LAS VEGAS – Nearly 20 months after the last transoceanic flight carrying tourists landed at LAS, Virgin Atlantic Airways returned to Las Vegas on Monday, Nov. 8. The Boeing 787-9 touched down the same day policies for foreign national air travelers to the United States changed, allowing more vaccinated international visitors to enter the country. The flight was greeted in an Only Vegas way, with showgirls on the ramp waving in the plane.
“Today is a watershed moment for Las Vegas as international borders open and we welcome overseas visitors back to the destination,” said Steve Hill, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. “In addition to being a world-class leisure destination, our major tradeshows and conventions draw large international delegations, and we are very optimistic about the opportunities that lie ahead.”
Las Vegas welcomed 5.7 million international visitors in 2019, and the change to U.S. policies related to international air travel is key to destination recovery efforts. Prior to the pandemic, Las Vegas welcomed nonstop flights from 31 cities in 12 countries.
“The return of intercontinental air travel is the next critical step forward in our industry’s recovery from the impacts of COVID-19,” said Rosemary Vassiliadis, Clark County Director of Aviation. “In the years leading up to 2020, LAS experienced unprecedented international growth in terms of travelers as well as unique routes. We look forward to once again making it easier than ever to welcome the world to our iconic city.”
Four carriers will resume overseas service to Las Vegas in 2021:
- Virgin Atlantic Airways nonstop from London Heathrow beginning Nov. 8
- British Airways nonstop from London Heathrow beginning Nov. 15
- KLM Royal Dutch Airlines nonstop from Amsterdam beginning Dec. 7
- Copa Airlines nonstop from Panama City beginning Dec. 7
Regular nonstop service from Mexico resumed in July 2020. Current routes include:
- AeroMexico from Mexico City
- JetBlue from Cancun
- Viva Aerobus from Monterrey and Mexico City
- Volaris from Guadalajara and Mexico City
Regular nonstop service from Canada resumed earlier this year. Current routes include:
- Air Canada from Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Calgary
- Flair Airlines from Toronto
- Swoop from Edmonton
- WestJet from Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto and Vancouver
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ABOUT THE LVCVA
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) is charged with marketing Southern Nevada as a tourism and convention destination worldwide and with operating the 4.6 million-square-foot Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC). With 150,000 hotel rooms and 14 million square feet of meeting and exhibit space in Las Vegas alone, the LVCVA’s mission centers on attracting leisure and business visitors to the area. The LVCVA also owns the Las Vegas Convention Center Loop, an underground tunnel designed by The Boring Company and the Las Vegas Monorail, an elevated 3.9-mile system with seven stops throughout the resort corridor. For more information, go to www.lvcva.com,www.visitlasvegas.com or vegasmeansbusiness.com.
ABOUT CLARK COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF AVIATION
Clark County Department of Aviation operates a system of five airports: McCarran International Airport, North Las Vegas Airport, Henderson Executive Airport, Jean Sport Aviation Center and Overton-Perkins Field. The system generates nearly $35 billion in economic output and supports approximately 250,000 jobs. Users of the department’s facilities provide all of the revenues to operate, maintain and acquire necessary services and facilities. The department does not rely on any local tax revenue.