Vegas rolls - and loses. Las Vegas is the big loser in the airline stakes, as US Airways confirms that it will slash its flights there, effectively shuttering its LV hub, while AirTran is trimming LV flights to smaller communities. And United is shutting Ted, its only presence in the gaming city. The cutbacks could not come at a worse time for the city, which will have more than 11,000 new rooms by year end. But US Airways is cutting back to about 80 daily departures down from 140 in September. Major casinos all reported losses or lower profits in the first quarter, in part as rising gas prices deter visitors who usually drive from Southern California.
Allegiant will still fly there in a big way, but Vegas is at the top of the list of cities that people want to get to cheap. As Delta chief executive Richard Anderson said on CNBC the other day, the places that folks insist on paying no more than $200 to get to are the places that are going to lose service in this crisis. With airlines cutting capacity, "it's going to particularly hit markets like Orlando, Hawaii, Las Vegas - those kinds of leisure markets where people want to travel for $200 round-trip fares, and those fares don't work anymore," he said. McCarran is still a very busy airport, but this, we think, is the way the dice are going to roll.