Rental Agencies at Vegas Airport Can't Get a Break in Rent

Airport management at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport has granted just a few rent reduction requests from concession operators who have been requesting the rent reductions in the wake of slumping passenger counts, according to the Las Vegas Business Press. Airport management turned down rent breaks for car rental companies.

The airport’s aviation commissioner Randall Walker says the purpose of the minimum annual guarantee (rent)—which is either fixed or floats according to the previous year's sales—is to protect the airport in the down times. Several other airports take a similar stance, relying on a share of concessions and other fees to pay off bond debt and cover operating expenses. Walker conceded that among the airport’s 10 rental car companies, “We will let the marketplace decide what needs to be done.” As a result, he added, some rental care companies may pull out of the airport.

The largest rent break was granted to a casino developer who owns about 1,500 slot machines scattered through concourses. Since he owns the machines, said aviation director Randall Walker, his departure if the losses grew too large would leave the airport without any gaming operations for at least six months and would also hurt a plan to install slots at the rental car center this summer.

Jonathan Briggs, city manager for Las Vegas-based SavMor Rent-a-Car, said studies have shown McCarran among the top five airports in rent and fees imposed on the industry. He said he will keep trying to get rent reduced, but he admitted he didn’t expect airport management to give any rent breaks.

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