Four Airlines to Add McCarran Destinations in 2021, Las Vegas Officials Hopeful for Air Travel

Posted on: December 17, 2020, 07:50h. 

Last updated on: December 18, 2020, 09:35h.

Four major US airlines will add new routes to Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport next year from cities in the US and Mexico, the carriers have announced.

Several Las Vegas hotels are shuttered midweek and casino floors are capped at 25 percent capacity
In March, an escalator (pictured above) at McCarran Airport was empty after Nevada closed casinos. Airport officials hope to see a rebound in air travel in 2021, as four airlines plan to add new flights to Las Vegas. (Image: Las Vegas Review-Journal)

This week, Frontier Airlines and JetBlue announced their new flights that kick off in March. So, too, did Alaska Airlines, whose flights kick off in May.

Frontier will have six new nonstop routes to Las Vegas starting on March 12. By that time, an increasing number of Americans are expected to have access to the highly promising coronavirus vaccine.

In connection with the Frontier announcement, one McCarran official is suggesting the number of airline passenger will increase by then.

These new [Frontier] routes not only support travelers’ enduring desire to experience Las Vegas [LAS], but also the belief that we will be a leading destination as air travel picks up,” Chris Jones, McCarran International Airport’s chief marketing officer, said in a statement this week.

Also, H. Fletch Brunelle, vice president of marketing for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), further predicted in a statement this week, “We believe that in the new year, people will be eager to travel, and these new nonstop routes will be incredibly popular, with repeat and first-time visitors looking for a convenient and affordable getaway to Las Vegas.”

The new cities with Frontier flights are El Paso, Texas, Little Rock, Ark., Wichita, Kan., and Oklahoma City, Okla. Also, there are flights from Mexico originating in Los Cabos (located in Baja California Sur) and Puerto Vallarta (in Jalisco, located on the Pacific coast).

To mark the new routes, Frontier will have limited introductory ticket prices starting at $29.

Meanwhile, JetBlue will add flights between McCarran and Cancun, Mexico, as well as between McCarran and Raleigh-Durham, N.C. These start on March 4.

Alaska Airlines is adding what they call “sun and fun” destinations from Anchorage, Alaska, including to Las Vegas. These start on May 20.

Also, last month Allegiant Air announced a new route to Las Vegas from Flint, Mich. It starts on March 4.

When asked by if the added routes show confidence in the future, as the coronavirus vaccine continues to get rolled out, McCarran spokesman Joseph Rajchel said, “I can’t get into speculation about vaccines and any potential decisions made because of their availability.”

Lackluster October Passenger Volume at McCarran

Close to 2 million travelers went through McCarran in October. That was less than half the number seen for the same period in 2019.

Still, the close to 1.98 million passengers represents the largest number of passengers in a single month at McCarran since March. That is when Nevada shut down casinos and other non-essential businesses because of the pandemic.

Recently, several Las Vegas casinos have shuttered their hotels during the middle of the week because of a lower volume of guests. Casino floors are capped at 25 percent capacity through the middle of January.

Tourists Advised to Follow Health Safeguards

On Sunday, during a press conference, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) was asked if it is safe for out-of-state residents to travel to Nevada for the upcoming holidays, especially New Year’s Eve.

In response, Sisolak repeated basic COVID-19 precautions: wear a mask, avoid large gatherings, and practice social distancing.

If visitors do not want to follow these precautions, Sisolak advises, “They should probably stay home…. We need everyone to do their part.”