AIRBORNE TO BE WILD: 2019 was a banner year for increased air travel to Las Vegas

The menu of flights to and from Las Vegas features plenty of tasty new options for fliers in the New Year, thanks to some big air travel developments in 2019.

Savory new international offerings include nonstop flights between Las Vegas and Amsterdam and between Las Vegas and the City of Lights (Paris, that is). The first-ever nonstop flight between Tel Aviv and Las Vegas also took off in 2019.

There was lots of action on the domestic front, too, which welcomed a sizable flock of additional flights, most of them through ultra-low-cost carriers.

Overall, “it was a banner year” for air travel developments in Las Vegas, said Chris Jones, airport chief marketing officer for Clark County’s department of aviation.

McCarran International Airport also set a passenger record in 2019, serving more than 50 million passengers—the highest number in the airport’s history.

“(It’s) safe to say we’re busier than ever,” Jones says.

El Al Israel Airlines launched the weekly flight between Tel Aviv and Las Vegas in June. Passengers who book the flight may also want to bring a book or two. They’ll spend more than 14 hours aboard a 787 Dreamliner aircraft to get to Las Vegas. Flying back to Tel Aviv takes 13 and a half hours.

Airline and tourism officials lauded the first-ever flight as a win for all types of travelers.

“Whether people will be traveling for recreation, business or cultural experiences, these flights will conveniently link two globally renown destinations,” Rosemary Vassiliadis, Clark County’s director of aviation, said in a news release announcing the flight.

Travelers undoubtedly also appreciate the renewed option to travel nonstop between Vegas and Paris (ooh la la), brought to them by Level, International Airlines Group’s low-cost, long-haul airline. (The last direct flights between the two tourist-friendly destinations said au revoir in 2014.) Level’s twice-weekly flights launched in late October.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines expanded its global network to include Las Vegas over the summer, offering thrice-weekly flights between the city and Amsterdam. Travelers hadn’t been able to fly direct between the two cities since 2013.

“Including Las Vegas as KLM’s latest destination will offer our customers even more flight connections to and from the West Coast of America,” Pieter Elbers, KLM’s president and CEO, said in a news release announcing the flight.

Swoop, a Canadian ultra-low-fare airline, also launched several nonstop international flights — between Vegas and Winnipeg, Vegas and Kelowna (British Columbia), and Vegas and London (Ontario) — in 2019.

Other international flights launched this year include Eurowings’ nonstop between Las Vegas and Frankfurt, Germany, and VivaAerobus’ flight between Vegas and Monterrey, Mexico. The latter, a twice-weekly flight launched in June, was previously only available during holidays.

Passengers enjoyed international nonstop service to Las Vegas from 13 countries in 2019, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA, which produces Las Vegas Newswire). The LVCVA works hand-in-hand with the airport in recruiting new flights.

A nonstop flight between Las Vegas and Maui, offered four times a week by Hawaiian Airlines, was among the roughly 30 additional domestic flights that came onboard during 2019.

“They have been talking about it for quite a while,” Jones says. “We’re excited to see how that will perform.”

Delta added nonstop service between Vegas and Long Beach, Calif., to its offerings, and Alaska Airlines added flights between Vegas and Everett, Wash. But most of the action on the domestic front in 2019 came from ultra-low-cost carriers such as Spirit, Sun Country, Allegiant, Contour and Frontier, the latter of which added the most domestic flights to its portfolio, with nonstop service to San Diego, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Portland (Oregon), Reno, Seattle and Orange County, Calif., among them.

Las Vegas is “largely a mature domestic market,” Jones says. “People know it and want to come here. What’s encouraging is the competition. Multiple airlines serving different cities adds value and convenience.”

Of the 160 markets McCarran served in 2019, 125 were domestic, according to the LVCVA.

New international offerings “probably generate the most interest,” Jones says. “They’re longer to develop, from inception of conversation to when you see the plane on the ground.”

It’s a process that can sometimes take years. “It’s a marathon,” Jones adds.

The economic impact from new domestic service in 2019 was $1.7 billion, according to the LVCVA, while the impact from new international service was $325 million.

Air travel gains in 2019 prove “people around the world” want to experience Las Vegas, Jones notes. Additional opportunities “to fly here nonstop make it easier for them to enjoy that experience.”

Looking ahead

Additional flights on tap for 2020:

* Delta will offer 14 weekly flights between Las Vegas and Portland, Ore., beginning in April.

* KLM will offer an additional weekly flight between Las Vegas and Amsterdam from April 4 through Aug. 31.

* Eurowings will offer twice-weekly flights between Las Vegas and Munich, Germany from April 6 through Oct. 25.

To offer feedback on this story or suggestions for future stories on Las Vegas Newswire, contact Managing Editor Steve Bornfeld at SBornfeld@lvcva.com.


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by Lynnette Curtis/Contributor to Las Vegas Newswire

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