McCarran International Airport
|McCarran International Airport|
|IATA: LAS – ICAO: KLAS – FAA LID: LAS
– WMO: 72386
|Operator||Clark County Department of Aviation|
|Serves||Las Vegas Valley|
|Focus city for|
|Elevation AMSL||2,181 ft / 665 m|
McCarran International Airport (IATA: LAS, ICAO: KLAS, FAA LID: LAS) is the main commercial airport for the Las Vegas Valley and Clark County, Nevada, United States. It is about 5 miles (8.0 km) south of downtown Las Vegas, in the unincorporated area of Paradise in Clark County. It covers roughly 2,800 acres (1,100 ha), with four runways and two terminals. McCarran is owned by Clark County and operated by the Clark County Department of Aviation (DOA). The airport is named after former Nevada senator Pat McCarran (1876–1954).
McCarran is the 24th busiest airport by passenger traffic in the world, with 41,856,787 passengers passing through the airport in 2013. In terms of aircraft movements, the airport ranks 8th in the world with 527,739 takeoffs and landings.
Between April 2014 and March 2015, the busiest scheduled airlines flying out of McCarran were Southwest Airlines (44%), United Airlines (9%), Delta Air Lines (9%), American Airlines (7%), and Spirit Airlines (6%). Canadian airline WestJet is McCarran’s largest international carrier, transporting over 1 million passengers in 2013 and connecting Las Vegas with 11 cities in Canada.
- 1 History
- 2 Terminals
- 3 Airlines and destinations
- 4 Statistics
- 5 Howard W. Cannon Aviation Museum
- 6 Airport public art
- 7 Ground transportation
- 8 Accidents and incidents
- 9 Future plans
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
In the beginning, Rockwell Field was the airport serving Las Vegas. Western Air Express Airlines brought scheduled flights to the airport in 1926. Rockwell Field closed in 1930 and was replaced by a new airport northwest of town, later named McCarran Airport. The United States Army Air Corps, who had been surveying the Las Vegas area since the 1930s, became interested in the new airport. During World War II, they established a gunnery training school there, which closed at the end of the war. However, the Air Force wanted to reopen the base in 1947, provided commercial air traffic was transferred to a different airport. (The reopened base would become Nellis AFB.) County officials selected Alamo Field as the new commercial airport. American aviator George Crockett, who established the field in 1942, agreed to sell Alamo Field to Clark County. On December 19, 1948, the airport was renamed McCarran Field after then senator Pat McCarran, a longtime Nevada politician who authored the Civil Aeronautics Act and played a major role in developing aviation nationwide.
In its first full year McCarran Field was used by more than 35,000 passengers. Traffic increased as Las Vegas’ casino/resort industry expanded during the 1950s; 959,603 passengers passed through the airport in 1959. The April 1949 Official Airline Guide shows 12 departures a day; 33 weekday departures in April 1957 and 41 in May 1959. Nonstops to Chicago started about 1954 and to New York in 1963; jet flights (United 720s) began in Aug-Sept 1960.
The increase in air traffic necessitated a new terminal, which opened on Paradise Rd on March 15, 1963. The terminal, designed by Welton Becket and Associates and John Replogle, was inspired by the TWA terminal at JFK. Four years after the airport was officially renamed McCarran International Airport, the A and B gates were constructed to meet the constant need for growth.
In 1978 Senator Howard Cannon pushed the Airline Deregulation Act through Congress. Airlines no longer had to obtain the federal government's permission to fly to a city, but instead dealt directly with airports. After deregulation, the number of airlines at McCarran doubled from seven to fourteen.
An expansion plan, McCarran 2000, was adopted in 1978 and funded by a $300 million bond issue in 1982. The three-phase plan included a new central terminal; a nine-level parking facility; runway additions and expansions; additional gates; upgraded passenger assistance facilities; and a new tunnel and revamped roadways to the airport. The first phase of McCarran 2000 opened in 1985 and was completed by 1987, with the opening of the C-Gates satellite concourse.
A second terminal opened in 1986, but did not have much use until 1991. It had eight gates and served all charter and international airlines at McCarran.
Development since the 1990s
In 1997 McCarran became the first U.S. airport to implement Common Use Terminal Equipment (CUTE). This common set of computer hardware eliminates the need for each airline to have their own equipment, and it allows the airport to reassign gates and counters without having to address individual airlines' computer systems. McCarran is also among the only major airports in the United States that entirely uses CUTE.
In 1998 the D-Gate concourse's southeast and southwest wings opened, adding 28 gates. They were designed by Leo A Daly and Tate & Snyder. The D Gates project is a modification to the original McCarran 2000 plan.
On October 16, 2003 the airport installed SpeedCheck kiosks which allow customers to obtain a boarding pass without having to go to a specific airline kiosk or counter. McCarran was the first airport in the US to provide this service and the first in the world to provide the service to all airlines from a single kiosk. At the same time, six kiosks were activated at the Las Vegas Convention Center allowing convention attendees to get boarding passes on their way to the airport. This system was enhanced to add printing of baggage tags in 2005.
In 2003 the airport announced it was implementing a baggage-tracking system that will use Radio-frequency identification (RFID) bag tags from Matrics Inc. to improve air safety. The decision to implement the tracking system makes McCarran one of the first airports to use the RFID technology airport-wide.
On January 4, 2005 the airport started offering wireless internet service at no charge. The signal is available in the boarding areas and most other public areas. While not the first airport to offer free WiFi throughout the entire facility, the airport was perhaps the first major airport with free WiFi throughout. At the time, this was the largest (2 million square feet (180,000 m²)) free wireless Internet installation in the world.
In 2005, the northeast wing of the D-Gates concourse opened with eleven gates. A 160-foot (49 m) ramp control tower was also added to the concourse.
On April 4, 2007, the consolidated rental car facility opened, which is located 3 miles (5 km) from the terminals (see Transportation section). The distance from the airport (including a segment of US Interstate 215) requires the facility to be permanently linked via bus to the airport.
In 2008, the northwest wing of the D-Gates concourse opened with another nine gates. It cost $179 million to build. With the concourse now completed, there are a total of 44 parking positions at the D-Gates for aircraft.
Due to cost-cutting moves at US Airways as a result of the 2008 night-flight hub closure, the US Airways Club was closed on September 13, 2009, and was subsequently replaced by a USO office. The United Club in Concourse D, which opened earlier that year, replaced a Delta Air Lines Crown Room Club that was previously closed in 2001.
The US Airways night-flight hub operation, established in 1986 by predecessor America West Airlines, made the carrier McCarran's second busiest airline. Due to the 2008 energy crisis, the night-flight hub was closed in September 2008. US Airways closed its crew base on January 31, 2010. On August 31, 2011, US Airways announced that it will keep shrinking its operations by cutting 40% of its flights out of Las Vegas. The airline eliminated nonstop service to Boston, Dallas/Fort Worth, Fresno, Los Angeles, and San Francisco on November 29, 2011, leaving the airline with only flights from Las Vegas to its hubs in Charlotte, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and its focus city at Washington Reagan National Airport. Due to the merger with American Airlines, flights to Los Angeles and Dallas/Fort Worth were eventually restored.
Since the early 2000s, international traffic to Las Vegas has increased significantly. McCarran experienced a 92% increase in the amount of foreign passengers it received between 2003 and 2011.
New international routes have facilitated the flow of foreign passengers to the airport. In October 2009, British Airways began nonstop flights to London-Heathrow, opening McCarran to connections from Africa, the Middle East, and beyond.
To accommodate this increase in traffic, Terminal 3 was opened on June 27, 2012. It was designed by PGAL Architecture, Robert A. Fielden, Inc., and Welles Puglsey Architect. The terminal covers 1.9 million square feet (176,500 square meters) and cost $2.4 billion to build, making it the largest public works project in Nevada. It increased the total number of gates at McCarran to 110. Adjacent to the terminal is a multistory parking garage with nearly 6,000 spaces.
In August 2015 the airport announced plans to convert 7 gates in Concourse D to international gates, connected by tram to Customs in Terminal 3. Construction of the underground tram link will cost $51 million, beginning in November and ending in early 2017.
In October 2015, Hainan Airlines applied to the CAAC for traffic rights between Beijing and Las Vegas. Three weekly flights would begin in September 2016, using Boeing 787-8 aircraft. This would become McCarran's first nonstop link to China and its second nonstop link to Asia, after Korean Air's flights to Seoul.
Terminal 1 is spread across four concourses: Concourse A (gates A3, A5, A7, A8, A10–12, A14, A15, A17–23), Concourse B (gates B1–B2, B6, B9–B12, B14, B15, B17, B19–B25), Concourse C (gates C1–C5, C7–C9, C11, C12, C14, C16, C19, C21–C25), and Concourse D (gates D1, D3–D12, D14, D16–D26, D31–D43, D50–D58). Ticketing and baggage claim facilities are located in a central area, connected to concourses A and B via walking pathways and to concourses C and D via a people mover system.
The terminal houses four lounges. Near the security checkpoint for concourses A and B is a USO lounge for American service members; Concourse D has a United Club (operated as a Crown Room Club for Delta Airlines between 1998 and 2001), The Club at LAS, and the American Express Centurion Lounge.
Concourse D is a satellite terminal, which opened in three stages between 1998 and 2009. While considered part of Terminal 1, the concourse also handles flights for Air Canada rouge, Air Transat, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Sun Country Airlines, and United Airlines, whose ticketing and baggage claim facilities are located in Terminal 3. These facilities are connected to Concourse D via a separate line of the people mover system.
Terminal 3, opened in June 2012, is used for all international flights and the domestic flights of Alaska Airlines, JetBlue Airways, and Virgin America. It contains 14 gates, the westernmost 7 (E1–E7) used for the domestic flights and the easternmost 7 (E8–E12, E14–E15) used for the international flights. Four of the latter gates are equipped with two jetways, making them capable of handling widebody aircraft.
Former Terminal 2
Terminal 2, which softly opened in 1986, officially opened on December 18, 1991, as The Charter International Terminal, and was used for all international as well as most charter flights into Las Vegas. It contained eight gates (T2-1 through T2-8), four of which were equipped with facilities for international flights, and a VIP lounge for full-fare, first class passengers. Terminal 2 closed on June 28, 2012, and will be demolished at a date that has not yet been set.
Airlines and destinations
In October 2010, a new air cargo center was opened in partnership with Marnell Properties that cost $29 million to build. Located near Terminal 3, the two buildings of the facility contain 200,928 square feet (18,666.8 m2) and sit on 19 acres (7.7 ha) of land. The center’s current tenants are: UPS, American Airlines, Allegiant Air, Worldwide Flight Services, Southwest Airlines, and FedEx. In 2013, the airport handled 205,095,310 pounds (93,029,670 kg) of cargo.
|Aloha Air Cargo||Honolulu|
|FedEx Express||Memphis, Oakland, Reno/Tahoe|
|UPS Airlines||Louisville, Ontario|
Other terminal operations
- Fixed base operators
- Signature Flight Support, owned by BBA Aviation Services Group, provides services for private aircraft using McCarran. It also provides equipment and support to other airlines for aircraft types that do not normally fly into McCarran.
- The Las Vegas Executive Air Terminal, owned by Eagle Aviation Resources, is being purchased by Macquarie Infrastructure Company. It provides services for private aircraft using McCarran.
- Helicopter Companies:
- Maverick Aviation Group Sightseeing
- The EG&G Airlift Terminal, operated by EG&G Technical Services. EG&G flies a variety of aircraft (including Boeing 737s) from McCarran to various U.S. Department of Energy facilities in southern Nevada. The contractors who use this service work at the DoE's Nevada Test Site and Tonopah Test Range.
- Hughes Aviation
|1||Los Angeles, California||1,212,000||American, Delta, Southwest, Spirit, United, Virgin America|
|2||San Francisco, California||990,000||JetBlue, Southwest, United, Virgin America|
|3||Denver, Colorado||839,000||Frontier, Southwest, Spirit, United|
|4||Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas||684,000||American, Spirit|
|5||Seattle/Tacoma, Washington||679,000||Alaska, Delta, Southwest|
|6||Atlanta, Georgia||670,000||Delta, Frontier, Spirit, Southwest|
|7||Phoenix, Arizona (PHX)||668,000||Southwest, US Airways|
|8||Chicago-O'Hare, Illinois||627,000||American, Frontier, Spirit, United|
|9||New York City, New York (JFK)||549,000||American, Delta, JetBlue, Virgin America|
|10||Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota||509,000||Delta, Spirit, Sun Country|
Top international carriers
|Rank||Airline||Passengers (2012)||Passengers (2013)||Passengers
|1||WestJet||975,353||1,019,942||1,104,994||Calgary, Edmonton, Montréal-Trudeau, Regina, Saskatoon, Toronto-Pearson, Vancouver, Victoria, Winnipeg
Seasonal: Kelowna, Ottawa
|2||Air Canada||479,318||508,340||631,620||Calgary, Montréal-Trudeau, Toronto-Pearson, Vancouver|
|3||Virgin Atlantic Airways||275,533||312,544||299,720||London-Gatwick, Manchester (UK)|
|4||British Airways||231,569||293,353||292,837||London Gatwick, London-Heathrow|
|5||Aeromexico||192,185||206,784||272,235||Guadalajara, Mexico City, Monterrey|
|5||Volaris||235,172||207,601||225,940||Guadalajara, Mexico City|
|7||Copa Airlines||37,507||93,944||147,581||Panama City|
|10||Interjet||2,650||43,023||59,295||Monterrey, Toluca/Mexico City|
Howard W. Cannon Aviation Museum
The Howard W. Cannon Aviation Museum is located on the Esplanade, Level 2, above the baggage claim area. The museum concentrates on Las Vegas’ airline history, and contains exhibits such as a copy of the first emergency vehicle that was used on the airfield. A small branch of the museum is located at the D gates, and some of the other concourses and check-in areas also have small displays. The current curator of the museum is Mark Hall-Patton, a 20th-century historian and administrator of the Clark County Museum, who has frequently appeared as an appraisal expert on the reality television series, Pawn Stars.
Airport public art
Some of the public art displays in McCarran Airport includes:
- Murals in McCarran International Airport D Gates (artists include: Tom Holder, Mary Warner, Robert Beckmann, Harold Bradford)
- Greg LeFevre's Flights Paths—in the D Gates rotunda's terrazzo floor
- Tony Milici's steel and glass sculpture at McCarran's D Gates
- McCarran's D Gates feature wall tiles of international skylines by sixteen Clark County fourth graders
- Wildlife sculptures of Clark County wildlife at the D Gates, by David L Phelps
McCarran Airport is reached from Tropicana Avenue (State Route 593) to the north or the Las Vegas Beltway (Interstate 215) to the south. Vehicles enter the airport via the McCarran Airport Connector, which includes Paradise Road/Swenson Street and the airport tunnel.
The airport is served by various taxicab firms and by RTC Transit, the public bus service of the Las Vegas valley. RTC Transit services (Route 108, Route 109, Westcliff Airport Express, Centennial Express, indirectly the Strip and Downtown Express) provide transportation from downtown, the Strip, and other locations throughout the valley. Routes 108, 109 stop at Terminal 1 outside the Zero Level, the Centennial Express stops at terminal 3 and the Westcliff Airport Express stops at both. The Strip and Downtown Express goes to the South Strip Transfer Terminal and a short ride on the 109 gets you to the airport. To transport passengers between terminals, a courtesy shuttle service is provided.
A consolidated rental car facility opened in April 2007, located about 3 miles (4.8 km) from the airport. The facility, which sits on 68 acres (28 ha) of land, houses 11 rental car companies with 5,000 parking spaces on multiple levels. A fleet of 40 buses provides free transportation from the terminals to the facility.
For parking, there are multistory parking garages located just off Terminals 1 and 3. There are also economy parking lots for the two terminals, which offer cheaper rates. Complementary shuttles transport passengers between the terminals and economy lots.
Accidents and incidents
- On September 8, 2015, British Airways Flight 2276, a Boeing 777-236ER, aborted takeoff due to an engine fire in the aircraft's left (#1) GE90 engine. The aircraft was operating from McCarran International Airport to London Gatwick Airport. This incident did not result in any fatalities, with only minor injuries occurring mostly as a result of the evacuation.
In 2007 airport officials estimated the maximum capacity for the airport at 53 million passengers and 625,000 aircraft movements per year. As McCarran was predicted to reach this capacity around 2017, Ivanpah Airport near Primm was planned as a relief airport in the late 1990s. However, due to a downturn in traffic, the passenger count dropped to 39.8 million in 2010. Also, recently the FAA began making progress on the Next Generation Air Transportation System to allow more flights per hour essentially increasing capacity beyond 53 million passengers per year. As of June 2011, the Ivanpah Airport is completing environmental assessments but is officially on hold while the Department of Aviation has asked airport planners to study adding additional gates to the former Terminal 2 site once Terminal 3 opens for additional capacity.
Las Vegas Monorail connection
A plan to extend the Las Vegas Monorail to McCarran has been under consideration since the mid 2000s. This proposed extension will add underground stations at Terminal 1 and at Terminal 3. The part of the extension north of the airport will be elevated. This expansion is opposed by taxi and limousine services who garner significant revenues shuttling the public to and from the airport.
The monorail extension was not a favoured option in the first draft of the 2015 Transportation Investment Business Plan, which instead recommended a new underground light rail system operating from McCarran to the Strip. Also recommended in the report is a multimodal interchange based at McCarran which would also house a station for a high-speed rail line to Los Angeles.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to McCarran International Airport.|
- McCarran International Airport, official web site
- History of McCarran airport, onlinenevada.org
- Flight and checkpoint delays, lasvegassun.com
- Howard W. Cannon Aviation Museum – official site
- PDF (58.9 KB) from Nevada DOT
- (PDF), effective November 12, 2015
- FAA Terminal Procedures for LAS, effective November 12, 2015
- Resources for this airport:
- Jeppesen airport diagrams for 1955 and 1966