Las Vegas Airport Continues Historic Post-Pandemic Rise


Posted on: February 1, 2024, 12:46h. 

Last updated on: February 1, 2024, 12:58h.

Las Vegas was bustling last year, as 40.8 million people visited the casino town. The city’s primary airport, Harry Reid International, served many of the travelers, as the airport reported record passenger numbers this week.

Las Vegas airport Harry Reid International
A plane arrives at Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas. The primary airport serving Las Vegas counted record passenger traffic in 2023. (Image: Getty)

A statement from the primary commercial airport serving Southern Nevada revealed that Harry Reid International accommodated 57.6 million arriving and departing passengers in 2023. The record total soared past the airport’s previous all-time high of 52.6 million passengers achieved in 2022.

Setting a new annual passenger record emphasizes the strength of air travel in Las Vegas and the faith in Harry Reid International Airport to deliver a world-class customer experience,” said Rosemary Vassiliadis, Clark County’s director of aviation. “We worked to raise the bar even further in 2023, as millions traveled for special events, conventions, sporting events, concerts, and more. Our attention is already focused on 2024 and meeting the continued demand for our growing region.”

Domestic traffic climbed almost 9% to 53.4 million passengers. International traffic took off too, rising over 28% to about 3.2 million passengers. The remaining one million passengers came or left via helicopters.

Destination Las Vegas

Southern Nevada is known for its integrated casino resorts, convention capabilities, first-class dining, and natural wildlife and excursions — all of it paired with abundant sunshine. But in recent years, Las Vegas has emerged as a major sports destination, too.

Once shunned by professional sports for its widespread sports gambling, Las Vegas garnered its first major sports franchise in 2017 with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. The hockey team reached the Stanley Cup Finals in the expansion team’s first season in existence. The Golden Knights won the coveted trophy last year in the team’s fifth year.

The relocation of the NFL Raiders from Oakland to Las Vegas ahead of the 2020 season further solidified Las Vegas as a major sports town. The city will only expand its sports offering in the coming years when MLB’s Oakland A’s relocate to Las Vegas with a new ballpark where the Tropicana currently stands.

Aviation officials in Clark County say they are continuing to explore its resources to meet the ongoing demand increases. The county is considering a second commercial airport in the Ivanpah Valley southwest of Las Vegas. The project, called the Southern Nevada Supplemental Airport, will soon undergo an environmental impact review.

Southwest Expands Market Control

Southwest Airlines carried more passengers to and from Harry Reid last year than any other airliner. The low-cost carrier served over 20.8 million passengers, a nearly 16% year-over-year increase.

Spirit Airlines was a distant second at 8.4 million flyers. Earlier this month, a federal judge blocked JetBlue’s proposed $3.8 billion acquisition of Spirt on concerns the merger could threaten competition and harm the US aviation market with higher fares. JetBlue and Spirit are appealing the decision.

JetBlue served about one million passengers through Harry Reid last year. If JetBlue were allowed to acquire the ultra-low-cost carrier, the combined airline would slightly bite into Southwest’s dominance in Southern Nevada.

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