July 07 Businessexcellence 95 McCarran International Airport is the sixth-busiest passenger airport in the US, currently serving over 45 million passengers a year in a metropolitan area of just under two million people. This writer has been there once (twice if you count the return journey) and found it an amazing place. It’s the only airport I’ve been to where the first things you see after leaving the airplane are gaming machines. You know where you are immediately, unlike many other airports I could mention. As the city of Las Vegas has evolved from an exclusively gaming venue to a more diverse offering which includes entertainment, dining, shopping and conventions, however, the airport has had to grow to meet the increase in traffic. McCarran enjoys a broad revenue spectrum, with over $100 million in annual sales generated from revenues on the airport campus. This reduces the airport’s dependency on landing fees from the airlines, resulting in McCarran having some of the lowest landing fees in terms of cost per passenger in the US. In the 2006 fiscal year (which ended June 30), the Clark County Department of Aviation, which owns and operates McCarran and four smaller general aviation airports, reported more than $323.3 million in total revenues. Building and land rentals composed the largest operating revenue segment ($101.6 million), followed by concessions ($45 million), slot machines ($39.6 million), landing/aircraft fees ($29.4 million), rental cars ($28.6 million), and parking ($26.2 million). The Department of Aviation has almost 1,400 direct employees, with approximately 18,500 workers on site, taking into account airlines, concessionaires and other tenants. McCarran’s mission is to provide excellence in customer service, airport facilities and airport security. It handled more than 46 million arriving and departing passengers in 2006, and nearly half of the Las Vegas Valley’s visitors last year traveled by air. Given this community’s reliance on travel to power its economic growth, McCarran is a key component in the financial well-being of nearly two million southern Nevada residents. McCarran has developed a customer-friendly culture, ranked first in overall passenger satisfaction among large airports in the JD Power and Associates 2006 North America Airport Satisfaction Study. Eight factors were examined to determine overall customer satisfaction: airport accessibility, check-in/baggage check, security check, terminal facilities, food and beverage, retail services, baggage claim and immigration/ customs control. In addition to ranking first overall, survey respondents ranked McCarran No. 1 in the check-in/baggage check, security check and terminal facilities categories. Results of the survey were based on responses from more than 9,800 travelers who took a flight between January and May of 2006. The airport is currently undergoing a $4 billion capital improvement plan that will add a new stand-alone terminal (Terminal 3) and other needed improvements over the next four years. A consolidated rental car facility has recently been constructed, and airport signage has been revamped. It has implemented several IT McCarran International Airport Growth is no gamble for McCarran International Airport. It’s biggest challenge is keeping up with the increasing number of people who want to visit Las Vegas Asafe gamble
Businessexcellence July 07 96 initiatives, including an RFID (radio frequency identifi cation) system for baggage handling, which tracks baggage as it goes through an inline screening system behind the ticketing counters, self-service customer boarding pass kiosks, and a free WiFi network for customers. Beyond that, the Department of Aviation is developing plans for a second major Southern Nevada passenger airport in Ivanpah Valley near the Nevada-California border, just east of Interstate 15. The Federal Aviation Administration and Bureau of Land Management are now at work on an Environmental Impact Statement. McCarran has developed an airport-wide common use system, which has placed most IT operations on an airport-maintained network. This gives greater fl exibility by allowing a gate to be shifted from one airline to another, rather than allowing it to remain dormant when not needed, simply because it was set up to work with only one carrier’s systems. Common use technology is also used to drive kiosks and off-airport baggage check-in systems. The biggest challenge the airport faces is keeping pace with the expected growth in demand for air service to the Las Vegas area. Historic data shows that there are approximately 330 annual passengers for each new guest room that opens in the city. With 35,000 to 40,000 additional rooms scheduled to open over the next few years, that would bring 13.2 million additional air travelers to McCarran each year, putting the airport well above its expected sustainable capacity of 53 million passengers per year. The new terminal, parking garages and other improvements are aimed at satisfying that demand.