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Hub’s exit could spur the end for airport concourse

By removing the last vestige of its once busy hub, US Airways has added impetus to shutting down Concourse A, one of the oldest parts of McCarran International Airport.

The airline will reduce its Las Vegas schedule to 21 flights a day in January from 35, and eliminate nonstops to five cities. The remaining schedule will go to Washington, D.C., and hubs in Phoenix, Philadelphia and Charlotte, N.C.

Most of the changes will take place in late November, with the final dose in January, an airline spokesman said. The local staff will be reduced by 72 people, the spokesman said, all of whom will be allowed to transfer to other cities.

The airline and airport managers have been talking for weeks about moving the remaining operations to Concourse D, which will gain more spare capacity when Terminal 3 opens in June. US Airways is the only carrier left in Concourse A, with 17 gates in all. One wing of the concourse containing seven gates was closed as a budget-cutting move in early 2009. Representatives for both the airline and the airport said there are no firm plans to move now.

As recently as 2007, US Airways carried 21 percent of the passengers in and out of McCarran, but the carrier has pared its schedule and had just a 6.8 percent market share during this year’s first seven months.

Several airlines have said they would reduce flying time in the winter because of higher fuel prices. Also, US Airways has pared service not connected to its three hubs and Washington, which it labels a “focus city.” If a recent deal with Delta is approved, US Airways would pick up more flight slots in Washington.

Further, US Airways faced stepped up competition to three of the cities to be dropped: Dallas-Fort Worth, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Discounter Spirit has started or announced it would start the routes in recent weeks, while other airlines have stepped up their frequencies.

Flights to Fresno, Calif., were handled by a commuter carrier under contract to US Airways.

Contact reporter Tim O’Reiley at
toreiley@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5290.

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