Traffic down at Las Vegas airport for start of year

Traffic at McCarran International Airport fell by 3.7 percent to 3 million passengers in February over the same month last year. But February had one less day this year because 2012 was a leap year.

If not for the extra day last year, passenger traffic this February would have declined by 0.3 percent based on daily averages, officials with the Clark County Aviation Department said.

For the first two months of the year, traffic at McCarran is off 2.6 percent to 6.1 million passengers.

Patterns that emerged in 2012 appear to be continuing this year, with strength in international traffic offset by declines in domestic travel as a result of shrinking capacity.

Four of the five top domestic airlines, including market leader Southwest Airlines, showed declines in February, most resulting from decreases in the number of flights, smaller aircraft or the shorter month. Only American Airlines, which increased seat capacity by 6.5 percent in February, had passenger growth for the month among the top carriers.

Southwest was off 0.2 percent to 1.2 million, Delta Air Lines was down 1.1 percent to 284,803, United was off 6.2 percent to 277,975 and Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air was down 3.8 percent to 169,253 passengers. American’s passenger growth was up 5 percent to 191,099 for the month.

While all domestic passenger counts were down 4.2 percent to 2.7 million passengers, international arrivals were up 2.4 percent to 218,663.

British Airways and Canada-based Sunwing led the way with double-digit percentage growth, while Aeromexico, Virgin Atlantic and WestJet also had increases. In addition, Copa Airlines, Grupo Aereo Monterrey and Interjet are new to Las Vegas since last year.