McCarran International Airport welcomed 48.5 million arriving and departing passengers last year, according to a release from the airport. This is a new record and the seventh consecutive year the commercial airport serving Southern Nevada posted a year-over-year increase, with the 2017 total marking a 2.2 percent upturn from the year prior.
The previous passenger record was set in 2007 at 47.7 million passengers. Over the course of the year McCarran posted multiple all-time-high months, including the best December ever for a total of nine record-setting months in the calendar year. Additionally, October 2017 had the highest single-month passenger volume in airport history. Along with airline passenger traffic, ground transportation set a new milestone of 5.4 million airport pick-ups by taxis and app- based ground transportation providers, an increase of 11.7 percent from the year prior.
Domestic passenger volume grew by 2.4 percent, accounting for 1 million additional Las Vegas passengers for the year. International passenger volume was flat at just 0.4 percent growth, despite a strong December finish. Canadian carriers Westjet Airlines and Air Canada served the bulk of international traffic with a combined total of nearly 1.8 million, followed by U.K. carriers British Airways and Virgin Atlantic Airways, which both served fewer passengers than the year prior. Mexico was the third-largest source of international passengers in 2017, and in its first full-year of operations, Hainan Airlines carried nearly 47,000 passengers between Beijing and Las Vegas.
Continuing the trend seen in recent years of new service coming from markets outside of the United States, McCarran added direct flights from Munich by new carrier Eurowings; nonstop from Mexico City by Viva Aerobus in 2017; and announced new seasonal service by LATAM Airlines starting in June 2018. The Sao Paulo route will be the first scheduled nonstop flight to Las Vegas from Brazil.
Low-cost domestic carriers Frontier, Sun Country and Spirit Airlines posted substantial growth percentages, as did JetBlue Airways. Perennial market-leader Southwest Airlines ended the year with more than 18 million passengers transported. The growth in competition did see their traffic down about 1 percent, however.