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McCarran breaks monthly passenger record in October

For the second time this year, Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport has set a monthly passenger record.

McCarran saw 4.6 million passengers go through its gates in October, besting the record set in May of 4.59 million. The record before that was set in October 2018, with 4.4 million passengers.

October’s total puts McCarran at 43.1 million passengers through the first 10 months of the year, a 3.5 percent increase through October last year, when 41.7 million passengers went through the airport’s gates.

“Our growth is attributable to the strength of the destination,” said Chris Jones, airport spokesman. “Las Vegas continues to add attractions and events that entice people to come here, along with a strong economy that’s enabled more and more local residents to travel. Given those factors, we’ve had success showing airline leaders why there’s such a strong business case to bring more seats into the market, whether that involves new carriers, new city pairs or increased service on existing routes.”

With October’s numbers, McCarran is well-positioned to top last year’s annual passenger record of 49.7 million passengers and surpass 50 million annual passengers.

“It’s exciting to see these records fall and we anticipate we’ll also set a new annual record for the third consecutive calendar year once 2019 has concluded — this time going beyond the 50 million mark for the first time ever,” Jones said.

Among carriers serving McCarran, Frontier Airlines saw a 65.5 percent passenger increase year over year, reaching 347,711 passengers in October, up from the 210,109 passengers served in October 2018.

“We’re excited to continue to expand our service in Las Vegas and have added many new destinations this year making it possible for more people to affordably travel to and from the Entertainment Capital of the World,” said Zach Kramer, Frontier spokesman.

In November Frontier launched service to Portland, Oregon; Reno, Seattle and Orange County, California from McCarran, Kramer said.

“We are incredibly appreciative of the support we’ve received from the Las Vegas community and our outstanding partnership with McCarran International Airport,” he said.

Spirit Airlines also saw a noticeable increase with an 18.4 percent year-over-year jump from 412,307 passengers in October 2018 to 489,315 passengers last month.

Southwest Airlines, McCarran’s largest carrier, saw another monthly passenger decrease in October, dropping from 1.62 million passengers in October 2018 to 1.51 million last month, a 6.8 percent dip. For the year Southwest is down 2.8 percent.

The passenger drop has been largely attributed to the ongoing grounding of Boeing MAX planes.

Southwest has removed the MAX from its flight schedule through March 6, the airline announced this month.

By removing the MAX from its scheduled service, Southwest can reduce last-minute flight cancellations and unexpected disruptions to travel plans. The revision will remove around 175 weekday flights from Southwest’s schedule nationwide out of their more than 4,000 daily flights.

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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