McCarran Airport showed a scant gain in traffic in November. It doesn't mean revenues will be up but baby steps...

Last week, McCarran Aiport released monthly data showing the number of enplaned/deplaned passengers actually increased 0.1% in November.  This is the first uptick since February of 2008.  Yes the comparison was easy - down 14.8% last year - but the trend is moving in the right direction.  See the chart below.

STABLE NOV AIRPORT TRAFFIC - mccarran nov chart

Before we get too excited, realize that gaming revenues likely still fell, assuming a normal hold percentage, and gaming volumes almost certainly declined.  Based on our proprietary model, we project a mid-single digit decline in gaming revenues as shown in the table below.  The comparison of down 16% was easy, although moderate on a relative basis to the recent monthly comps.  Hold percentage last year was normal for both slots and tables last year.  We expect a slight uptick in slot hold for November 2009 due to the timing of the 10/31/09 count.  When the count falls on a weekend, slot revenues tend to be understated in that month (October) and overstated in the following month (November).

STABLE NOV AIRPORT TRAFFIC - nov est strip metrics

Of course, November is not the most critical month of any year, and particularly not this year since CityCenter opened in December and added quite a bit of supply to the market.  Moreover, the air capacity into McCarran is on the decline which will not be helpful as supply increases.  More on that later.