US Airways to cut 40 percent of Las Vegas flights

A US Airways jet takes off from McCarran International Airport.

US Airways, once the busiest air carrier at McCarran International Airport when it operated as America West Airlines, will cut 40 percent of its Las Vegas flights by early next year, reducing it to one of the smaller players in the market.

The Tempe, Ariz.-based airline, the nation’s sixth largest by traffic, announced Thursday that it would cut its daily departures from McCarran from 35 to 21.

The company is eliminating point-to-point service from Las Vegas to Boston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Los Angeles International, San Francisco and Fresno, Calif., a service subcontracted to Mesa Airlines operating as US Airways Express.

Most of the cuts will be completed by late November with the last changes occurring by January.

All that will remain on US Airways’ Las Vegas schedule will be five daily nonstop round trips each to Charlotte, N.C., and Philadelphia, one daily nonstop round trip to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and 72 flights a week to and from Phoenix, all hub cities in the airline’s network.

The airline will cut three daily operations each to Dallas-Fort Worth International and Los Angeles International, one daily to and from Boston’s Logan International Airport, 13 flights a week to and from San Francisco International and six operations a week to and from Fresno on US Airways Express.

The cuts are part of US Airways’ strategy to operate nearly all of its flights to and from hub airports in an effort to increase profitability.

US Airways spokesman Andrew Christie said 72 full- and part-time customer service and fleet service jobs would be lost at the airline’s McCarran station. He said all employees would be offered positions at other US Airways stations.

America West Airlines was the dominant carrier at McCarran in the late 1980s and early 1990s and once operated a “night hub” at McCarran, connecting passengers on the airline’s network through Las Vegas mostly after 10 p.m.

When America West acquired US Airways in 2005 and adopted its name, it closed the night hub because of the rising cost of fuel but operated a schedule of about 131 daily Las Vegas flights.

As CEO Doug Parker considered strategies to stay profitable, the decision was reached to de-emphasize Las Vegas operations as it had done in Pittsburgh immediately after the acquisition.

At the end of 2008 and early 2009, the airline cut nearly 100 flights in Las Vegas and hundreds of employees were transferred or lost their jobs.

When the cutback is completed, US Airways will become the smallest of the major carriers operating at McCarran. But it will be larger than Alaska, JetBlue, Frontier, Spirit and Virgin America airlines.

McCarran officials have said that generally when an airline ceases operations or cuts flights, other carriers move to pick up the slack.


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  1. Will someone - ANYONE - from the LVCVA, our US Senators, our representatives in congress - do something about Las Vegas losing flights! Harry Reid said that he was going to lean on them - since he fought to get them slots years ago at Washington Reagan Airport - to figure out how to bring back service. Look - the flights are full. As a Platinum Member of US Air - I can tell you that they are not hurting in regards to demand. The town can not fill all of these rooms without more flights coming into this market. Period! Taking away a full plane of 140 seats multiply that by number of flights lost - that results in Vegas losing even more potential room nights.

    Southwest can not fly direct from Dallas. Allegiant is not flying into these markets either. Flown Allegiant lately? Not exactly a high end business traveler product.

    The LVCVA can talk about International flights - but losing domestic flights hurts Las Vegas more and US Air is treating Vegas like it is Reno. Airport Authorities? Where are you? Dont you have a new terminal opening up, while there are closed gates in the A gates and in the newest D gates that are not even being used - you can not lose more flights. But - once again more flights are being lost! There has to be someone who is supposed to keep these airlines happy and once again it is not getting done.

    Full flights are being lost. More guest rooms will go vacant. Being on one of the flights cut only 2 weeks ago - it was full - like all of the other US Air flights. Someone needs to do something at any level. This town can not bounce back when this is taking place on an annual basis - they are not getting more flights from other airlines being added to offset these losses. Time for someone to step up and be responsible for keeping flights into Las Vegas. All of our incomes depend on this like it or not.

  2. Corporate mergers usually come at the expense of consumers. Less competition rarely results in lower prices. I'm already looking for AT&T to stick it to the consumer if(when?) they merge with T-Mobile.