LAS VEGAS - A new airline touched down at McCarran International Airport Thursday. California Pacific Airlines is not only bringing a new route to parts of California from the Las Vegas valley, but it's also adding to the expansion of air service at the sixth best large airport in the nation, according to a recent report by the Wall Street Journal.
The new airline has solidified the demand for Las Vegas as a destination.
The airliner was welcomed at McCarran International Airport on Thursday when it rolled in under a water cannon salute, which is a tradition.
"I hope it is a great success," said Rachael Maclean, a passenger.
Maclean eagerly waited to board her flight for Carlsbad, California.
"I think we were, the first day that we could make a reservation, which was about five weeks ago," Maclean said. "We booked this flight because my family is having Thanksgiving this weekend."
The small carrier operates from Carlsbad, which is in northern San Diego County.
The start-up left the ground earlier this month and quickly added Las Vegas as a route.
"Las Vegas is some place everybody likes to visit," said Ted Vallas, owner of California Pacific Airlines.
"Last year we set a passenger record; 48.5 million -- and three quarters into the year we're already up two percent over last year," said Christine Crews, spokesperson for McCarran Airport. "So once again, the demand for Las Vegas is strong."
California Pacific Airlines is the fourth new carrier added to McCarran International Airport in the last month.
"We've seen expansion from some of our Canadian carriers," Crews said. "We have two new Canadian carriers Swoop and Flair, Air Canada has added service lately."
California Pacific Airlines will compete with other services to San Diego.
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The carrier did experience a minor delay upon arrival Thursday due to an issue with the jet bridge.
"Well, we had a small bug today, someway the airport worked it out for us," said Vallas said.
Staying optimistic as Maclean looks forward to the travel convenience of flying directly to Carlsbad instead of San Diego.
"I think a lot of people will find it very nice to come back and forth," Maclean said.
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