McCarran International Airport


“McCarran International Airport” Airport management

The McCarran International airport is located in Las Vegas Nevada just one mile south of the strip. The McCarran International Airport is part of the Clark County Airport system which owns and operates six airports, including five general aviation airports. These airports are operated under the policy direction of the Board of County Commissioners, the authority of the County Manager and the management of the director and Deputy Director of Aviation. The Department of Aviation is a self-sufficient enterprise and operates without county general fund tax revenues. The areas of the McCarran airport that we will attempt to analyze are the Airports’ history, current status, the future plans; design factors and evaluation whether or not these factors are suitable for the existing and future needs of the airport.


First, we will discuss the current facts of the Airport. McCarran International is the fifth busiest airport in North America and 12th in the world as of the year 2000. In 2001 passenger traffic was 35,203,808. Currently, McCarran airport averages 96,449 passengers per day compared to the 1991 average of 55,266 per day. Between 1991 and 2000 passenger traffic has increased by 74.5%. Currently, more than 30 airlines provide nonstop service to more than 70 international and domestic destinations.

All of the major airlines fly into the airport including United, Southwest, American West, Delta, American, Continental, and Northwest. This adds up to 30 Domestic Airlines, 23 International and 21 Charter. More than 900 daily scheduled flights fly in and out of the Airport. McCarran offers nonstop scheduled service to Canada, Germany, Japan, Mexico, and London. Also, fourteen airfreight companies provide service through McCarran. McCarran consists of 92 aircraft gates at two separate terminal buildings.

Terminal 1 has gates A-D with gate A totaling 19 gates, B 20 gates, C19 gates, and D has 26 gates. Terminal 2 has 8 gates including 3 International gates. The Airport has more than 50 rental shops and nearly 30 restaurants, lounges, and snack bars. The Airfield consists of 2,800 acres of land and lays at an elevation of 2,170 feet. There are four runways 25R is 14,505 feet, 25L is 10,525 feet, 19L is 9,770 feet, and 19R is 9,770 feet in length. The runway surfaces are made of asphalt/porous friction courses, in good condition. The current weight limit is 23,000 pounds per single wheel, 220,000 per double, 633,000 per double tandem, and 877,000 per dual double tandem.

Also, McCarran introduced the latest in firefighting technology by releasing the Red Dog 43 the “Striker”. Equipped with a sophisticated delivery system for three different firefighting agents water, foam, and dry chemicals, the Striker is designed to address the unique technical needs of an aircraft rescue. The Striker also sets the industry standard for performance and ease of operation with a limited crew.  There are currently 116 Aircraft based on the field along with 10 single-engine airplanes, 12 multi-engine airplanes, 61 Jet Airplanes, 33 Helicopters. Airport operations average 1468 per day of that 62 % are commercial, 19% transient general aviation, 11% air taxi, 4% local general aviation and 4% military.


Next, we will discuss the history of McCarran Airport. The McCarran airport gets its name from Senator Patrick A. McCarran who played a major role in the development of aviation in the state of Nevada. Senator McCarran sponsored Civilian Pilot Training Act which led to the training of thousands of pilots during WWÐ. In 1941 The Las Vegas airfield was commissioned and became a joint-use air facility for the Air Corps.

In 1948 Clark County purchased George Crockett’s existing airfield on Las Vegas Blvd. and established the Clark County public airport. All commercial activities were moves from McCarran to Clark. Then the Clark County airport was renamed the McCarran field in honor of Senator McCarran. The then served four airlines: Bonanza, Western, United, and TWA an average of 12 flights per day. In 1959 McCarran served 99 flights per day. Passenger volume nearly reached the 1 million mark for the year. In 1962 the number of daily flights rose to 110 with an annual passenger volume of 1,284,973.

In 1963 Clark County officials renamed the site from the McCarran field, to the McCarran Airport. Both names had been in use since the opening in 1948. In 1966 the Airport passenger volume exceeded 2 million. McCarran was removed from the tax rolls and became self-supporting. In 1968 McCarran was officially renamed McCarran International. 1969 first 747 landed at the airport. In 1974 McCarran celebrated a 30 million dollar expansion project. In 1978 there was a dramatic increase in the passenger volume and terminal traffic prompted the adoption of the McCarran 2000 master plan. The three phases 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 into the airport.

In 1997 the average daily passengers were 84,000, and 22 airlines served more than 70 Domestic and International destinations, the fourth runway was completed, and McCarran was ranked as the third fastest growing Airport serving International passengers. In 2000 a 20-year blueprint is presented, vision 2020, for the development of aviation facilities in Southern Nevada at the board of county commissioners. This includes plans for the new airport in Ivanpah Valley. MGM Grand Hotel and Casino satellite registration/hotel check-in facility at McCarran airport is opened, the first facility of its type in North America.


One Major question that is arising in most people’s minds is what happens when the demand at McCarran Airport exceeds 55 million passengers? Another airport will need 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. The sale was made possible when President Clinton signed legislation on October 20th, 2000. This Ivanpah 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 a new airport? Ideally, we will when McCarran reaches 90% of its maximum capacity. What’s happening right now is Airspace and environmental studies are being completed prior to the land transfer.

The DOA is taking preliminary looks at future surface access options and stormwater drainage issues. This new airport will not replace but it will augment availability capacity at Las Vegas McCarran International Airport. The Ivanpah Valley Airport (IVP) will serve international and long haul domestic passenger flights, as well as international and domestic air cargo demand. The site is about 25 miles South of Las Vegas. Construction of the first phase is expected to begin late this decade, with initial operations starting in 2014 when McCarran national passenger travel reaches 50 million, or 90% of its capacity. IVP will ultimately be designed to handle 30 million passengers.


Some of the current projects that are occurring at the Airport are: Taxiway Extensions, A & B gate remodel and wall replacement, A & B gate ramp rehabilitation, Henderson Hangar infrastructure, Consolidated Rental Car facility, Henderson Airport Tower and terminal, D gates NE Wing Building Expansion, Office Re-roof, Restroom Remodel, A & B Gates Moving Walkway Renovations, Subdivision Land Preparation, A and B gates heating ventilation and air conditioning rehabilitation phase 1 and 2, and Automated vehicle Identification Control System.


D gate satellite concourse, then Automated Transit System, Economic Impact. Ben these you can talk about next they are in the typed handouts of yours.


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