American Airlines cuts Reno-Las Vegas flights

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Some government and casino officials have expressed concern over American Airlines' plans to drop more than two dozen Nevada flights, saying it could lead to higher fares on popular flights between Las Vegas and Reno.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier plans to drop 17 flights from Reno and 12 from Las Vegas, including all four daily flights between the two cities.

''Oh, no, I can't believe it,'' groaned state Controller Kathy Augustine, a Las Vegan who flies the route a couple of times a month.

About 30,000 passengers a month fly between Reno and Las Vegas, which also is served 10 times daily by Southwest Airlines and once a day by America West, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

Most of Augustine's travel is with Southwest, which offers $39 fares to those traveling on state business under terms of an annual contract.

''My concern is with the general public since Southwest will be able to raise the fares in the market because there is no competition,'' the former flight attendant told the Review-Journal.

Ferenc Szony, president and chief executive officer at The Sands Regency Casino-Hotel in Reno, shared her concerns.

''Unfortunately, though Southwest has been just a spectacular airline for this community, we will be more and more dependent on them,'' he told the Reno Gazette-Journal. ''It's a concern when you become that dependent on the one carrier.''

Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev., voiced similar concerns over the cuts to take effect by July 2.

''At a time when we are trying to expand on Nevada's tourist-based economy, our potential visitors are about to face fewer flight options and potentially higher airline ticket prices when traveling to Nevada,'' he said in a statement.

The flights between Reno and Las Vegas cater to mostly business travelers, said Harry York, chief executive officer of the Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce.


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