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

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

Las Vegas airport Harry Reid International
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 through August 2022. (Image: Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Less than three years since the COVID-19 pandemic brought life to a standstill and shuttered every Las Vegas casino and made 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.”

“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.

Domestic travel accounted for 93% of the August LAS passengers. Harry Reid International welcomed only about 245,000 international travelers during the month.

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, as well as other casino execs and companies, in 2020 and last year predicted that pandemic pent-up demand would quickly return visitors to Southern Nevada. Maddox and Stevens separately predicted a new “Roaring Twenties.”

“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 Las Vegas still lags behind 2019. LAS tallied about 34.1 million passengers through eight months of 2019.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and Nevada Gaming Control Board are expected to reveal visitor volume and gaming revenue August numbers in the coming days. Visitor volume is up 31.5% year-over-year from January through July, but the approximately 22 million people who have traveled to Las Vegas this year was 2.8 million fewer guests than what the destination experienced from January through July 2019.

Southwest Increasing Market Share

Southwest brings more people to Las Vegas than any other airliner. 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.

Southwest beginning in March 2023 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.

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