McCarran International Airport is on the brink of breaking a 10-year-old record for passenger traffic, but officials don’t want to be presumptuous.
After all, the nation’s eighth-busiest airport barely missed the mark last year.
“They’ll break it,” said aviation consultant Mike Boyd, president and CEO of Boyd Group International in Colorado.
“The only issue that might get in the way of that would be the mess we saw last weekend in Atlanta, because that affected flights all across the country,” Boyd said, referring to a lengthy power outage at the world’s busiest airport. “Travel forecasts show 2018 as being a banner year, so you’ll likely see further growth and yet another record set next year at McCarran.”
Even though airport officials declined to speculate how 2017 might end, McCarran logged its busiest November on record with more than 3.9 million airline passengers, narrowly topping a record set in 2006 by 31,625 travelers, the Clark County Department of Aviation reported Tuesday.
Year to date, 44.67 million passengers have flown in or out of the airport, a 2.2 percent increase from the same period last year.
Although she could not be reached on Tuesday, county aviation director Rosemary Vassiliadis said in April that she believes McCarran is on track to break its full-year record of 47.8 million passengers set in 2007.
More than 3.53 million travelers boarded or arrived on domestic flights last month, a 1.2 percent increase from November 2016. International flights arriving at or departing from McCarran carried 296,287 travelers, a slim 0.4 percent increase from last year.
Despite declines reported by market leader Southwest, American and Delta airlines, domestic passenger traffic into McCarran was bolstered by significant increases coming from Spirit, Frontier, JetBlue and Sun Country, according to the aviation department.
Among international carriers, Air Canada reported a 6.8 percent increase in traffic with 75,362 passengers last month, while Canadian carrier WestJet was up 3 percent with 79,783 passengers.
Virgin Atlantic Airways reported a 21.6 percent decline in traffic with 20,185 passengers. British Airways carried 26,536 passengers in November, a 0.6 percent increase from last year, while British competitor Thomas Cook Airlines was down 20.2 percent with 4,074 passengers.
Korean Air Lines was up 20 percent with 9,893 passengers. Chinese budget carrier Hainan, which launched service in December 2016, reported 3,661 passengers.
Mexican carrier Interjet reported a 23.6 percent jump to 15,725 passengers in November, while Aeromexico had a 23.9 percent decline to 18,790 passengers. Volaris reported a 28.7 percent drop in November to 13,897 passengers.
McCarran domestic carrier performance in November
Southwest Airlines: 1.42 million passengers, down 2.9 percent from November 2016.
American Airlines: 350,128 passengers, down 0.5 percent
Delta Air Lines: 311,295 passengers, down 3.9 percent
United Airlines: 303,460 passengers, up 1.1 percent
Spirit Airlines: 292,221 passengers, up 12.3 percent
Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air: 189,324 passengers, down 2.3 percent
Source: Clark County Department of Aviation