Home Airports Las Vegas Officials Considering Plans For Second Airport

Las Vegas Officials Considering Plans For Second Airport

by SharonKurheg

When Harry Reid International Airport (previously McCarran International Airport – here’s why the name changed. It just happened a couple of weeks ago) first opened in 1948, Las Vegas was already on its way to becoming  one of the most most popular vacation spots in the country.

Fast forward seventy-something years since the late 40s, and the city has pretty much exploded with progress. This is a great picture of “then and now(ish)” that I found on Twitter:

There are more casinos and hotels than ever, and, of course, most are huge. So whereas Las Vegas had roughly 1 million visitors in 1950, the city had 42 million visitors during 2019, the last pre-pandemic year (as per the Las Vegas Sun). Of those, 4.6 million arrived via plane.

On top of that, more and more people have moved to the greater Las Vegas area. Clark County’s population was just over 30,000 according to the 1950 census; it’s now about 2,000,000.

So with all that growth, it’s not surprising that even though Las Vegas is only the 27th biggest city in the country, its airport traffic has grown almost 30% between 2010 and 2019 alone.

And it’s only got 4 runways. Which is OK for the immediate future, but further out in time? Maybe not so much. So you see where I’m going with this, right? Eventually there will be more demand for flights to/from Harry Reid International Airport than what it can handle.

There’s a problem though. When the airport originally opened, it was on the outskirts of the city and was surrounded by desert. Since then it’s become surrounded by hotels and homes and businesses and casinos and is pretty much landlocked. So the ability of it to expand is very limited.

The airport in 2012. PC: Craig Butz / Wikipedia

Soooo…look into Plan B. Which is exactly what Clark County Airport Strategic Planning Manager Roben Armstrong suggests they’re going to do.

The county currently owns 6,000 acres in the Ivanpah Valley near the city of Primm, NV, and could buy another 17,000 acres around that property, if it wanted to. The site is right on the border with California on Interstate-15, which is the main highway between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Primm is about a 40-minute drive from Vegas. And it could be a great place for Las Vegas’ second airport.

Armstrong presented preliminary plans to the Clark County Commission last month.

“As long as the projected growth continues as it has been and demand continues, then the need will be there,” she said. “We will serve the same clients at that airport that we do here now.”

Of course, this won’t be an overnight thing. Visitor numbers are still down because of COVID. But Armstrong believes in the next15 years or so, they’ll have to seriously look at building that second airport. That’s why they’re looking at it now.

“The demand will be there and we want to be prepared,” Armstrong said.

H/T: 8NewsNow
Feature Photo: Tony Webster / Wikimedia

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derek January 2, 2022 - 3:45 pm

Name it McCarren. Or just Primm Airport. No “international”. International is over used. The really great airports don’t use it. Heathrow Airport. Changi Airport.

SharonKurheg January 2, 2022 - 3:47 pm

I’ll let them know 😉

MFB123 January 2, 2022 - 4:54 pm

I can’t see into the future and I won’t pretend otherwise. But, I live in Vegas now and I don’t think we need it (or, don’t need to spend the money on it). Under non-pandemic circumstances, there are very few (if any) widebodies that come into LAS (unlike, for example, DXB). Additionally, there is very little traffic between 12a and 6am (also, unlike DXB). If demand is that great, let’s fill the potential capacity fist, then we can talk about paying for another airport. A second airport along the CA border would only start talks of what can we do to make the new airport more attractive than LAS and the answer usually ends up being fees or perimeter rules- which we all end up fighting about in the long run.

derek January 2, 2022 - 7:01 pm

The cheapest solution would probably be to extend the east-west runway of North Las Vegas Airport from 5,000 ft. to 10,000 ft. The added land is not that populated.

The next cheapest solution would be to build a terminal 3 west of terminal 2 and add another east west runway along the south border near E. Sunset. Then move E. Sunset about 1000 ft. south. That’s a lot of businesses that the airport would have to buy.

The Primm location would allow the most land and use land that is not being used now but all new terminals, roadways, and runways would need to be built.

David Alan Marquette January 2, 2022 - 7:40 pm

a Primm airport along I-15 south could have a station stop on the Brightline high speed rail line.

SharonKurheg January 2, 2022 - 8:19 pm

Don’t think I didn’t think of that, too 😉

Hpycmpr155@aol.com January 4, 2022 - 8:34 am

Perhaps they should have saved the $5-7 million dollars that it took to rename McCarran airport and used that to start the second airport which they could have named Harry Reid International Airport.
Easy peasy!

SharonKurheg January 4, 2022 - 10:31 am

They don’t mention money being a problem. Besides, had they done that, they’d still have an airport named after a bigot.


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