US carrier Virgin America has announced it will introduce its upscale, low-fare offering to the Los Angeles – Las Vegas market from April this year. The airline will offer three flights per day between Los Angeles International Airport and Las Vegas McCarran International Airport from April 22, 2013 adding to its existing flights to the Nevada metropolis from its San Francisco home and New York.
Las Vegas is the largest market that Virgin America does not currently serve from Los Angeles, in terms of traveller demand, and Los Angeles is currently the largest market for Las Vegas travellers. The airline’s three times daily schedule has been designed to provide passengers with well-timed connections for flights to and from many of the destinations Virgin America serves from Los Angeles, as well as for guests connecting to or from flights operated by Virgin America's interline and codeshare partners.
"This route has been one of the most requested by our frequent flyers, and whether guests are traveling for a fun weekend getaway or headed to one of the many trade events or business conferences that Las Vegas hosts each year, we think this new 'ride' will be a stylish, welcome alternative," said John MacLeod, senior vice president of planning and sales, Virgin America.
Virgin America made its debut at Las Vegas McCarran International Airport in October 2007 when it inaugurated flights from San Francisco International and then added flights from New York John F Kennedy International from September 2008. In 2011 it had a 30 per cent share of the estimated 1.28 million O&D passengers on the San Francisco route and nine per cent of the 881,000 O&D travellers to/from New York JFK.
"Virgin America has been a wonderful partner since its first flight arrived at McCarran International Airport in October 2007, and we believe travelers will take to its newest service as much as they have to its existing flights connecting Las Vegas with San Francisco and New York," said Rosemary A. Vassiliadis, deputy director of Aviation for Clark County, Nevada, which owns and operates McCarran. "The greater Los Angeles area is the largest feeder market for air passengers into Las Vegas. We are pleased that Virgin America will soon offer additional capacity for Southern California residents, as well as other leisure and business travelers who may make Los Angeles a connection point for their travels to and from Las Vegas."
The Los Angeles – Las Vegas market is currently served by American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, low-cost carriers Southwest Airlines and Spirit Airlines and regional operator SkyWest Airlines which operates as a Delta Connection partner for Delta Air Lines. In the first nine months of 2012 an estimated 837,000 O&D passengers travelled on this route, up 21.0 per cent on the same period in 2011.
The market between Los Angeles and Las Vegas is dominated by Southwest Airlines, which in the first three Quarters of 2012 held a 48 per cent share of the estimated O&D air traffic between the two major conurbations. However, the airline’s share has slipped from 56.9 per cent in 2011, due mainly to the arrival of Spirit Airlines, which despite only launching flights in May 2011 had already secured a 12.7 per cent share of the traffic during the first nine months of the year.
"We are thrilled to welcome additional service from Los Angeles on Virgin America," said Cathy Tull, senior vice president of marketing for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor's Authority. "Every new destination that is added to the schedule provides additional convenience and flexibility for travelers. With record visitation to Las Vegas in 2012, every new airline seat provides opportunity for continued growth."