LAS Projected Among Ten Fastest Growing Airports In U.S.

DALLAS -- McCarran International Airport will have the eighth greatest expansion in passenger "enplanements" by percentage among major U.S. airports over the next five years, a leading aviation industry consultant says.

Mike Boyd, chairman of Boyd Group International, said McCarran would have a 6.3 percent increase through 2017. Projections were released at Boyd's two-day aviation forecast summit attended this week by about 450 people in the airline, airport and aircraft manufacturing industries.

Boyd estimates the airport would have 21.1 million enplanements this year, growing to 22.4 million by 2017. Enplanements are the number of passengers departing from the airport. McCarran normally tallies passenger counts as the number of people arriving and departing.

While Boyd's projection falls short of McCarran's record passenger levels of the last decade, it shows a gradual increase from numbers that declined during the recession in the last three years as a result of airline capacity reductions by some carriers.

McCarran enplanements peaked in 2007 when it had 23.9 million passengers.

Boyd said the greatest growth would occur at Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the largest and busiest airport in the country, with 12.3 percent growth.

The only other double-digit growth is expected at Charlotte, N.C., with a 12.1 percent increase.

Both are hub airports for major airlines, Delta in Atlanta and US Airways in Charlotte.

Other airports ahead of McCarran are Dallas-Fort Worth International, Dulles International in Washington, D.C., Memphis International Airport, Detroit and San Francisco International.

Rounding out the top 10 are Baltimore-Washington International and Newark, N.J., Liberty International.

By total additional enplanements, McCarran also ranks eighth.

Ranked among all airports nationwide, McCarran isn't in the top 25, but Reno-Tahoe International Airport is.

Reno-Tahoe ranks 12th nationally with 8.9 percent growth projected and 2.1 million annual enplanements expected by 2017. Boyd said the percentage increase was high because the original baseline total was low.

The fastest-growing U.S. airport will be Louis Armstrong New Orleans International, which Boyd said is growing rapidly in the continued recovery from capacity losses that occurred after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Boyd and his staff analyzed 150 airports nationwide and considered population, economic factors, airline service trends, extraordinary local trends and airline schedule and capacity shifts.

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