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December 11, 2017

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US Airways slashes McCarran flights

Second-largest carrier in Vegas will focus on more profitable markets


Steve Marcus

Leaving Las Vegas: A US Airways jet takes off from McCarran International Airport on March 27.

Updated Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2009 | 1:31 p.m.

US Airways, once the busiest carrier at McCarran International Airport, will slice its schedule of 64 daily flights to 36 by the end of February.

The Tempe, Ariz.-based airline announced today that it would close its Las Vegas crew bases and drop flights to 13 destinations from the end of December through the end of February.

The announcement was part of broader cuts systemwide by the airline that includes eliminating 1,000 jobs and ending service to five European destinations from the airline’s East Coast gateway at Philadelphia.

The airline is continuing to shore up its most profitable business. Las Vegas, primarily a leisure market, doesn’t offer the same profit margins as other business travel-driven markets.

The cuts were particularly hard-hitting to Las Vegas, where US Airways has steadily reduced its presence since 2007. In the early 1990s, as America West Airlines, it was the busiest carrier at McCarran.

By the end of December, the airline will end nonstop round trips between Las Vegas and Detroit; Minneapolis; Seattle; Sacramento and San Jose, Calif.; and the Canadian cities of Edmonton, Alberta; Vancouver, British Columbia; and Toronto.

At the end of January, flights between Las Vegas and San Diego will be cut.

And, at the end of February, service will end between Las Vegas and Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, Fla.; Orange County, Calif.; and Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.

US Airways also will trim its schedule of flights from two flights to one a day to Boston on Dec. 2; two to one to Fresno, Calif., on Dec. 17; and from six to five to Los Angeles International Airport on Jan. 4.

The airline will emphasize its connections to its key hub cities – Phoenix; Philadelphia; Charlotte, N.C.; and Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington. Schedules also will remain the same on flights to and from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, Pittsburgh and San Francisco.

Currently the No. 2 carrier at McCarran with 64 daily flights, US Airways’ service cuts would drop it to No. 3 behind Chicago-based United Airlines, which has 37 daily flights.

Morgan Durrant, a spokesman for US Airways, said it hasn’t been determined how many of the airline’s 880 Las Vegas employees would be transferred or let go. But the airline’s pilot and flight attendant bases will be closed. It’s possible that pilots and flight attendants based in Las Vegas would stay here and commute to Phoenix or other bases.

The airline also is eliminating its bases in Boston and New York and is eliminating all flights to Colorado Springs, Colo., and Wichita, Kan.

“It’s been a struggle to turn any meaningful revenue in this environment,” Durrant said. “We’re shoring up where we’re strong in markets that perform financially well for us.”

He noted that Las Vegas is an extremely competitive market for US Airways, the sixth-largest U.S. carrier and the smallest of the full-fare U.S. airlines.

European destinations dropped from Philadelphia include London’s Gatwick International Airport; Milan; Birmingham, England; Shannon, Ireland; and Stockholm. The airline also is eliminating its right to begin flights between Philadelphia and Beijing, which was due to begin in March.

By the end of next year, 99 percent of US Airways’ capacity will be at Phoenix, Charlotte, Philadelphia, Washington, Boston and airports in New York.

Systemwide, the airline will cut 600 customer service and ramp jobs, 200 pilots and 150 flight attendants.

The US Airways announcement came two days after a happier occurrence at McCarran – the arrival of the first nonstop flight from London’s Heathrow International Airport on British Airways.

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