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Reid airport on verge of breaking annual passenger record

Updated December 28, 2022 - 7:27 pm

Harry Reid International Airport is on the verge of breaking its record for most passengers served in a calendar year, after reporting the highest number of November travelers in the airport’s history.

Airport officials said Tuesday that 4.6 million passengers passed through Reid’s gates last month, beating the previous best November on record in 2019 of 4.2 million passengers.

The November count brought the total number of passengers in 2022 to 48.3 million — 3.2 million shy of 2019’s all-time annual record of 52.5 million passengers. In only one month this year — January, when many travelers were scared off by the omicron variant of COVID-19 — were there fewer than 3.2 million passengers.

Airport officials have anticipated higher passenger counts in 2022 after several airlines, including market leader Southwest, announced seat capacity buildups over the summer months.

While last month had the highest number of November passengers ever recorded at Reid, it was only the seventh best month of 2022 following October’s record of 5.2 million people.

The five highest monthly totals in the airport’s history were recorded in 2022.

There’s a familiar ring to November’s passenger breakdown with domestic passenger numbers up 12.3 percent compared with November 2021. International counts were much higher than in 2021, but not as high as in pre-pandemic 2019.

The number of domestic customers reached 4.2 million for the month, boosting the 11-month total by 30.6 percent to 45.1 million. International travel nearly doubled to 237,980 passengers with the 11-month total up 266.3 percent to 2.3 million.

Southwest Airlines, Reid’s busiest commercial air carrier — now under scrutiny by the U.S. Department of Transportation due to the thousands of flight cancellations in recent days — continued to lead at Reid. It reported 1.5 million passengers in November, a 14.2 percent increase from the previous year.

No. 2 was Spirit Airlines, No. 3 was Frontier and No. 4 was Delta with all carriers showing an increase from November 2021, but American Airlines at No. 5 had a 16.6 percent decline to 332,612 passengers for November. All five of Reid’s leading domestic carriers are ahead of last year’s totals over 11 months.

On the international side, Air Canada and Canadian discounter Westjet paced all international arrivals at Reid.

British Airways and Virgin Atlantic had triple-digit percentage increases to boost passenger counts from Europe while Korean Air dominated on flights from Asia.

Aeromexico passenger counts were 16.3 percent higher than in November 2021 while Mexican discounter Volaris was flat from the previous year.

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

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