February 12, 2008 / 10:25 PM / 10 years ago

Small airport big problem for Las Vegas: analyst

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Las Vegas’s chance for a new boom may be limited by its airport, which is busting at the seams even before the addition over the next four years of around 40,000 new hotel rooms on the Las Vegas Strip, Deutsche Bank analyst Bill Lerner said on Tuesday.

<p>The baggage carousel area at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada , September 14, 2004. Las Vegas's chance for a new boom may be limited by its airport, which is busting at the seams even before the addition over the next four years of around 40,000 new hotel rooms on the Las Vegas Strip, Deutsche Bank analyst Bill Lerner said on Tuesday. REUTERS/Ethan Miller/Las Vegas</p>

To fill those rooms, nearly all of which are aimed at upscale customers, the gambling center will need to attract 75 percent more visitors between now and 2012, he said at the Reuters Travel and Leisure Summit in Los Angeles.

That will be “difficult to impossible to achieve” given constraints on transport infrastructure, including McCarran

The analyst said McCarran will likely be able to handle normal visitation growth for a couple of years, but plans for a new airport are still in the works and it would not come on line before 2017 at the earliest.

Meanwhile, several new resorts, including Wynn Resort’s Encore, MGM Mirage’s CityCenter and Boyd Gaming’s Echelon Place, are already under construction and more have been announced.

“The alarming part of this is that these are all well-funded projects,” Lerner said.

The result will be “spectacular failures,” that will give consumers access to some high-end casino resorts at prices well below what operators had intended, he said.

(For summit blog: summitnotebook.reuters.com/)

Editing by Gary Hill

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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