Las Vegas McCarran welcomes back flights from Europe
Nearly 20 months after the last transatlantic flight carrying tourists landed in Las Vegas, Virgin Atlantic Airways returned to Las Vegas on Monday, November 8.
The Boeing 787-9 touched down the same day policies for foreign national air travellers to the United States changed, allowing more vaccinated international visitors to enter the country. The flight was greeted in an Only Vegas way, with showgirls on the ramp waving in the plane.
“Today is a watershed moment for Las Vegas as international borders open and we welcome overseas visitors back to the destination,” said Steve Hill, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
“In addition to being a world-class leisure destination, our major trade shows and conventions draw large international delegations, and we are very optimistic about the opportunities that lie ahead.”
Las Vegas welcomed 5.7 million international visitors in 2019, and the change to US policies related to international air travel is key to destination recovery efforts.
Prior to the pandemic, Las Vegas McCarran International Airport welcomed nonstop flights from 31 cities in 12 countries.
“The return of intercontinental air travel is the next critical step forward in our industry’s recovery from the impacts of COVID-19,” enthused Rosemary Vassiliadis, Clark County’s director of aviation.
“In the years leading up to 2020, we experienced unprecedented international growth in terms of travellers as well as unique routes. We look forward to once again making it easier than ever to welcome the world to our iconic city.”
Four carriers will resume overseas service to Las Vegas in 2021:
- Virgin Atlantic Airways non-stop from London Heathrow beginning Nov. 8
- British Airways non-stop from London Heathrow beginning Nov. 15
- KLM Royal Dutch Airlines non-stop from Amsterdam beginning Dec. 7
- Copa Airlines non-stop from Panama City beginning Dec. 7
Regular non-stop service from Mexico resumed in July 2020. Current routes include:
- AeroMexico from Mexico City
- JetBlue from Cancun
- Viva Aerobus from Monterrey and Mexico City
- Volaris from Guadalajara and Mexico City
Regular non-stop service from Canada resumed earlier this year. Current routes include:
- Air Canada from Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Calgary
- Flair Airlines from Toronto
- Swoop from Edmonton
- WestJet from Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto and Vancouver