McCarran Las Vegas Airport Seeks New Non-Stop International Flights to Increase Tourism, Gaming

Posted on: September 22, 2019, 02:00h. 

Last updated on: September 20, 2019, 12:32h.

Las Vegas airport officials are embarking on a globe-trotting tour to appeal to international airlines in hopes of convincing them to run new non-stop flights to Southern Nevada.

Las Vegas airport McCarran slot
Las Vegas’ McCarran International is the ninth-busiest airport in the US. (Image: Getty)

McCarran International Airport, the main air hub for the Las Vegas Valley and Southern Nevada, is seeking new foreign flights in an effort to continue growing tourism.

The travel industry drives the economy in this town,” McCarran Chief Marketing Officer Chris Jones told Fox 5 Las Vegas. “Having flights, being able to get here conveniently, particularly from new destinations inside or outside the United States, is a great way to make sure we fill the hotel rooms.”

New non-stop international flights – especially from Asian countries, where high rollers cherish testing their luck at the baccarat tables – would naturally help improve gross gaming revenue (GGR) throughout Las Vegas. Casino win on the Strip is down 0.3 percent over the last 12 months to $6.55 billion.

According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), the city was home to 148,789 hotel rooms in July. Citywide occupancy was 91.1 percent, and 97.2 percent on the weekends. The average Strip rate on the weekend this year has been $139.12 – but that doesn’t include the substantial resort fees that can increase the rate as much as $45.

Hainan Airlines began nonstop service from Beijing to Las Vegas in December 2016, and added flights since due to demand. American Airlines applied in March for airport slots at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport to offer its customers nonstop service from Las Vegas to the Japanese capital city.

Tourism Touchdown

The LVCVA reports that visitor volume is up 0.6 percent January through July, with more than 3.6 million people traveling to Las Vegas. McCarran passenger traffic is also up in 2019, the airport saying nearly 29 million people have ventured through its terminals – a three percent year-over-year gain.

The Las Vegas airport is on pace to eclipse 50 million passengers, which would be yet another all-time high. Jones isn’t content, however, saying the goal is to hit 60 million passengers in the coming years.

The incoming Allegiant Stadium, the $1.8 billion venue located just west of the Strip and I-15 that will become the home of the NFL Raiders next season, will help achieve that goal. Along with at least eight pro football games a year, the stadium plans to host major National Collegiate Athletic Assn. (NCAA) events, concerts, and ideally, the Super Bowl.

The Las Vegas Stadium Authority predicts the venue will have a $620 million annual economic impact, and bring 450,000 new visitors to the area each year, leading to 708,000 additional room nights.

Las Vegas Developments

The stadium is the headliner, but certainly not the only major project under construction in Southern Nevada. The latest LVCVA Construction Bulletin shows more than $15.2 billion in ongoing or planned developments through 2022.

Las Vegas has been a bit stagnant when it comes to new rooms. That will change should The Drew (former Fontainebleau) and Resorts World open. Combined, the two Strip properties would add more than 7,000 occupancies.