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Traffic up at McCarran Airport for 1st quarter by Andy Karpf

The Clark County Department of Aviation reported Thursday that 3.7 million passengers used McCarran in March, putting first-quarter totals at 9.9 million — 3 percent ahead of the first quarter of 2011.

International arrivals once again led the way with 16.1% more passengers arriving from beyond U.S. borders for the month.  For the quarter, international travel is up 18.9 percent to 671,706 passengers.

Mexican airlines Volaris and Vivaaerobus, Canada’s Westjet Airlines and Great Britain’s British Airways and Virgin Atlantic Airways all contributed significantly to the increase in numbers for the month.

Two air carriers that charge fees for carry-on bags — Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air and Mirimar, Fla.-based Spirit Airlines — had double-figure percentage increases in passenger counts for the month.

Allegiant, the fourth-busiest carrier at McCarran behind Southwest, Delta and United-Continental, reported 29.8 percent more passengers — 251,108 — in March. Spirit, meanwhile, climbed by 22.8 percent to 160,377 passengers. For the quarter, Spirit was up 310 percent.

Strong performances by Allegiant and Spirit offset a flat performance by Southwest, at 1.4 million passengers for the month, and declines by No. 2 Delta Air Lines, down 8.8 percent to 349,938. US Airways was off 15.2 percent to 181,280 passengers.

For the first quarter, Southwest passenger counts were down 0.8 percent, Delta down 7.5 percent and US Airways off 16.3 percent.

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