Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011 | 10:55 a.m.
September’s passenger traffic at McCarran International Airport was 8.7 percent higher than last September, the largest such increase this year.
The month gives McCarran its ninth straight month of increases in traffic and puts the year-to-date passenger count at more than 31.2 million, up 4.5 percent from the same period last year.
Las Vegas’ airport served 3,553,307 passengers in September, compared to 3,268,931 in September 2010.
The airport has had increases in traffic every month this year, an about-face from 2010, when the airport had decreases every month except October.
The last time the airport had a year-over-year increase in passenger traffic was 2007, when the airport served a record 47.7 million passengers. Since then, traffic declined steadily, with a 7.7 percent decrease in 2008, an 8.2 percent drop in 2009 and a 1.8 percent decline in 2010.
In September, three of the top five airlines had higher traffic than they did last year.
Southwest had a 3.6 increase, U.S. Airways had a 19.6 percent increase and American had a 12.7 percent increase. Delta had a 3.4 percent decrease and United had a 17.3 percent decrease.
In addition, Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air had a 19.3 percent increase in traffic last month.
Both Southwest’s and US Airways’ increases came despite having fewer available seats coming to Las Vegas, suggesting they are doing a better job filling planes.
McCarran’s passenger count was especially helped by two smaller airlines: Spirit now has 112 more flights per week at McCarran than a year ago and JetBlue has 16 more flights a week.
In total, there were 4.9 percent more seats coming into Las Vegas last month than there was a year ago.