Capacity discipline, the airline industry term for keeping a tight rein on flight schedules, continued to dampen the local visitor industry in August.

During the month, the 3.65 million people who passed through McCarran International Airport marked just a 0.3 percent gain from one year ago, according to airport statistics. This came as three of the five largest carriers — United, Delta and American — all posted declines locally and all have publicly committed themselves to capacity discipline throughout their systems.

The most recent rounds of flight cuts, intended to fill a higher percentage of seats and to push up fares, has come in the wake of fuel prices that spiked upward earlier this year. In the four months through April, passenger counts at McCarran rose 3 percent compared with a year ago after a 4.3 percent gain for all of last year versus 2010. Since May, the counts have been flat.

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The pace of the visitor industry’s recovery, closely tied with people arriving by air, has also slowed in tandem. The number of tourist and convention attendees has gone up only 1.9 percent the first seven months of this year compared with a 4.3 percent pace for all of 2011, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

The commonly owned and managed Southwest and AirTran, together the market leader at McCarran, grew 2.8 percent. This has come as Southwest has retrofitted its cabins with a new seat model that creates enough room to add six seats per plane.

Caesars plans $180 million renovation of Bill’s Saloon

Caesars Entertainment Corp. plans a $180 million renovation of Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon, which includes adding a rooftop pool deck and nightclub attraction overlooking the Strip.

The casino operator is working to raise the money required for remodeling the casino, formerly known as the Barbary Coast. The company also reached an agreement recently with nightclub operator Victor Drai to develop a concept for the Strip casino.

Caesars Entertainment Chairman Gary Loveman spelled out the casino giant’s remodeling plans and its general financial picture during an hourlong presentation late Tuesday in the Empress Court restaurant at Caesars Palace.

The renovation would include remodeling the hotel’s 198 rooms and its 17,200-square-foot casino. It could lead to a new name. The casino, across Las Vegas Boulevard from Caesars Palace, was built in 1979 by Michael Gaughan at a cost of $11.5 million, and its planned redesign comes as Caesars is spending $550 million on The Linq, a 300,000-square-foot retail, dining and entertainment district that includes a 550-foot-tall observation wheel as its centerpiece. That project, which includes redevelopment of the Imperial Palace as The Quad Resort and Casino, is in the same block as Bill’s.

Wet ‘n’ Wild to put brand name on proposed water park

The Wet ‘n’ Wild water park brand is returning to Las Vegas, officials said Thursday.

The planned park, which had been known as Splash Canyon, is set to open in May.

Construction of the $50 million park in southwest Las Vegas is already under way with offsite utilities, roadwork, infrastructure and excavation of the wave pool and other areas.

The land will be leased from The Howard Hughes Corp.

Investors in the park include Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf; Dr. Steven and Karen Thomas of the Thomas and Mack family; Roger and Scott Bulloch of SPB Capital Partners; Steve Miller; and Australian entertainment conglomerate Village Roadshow Limited.

Village Roadshow Limited will take a 51 percent ownership stake and manage the park. Village Roadshow Theme Parks is also developing a $115 million Wet ‘n’ Wild super park in Sydney.

Average stock prices rise in September

After four straight monthly declines, the gaming sector as a whole rallied back in September.

Eleven of the 12 casino operators and gaming equipment manufacturers followed by Las Vegas-based financial consultant Applied Analysis experienced increases in their average daily stock prices during the month.

Casino giant Caesars Entertainment Corp. was the lone company to experience a decline in its average daily stock price in September. Shares of the casino operator were down more than 12 percent on an average daily basis compared with August.

Linq announces first tenants

A high-end cupcake bakery from Los Angeles and restaurant from Brooklyn, N.Y., that doubles as a bowling and entertainment center are among the first 11 tenants Caesars Entertainment Corp. announced Monday for the $550 million Linq project on the Strip.

The announcement included some restaurants, such as Yard House and Tilted Kilt which are already in the market. It also covered several names making their initial entry into Las Vegas.

The nongaming Linq development includes 300,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and entertainment offerings and is anchored by the High Roller, a 550-foot-tall observation wheel. The project, being constructed between the Flamingo and Imperial Palace (soon to be renamed The Quad), is scheduled to open in 2013.

Two Excalibur restaurants to remain closed

Both the American Burger Works and Lynyrd Skynyrd BBQ & Beer will remain closed after their Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings, but landlord Excalibur could face damages for shutting them down.

At a hearing last week, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Linda Riegle ruled they would stay closed but allowed owners of the side-by-side restaurants to enter the premises to recover personal items and perishable food.

The dispute focuses on whether Excalibur properly terminated the leases, two years into 10-year terms.

Excalibur erected walls in front of the restaurants, effectively shutting them down.


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