The number of passengers using McCarran International Airport significantly improved in April, a positive outcome for casinos in Las Vegas. Arrivals and departures, however, have sunk by millions compared to the numbers before the pandemic.
According to the statistics that the Clark County Department of Aviation released Tuesday, around 2.9 million people made their way through the airport in April. The total is 331,284 more than the number of arriving and departing passengers in March.
Still, the April 2021 figure is 32% lower compared to the total in April 2019, when 4.3 million passengers used the airport.
According to the Department of Aviation, airport officials are using the 2019 number as reference to show how the area of Las Vegas is recovering from the coronavirus situation. Back in April 2020, only a month after the onset of the pandemic, less than 153,000 passengers used the airport.
So far this year, the year-to-date numbers show 8.6 million arriving and departing passengers have used the airport. By comparison, 16.2 million used McCarran airport by the end of April 2019.
The airport is located at the southeast end of the Las Vegas Strip, near MGM Grand, the Tropicana and other major hotel casinos. The Clark County Commission has voted to change the airport's name to Harry Reid International Airport. Airport officials said the name change is not expected to happen for at least several more months.
Since Las Vegas is a remote desert location, air travel is seen as crucial in transporting big numbers of domestic and international visitors to Southern Nevada.
Los Angeles, the nearest major metropolitan area, is around four hours away by car. Interstate 15 connecting Las Vegas to the Los Angeles area sometimes becomes congested, as tourists return to Southern California on weekends.
To help resolve that, an effort is underway to build a high-speed train from Apple Valley, California to Las Vegas. Apple Valley is approximately 90 miles east of Los Angeles.
The above-ground train is projected to travel at 200 mph in a three-hour trip from California's Inland Empire to a location near the Las Vegas Strip. Construction is expected to take three years. The company tasked to build the train said construction could start by end of June.