McCarran passenger traffic declines

During a year disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused a historic decline in air travel, McCarran International Airport served 22.2 million passengers. This was the airport’s first year-over-year decline in passengers since 2010.

“Our community, as well as the aviation industry, has never experienced a crisis quite like COVID-19 and I am so proud of our dedicated employees who stepped up during this time,” said Rosemary Vassiliadis, Clark County Director of Aviation. “As a provider of essential transportation, LAS stayed open for those needing to fly and to help facilitate the shipment and delivery of vital cargo, such as critical PPE for our community. We remain committed to doubling down on our efforts to ensure the airport is a safe and healthy environment for those choosing to travel as we begin our comeback in 2021. I have confidence that the vaccine will be a stimulus to air travel.”

Increased year-over-year volume in January and February indicated 2020 was on pace to surpass the record total of 51.5 million passengers set in 2019. Passenger volume dropped in March as statewide closures went into effect in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. McCarran reached the nadir of passenger volume in April, when just 152,716 traveled through the airport. But in the following months, there was a steady rise in domestic leisure travel coinciding with the reopening of many Strip resort-casino properties.

“We know that there is pent-up demand for this destination, and the airport will be at the forefront of the Las Vegas recovery effort,” Vassiliadis said.

Airlines temporarily ceased international operations at McCarran due to a combination of severe international travel restrictions and a lack of demand as many chose not to fly. These large-scale suspensions resulted in a 79.5 percent year-over-year decline in international travel from 2019. As the year progressed, some North American international service returned. While many of the challenges of the past year continue into 2021, there is hope that conventions, along with the business travel they bring, will soon return, as well as live entertainment and sporting events as more vaccines are administered. Robust international and business travel are keys to restoring pre- pandemic passenger volumes.

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As has been the case since March, LAS will continue to be “All In” in its efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 at the airport. McCarran will ensure its protocols are in line with the best practices and guidelines of local and national health officials.

A 2019 Oxford Economics study found that the Clark County aviation system generated nearly $35 billion in annual economic output, and helped support nearly 250,000 jobs in Southern Nevada.

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