Viva Las Vegas: Harry Reid International Sets Three-Month Passenger Record

Posted on: September 29, 2022, 09:11h. 

Last updated on: September 30, 2022, 04:19h.

Harry Reid International, Las Vegas’ primary commercial airport, is busier than ever.

Las Vegas airport Harry Reid International
Travelers arrive at Harry Reid International Airport on Wednesday, June 15, 2022. Las Vegas’ main airport experienced its best three months ever between June and August 2022. (Image: Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Less than three years since the COVID-19 pandemic brought life to a standstill, shuttering every Las Vegas casino and making the Strip an eerie dark corridor, the region’s airport is experiencing record passenger traffic.

Harry Reid International (LAS) logged more than 4.6 million arriving and departing travelers last month — the airport’s highest passenger count for any August. Better yet, airport officials say the three-month summer season was the busiest three months in Clark County history.

Heading into the summer, the outlook for LAS was optimistic, with a record number of seats coming into the market in June, July, and August,” explained Joe Rajchel, spokesperson for the airport. “That investment by the airlines was justified, as those months currently stand as the three busiest months by passenger volume in the airport’s history.”

Domestic travel accounted for 93% of the August LAS passengers. Harry Reid International welcomed about 245K international travelers during the month.

“We will monitor what the rest of the year brings, but what we’ve seen is that the demand for Las Vegas continues to be incredibly strong,” Rajchel added.

Vegas is Back

Many of Las Vegas’ top casino executives had the foresight to see a quick pandemic rebound.

Then-Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox and Circa, D, and Golden Gate owner Derek Stevens were among the casino execs and companies who predicted that pent-up demand would quickly return visitors to Southern Nevada. Maddox and Stevens separately predicted a new “Roaring Twenties” in 2020 and 2021.

I think it will be similar to after the pandemic of 1918 and 1919,” Maddox said last year. Stevens followed, “A lot of people have said it’s going to be like the ‘Roaring Twenties.’ I think there is so much demand to be able to get back out of the house and have a little bit of fun.”

People are certainly back out of their houses, and Las Vegas certainly offers an endless amount of fun.

Year-to-date, LAS has facilitated nearly 33.8 million fliers. That’s up over 41% from last year but still lags behind 2019’s numbers. LAS tallied about 34.1 million passengers through the first eight months of 2019.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and Nevada Gaming Control Board are expected to reveal the August numbers for visitor volume and gaming revenue in the coming days. Visitor volume is up 31.5% year-over-year from January through July. But the approximately 22 million people who traveled to Las Vegas this year represented a 2.8 million drop in the number of guests the destination experienced from January through July 2019.

Southwest Increasing Market Share

Southwest brings more people to Las Vegas than any other airliner. From January through August, the low-cost carrier accounted for 35% of the airport’s passenger load. During the same eight-month period in 2019, Southwest was responsible for 34.6% of the traffic.

Beginning in March 2023, Southwest will increase its daily operations through LAS with 12 additional flights. The airline cited increased demand, some of which stems from Las Vegas becoming a major sports destination, for the added routes.