 51.5 million passed through Reid airport, then known as McCarran.
“This past year reinforced that the demand for Las Vegas remains strong, and we are so grateful for all those who made us their destination of choice,” Rosemary Vassiliadis, Clark County director of aviation, said in a statement. “From stadium concerts to high-stakes sporting events, 2021 was a dress rehearsal for what LAS and the community can expect as Las Vegas solidifies its position as the premier entertainment destination.”
The airport credited access to vaccinations leading to the lifting of local restrictions as one catalyst for the passenger increase.
The return of live entertainment and sporting events, including over 1 million people attending events at Allegiant Stadium last year, and some convention business also provided a boost to travel.
To further increase travel volume, airport officials noted the return of international travel on a larger scale is a key component to that.
Relaxing some international restrictions late last year allowed Reid airport to welcome back service from Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Panama. That is in addition to Mexico service, that came back online in the summer of 2020, which accounted for 66 percent of international travel last year.
Reid officials expect more international routes to return as 2022 progresses.
The airport closed out the year with 3.87 million passengers, arriving and departing, in December, an 8.9 percent drop from December 2019.
For the year, Southwest Airlines, Reid airport’s busiest carrier served 13.97 million passengers, a 19 percent decline compared with 17.34 million travelers in 2019.
Hometown carrier Allegiant Air saw 1.95 million passengers in 2021, a 19 percent dip compared with the 2.4 million passengers served in 2019.
Frontier Airlines was the only major carrier that saw an increase in passenger volume compared to 2019, going from 3.17 million travelers in 2019 to 3.99 million last year, a 26 percent increase. The growth at Reid airport is testament to the airline’s commitment to its Las Vegas operations, according to Daniel Shurz, Frontier’s senior vice president, commercial.
“We are the fastest growing carrier from LAS with an increase in departures of 43 percent for the full year 2021 versus 2019,” Shurz said in a statement. “We currently serve more than 50 destinations from Las Vegas and have more than 700 employees based there, which makes LAS one of our largest operational bases. The growth in demand is a clear indication of consumers’ ongoing love affair with Las Vegas, driven in no small part by the destination’s continued innovation and reinvention.”