Airport Check-in: New trams on track for Las Vegas McCarran

Travelers who fly from Las Vegas McCarran's D Concourse will need to arrive earlier due to a construction project that will interrupt its tram service for several weeks.

Passengers usually use a pair of parallel trams to get to the D Concourse. But for much of February, only the south trams will be in service while workers replace the north trams. Once the north trams have been replaced, both sets of trams will resume their regular schedule for about a month before the south trams are taken offline for replacement beginning mid-spring.

The airport advises passengers traveling in peak hours to arrive 30 minutes earlier. Airlines based at D Concourse include AirTran, Alaska, Allegiant, American, Continental, Delta, Frontier, Horizon Air, JetBlue, Northwest, SkyWest, Sun Country, Spirit, United and Virgin America.

•Lufthansa will open later this month at Frankfurt International a new lounge that caters to first-class passengers and its most elite category of frequent fliers.

The new lounge, in Concourse B of Terminal 1, will primarily benefit U.S. and other transfer passengers who previously had to exit the airport to use the airline's First Class Terminal.

The lounge will provide many of the services offered at the First Class Terminal — a dedicated security clearance area, computer stations, food and drinks, shower facilities and day beds. The 13,100-square-foot lounge will also feature a spa.

•American Airlines has opened an Admirals Club lounge at Washington Dulles International, the final step in its relocation to Terminal B. Located near Gate 63, the 3,000-square-foot lounge offers business center tools, food and drinks, and assistance with boarding passes, reservations and upgrades. American shifted its operations from Terminal D in June 2008.

•To reduce noise in surrounding neighborhoods, Burbank's Bob Hope Airport is seeking federal approval for a ban on late-night flights. If approved by the Federal Aviation Administration, the airport would prohibit cargo and passenger carriers from landing between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.

•Minneapolis-St. Paul has completed expanding its main parking garage at the Humphrey Terminal. With 4,000 additional spaces, the eight-story facility now accommodates 9,500 cars.

Facts and figures

•U.S. airlines operating at 146 domestic airports will carry 41 million fewer passengers in 2009, and the decline will continue through 2010, according to a report by aviation consulting firm Boyd Group.

About 578 million passengers will fly in 2009 vs. 619 million in 2008, the report estimates. Depending on the depth of the recession, the traffic volume could fall again in 2010 by 93 million.

"Our model assumes a return to economic stability in 2011," says Michael Boyd, president of the Evergreen, Colo.-based firm. "But in the meantime, there will be significant contractions in revenue streams in several areas of aviation."

U.S. airports will collect $573 million less in passenger facility charges — a major source of construction funding — from 2009 to 2011, the report says.

Every Monday, we report on the latest news in airports across the USA. See something noteworthy in your travels? E-mail your suggestions to ryu@usatoday.com.

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