How does McCarran International Airport keep up with the growth in Southern Nevada?
To meet the demands of Southern Nevada's growth, in terms of both residents and visitors, the Clark County Department of Aviation (DOA) has plans to increase the size and capacity of its existing facilities and develop a new airport facility. In calendar year 2002, McCarran International Airport handled more than 35 million passengers, making Las Vegas' gateway airport one of the top 10 busiest airports in North America.
What's the most critical aspect of increasing McCarran's capacity?
Bringing additional passengers through McCarran takes more than just adding flights. It is imperative that the balance between the airfield, terminal, and roadway systems be maintained. It is not enough that the airfield can accommodate aircraft; the terminal facilities (aircraft gates, ticketing, and baggage claim) must also be in place to handle passengers' needs, and roadways must be sufficient to facilitate the safe and efficient movement of private and commercial vehicles.
Is the construction of new Strip resorts an indicator of growth at McCarran?
Nearly 50% of all visitors to Southern Nevada travel through McCarran International Airport. Every new hotel room built means an additional 350 passengers annually. This formula has held true for the last 15 years. Passenger activity increased an amazing 76% during the 1990s.
What has McCarran done to accommodate this phenomenal growth?
Over the past decade, McCarran has accomplished numerous expansion projects:
What can we expect during in the years ahead?
McCarran's ultimate capacity is estimated at 52 million annual passengers. The airfield can handle that number, but the terminal and airport roadway system, in their current form, cannot. When an airport's facilities become out of balance like this, delays can occur. Delays result in increased processing time for the traveling public and an increase in airline operating costs. The Department's goal is to bring all three components in balance by adding passenger boarding gates, terminal facilities, and roadway improvements within McCarran's limited space. As with past development, future construction projects are demand-driven and will only be built if and when activity levels warrant additional facilities.
What major projects are planned for the future?
How will the valley's other airports help McCarran handle growth?
In addition to McCarran, there are five "general aviation" airports operated by the DOA (North Las Vegas Airport, Henderson Executive Airport, Jean Sport Aviation Center, Overton Municipal Airport, and Searchlight) designed to handle smaller aircraft. North Las Vegas Airport ranks as the second busiest airport in the Nevada in terms of operations (take-offs and landings).
McCarran's successful handling of the projected 52 million passengers hinges on the ability of the North Las Vegas Airport and the Henderson Executive Airport to meet future growth in general aviation activity and attract a portion of the existing general aviation activity away from McCarran.
What happens when demand at McCarran exceeds 52 million passengers?
Another airport will be needed to accommodate the increase in travelers. The DOA is already preparing to develop a second international airport in Southern Nevada on 6,600 acres of land now owned by the Federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Sale of the property was made possible when President Clinton signed legislation on October 20, 2000.
Located south of Las Vegas, between Jean and Primm, the Ivanpah Valley site has the available airspace, good terrain and topography, surrounding land use compatibility, and surface access from I-15, State Route 604, and the Union Pacific Railroad.
When will we need the new airport?
Ideally, when McCarran reaches 90% of its maximum capacity.
What's happening right now?
Airspace and environmental studies must be completed prior to the land transfer. DOA is also taking preliminary looks at future surface access options and storm water drainage issues. Learn More.