Fulfilling predictions that the year would start slowly, passenger traffic at McCarran International Airport dipped slightly in January.
The monthly summary released Thursday by the Clark County Department of Aviation shows 3.1 million people passed through the airport in January, a 1.6 percent decline from one year ago. Traffic has dropped in seven of the past eight months, but four times by less than 1 percent.
Following the recent pattern, domestic carriers’ flier counts were down 1.9 percent while traffic for international carriers rose 1.8 percent. Because the domestic counts are 13 times larger than international, they carry much greater weight when calculating the overall changes.
The most recent schedules compiled by McCarran officials suggest some relief may come in the spring. The number of seats that airlines bring into Las Vegas was expected to drop 0.4 percent in February, gain 1.6 percent in March, drop 0.8 percent in April, then rise 2.4 percent in May.
If recent history holds, rising fuel prices, such as the ones drivers have seen at gas stations, could prompt airlines to trim weaker-performing routes.
District project begins
A $2.5 billion project to re-create the Las Vegas Convention Center and the surrounding area was given the green light Tuesday.
The first phase of the Las Vegas Global Business District, under way through 2014, is estimated to cost $150 million, or all bond revenue the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has available.
The remainder of the project cost isn’t funded.
The project — previously called the Las Vegas Convention Center District Improvement Plan — calls for aesthetic improvements, technological enhancements, a World Trade Center and overall Las Vegas branding in the areas leading up to and including the Las Vegas Convention Center at 3150 Paradise Road.
Taxi drivers plan strike
After months of talks that went nowhere, the drivers union at Las Vegas’ second-largest cab company has set the industry’s first strike in nearly two decades.
Starting today, drivers at Yellow Checker Star Transportation were expected to walk off the job in an action announced Thursday by the Industrial Technical Professional Employees Union Local 4873. Yellow Checker Star holds 600 operating permits, known as medallions, for one-fourth of a citywide taxi fleet vital to the movement of visitors around the Strip and to and from McCarran International Airport.
On Feb. 3, the company unilaterally implemented a contract rejected by 70 percent of union members in January. Drivers have worked and have been paid under its terms since then.
Last year, the drivers had rejected a less generous proposal.
Company officials have called their second contract offer, reached with the intervention of a federal mediator, the best compensation package in the local industry.
Boyd backs off Fla. plan
Boyd Gaming Corp. agreed to sell its South Florida jai alai facility Thursday for $65.5 million in an all-cash deal with Dania Entertainment, but the company hasn’t given up on owning and operating a casino in the regional market.
Boyd had designs on building a casino complex at the Dania Jai Alai facility in Dania Beach, Fla., when it acquired the site in 2007.
Florida has been a focal point for casino expansion in the past few years. However, opposition by the Seminole Indian Tribe, the Walt Disney Co. and conservative religious interests has scuttled casino plans for South Florida, including the Miami area.
Ad agency won’t do ‘madness’
The slogan may sound catchy — “The Madness Begins Here” — but the ad firm for Las Vegas’ public tourism agency doesn’t want to legally poke the bear known as the NCAA.
That’s because March Madness, the well-known nickname of the NCAA’s basketball tournament, is a trademarked part of the American sports lexicon — and “The Madness Begins Here” pitch in Las Vegas could be seen as a legal infringement.
So, R&R Partners, the ad agency for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, decided this week to not use its proposed “The Madness Begins Here” slogan to hype the frenzy of March basketball in Las Vegas, which is hosting four college conference tournaments at three arenas followed by the major sports book attraction of the NCAA national tourney.
Adelson says he was libeled
Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman Sheldon Adelson has sued a Wall Street Journal reporter, alleging libel over the way he was described in a December article concerning his company’s legal battle with its former Macau operations chief executive.
According to the newspaper, the article ran under the headline “Fired Executive Rankles Casino Industry” in the U.S. edition of the newspaper and appeared in overseas editions online.
The article compared Steven Jacobs as “a 6-foot-5-inch-tall Ivy League graduate who colleagues say rarely curses,” with Adelson, described as “a scrappy, foul-mouthed billionaire from working-class Dorchester, Mass.”
The story was co-written by Kate O’Keeffe, a Wall Street Journal reporter based in Hong Kong, and Alexandra Berzon, based in the U.S. However, the lawsuit names only O’Keeffe, not the paper or its publisher, Dow Jones.