Las Vegas Airport Guide
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Your Complete Guide to Las Vegas Airport

Las Vegas Airport, or the McCarran International, is allocated the IATA code of LAS, and the ICAO code of KLAS. It serves the city of Las Vegas in the United States of America, and is rated as the 22nd busiest airport in the world in terms of passenger traffic. It is ninth in the world for aircraft movements. LAS is a hub for Great Lakes Airlines, but is also served by a large number of other airline carriers. The destination is famous around the world for its enormous hotel and casino complexes, and is known to create more instant millionaires than any other city in the world. The airport provides a gateway to almost half of the city visitors. It is a modern and well-equipped establishment with adequate passenger facilities and several options for ground transportation.

The airport of Las Vegas is one of five that make up the Clark County Airport System. The system, besides McCarran International, consists of the North Las Vegas, the Henderson Executive, the Jean Sport Aviation Centre and Overton/Perkins Field, and they are all owned by Clark County, Nevada. North Las Vegas is the second largest airport in Nevada. McCarran International is located approximately five miles from the central business district of the city, and in the area of Paradise. It is also nearby Paradise Valley, Winchester, Spring Valley, Sunset Park and the Bali Hai Golf Club. The city lies alongside the Las Vegas Lake and the Las Vegas Bay in southern Nevada, which is to the northeast of California and to the northeast of Arizona. Nearby towns and cities include Bullhead City, St George and Kingman, while larger cities in the nearby states include Phoenix, Los Angeles, Bakersfield and Salt Lake City.

Passengers can reach many of the areas mentioned by buses, and can travel to the city by the RTC Transit buses, which provide the local service. They take passengers to the Bonneville Transit Centre, the South Strip Transfer Terminal and the Westcliff Transit Terminal, which are convenient locations in the city for further bus connections, the Strip and downtown. Taxis are available as well, but the airport has no train station. In future, however, the city’s monorail system may be extended to the airport from the MGM Grand Station. The monorail runs from the south end to the north end of the Strip, for about 3.9 miles. Major roads that connect the terminals to areas in Las Vegas and beyond include the Interstate-15 and the Interstate-215. Russell Road, Tropicana Avenue and Paradise Road are important for airport access as well. The site’s physical address is at 5757 Wayne Newton Boulevard.

McCarran was founded in 1942 by the American Aviator George Crockett, at the site where it can still be found today. The airport became the property of Clark County in 1948, and handled all commercial operations. It was also in this year that the establishment was officially named as the McCarran Field, in honour of Pat McCarran, a U.S. Senator. Terminal 1 was opened in March 1963. It was designed by Welton Becket and Associates and John Replogle, and was inspired by JFK’s TWA terminal. By 1978 the airport was handling a large number of passengers and upgrades to the facilities were required. A new central terminal and a nine-level parking garage was built, as well as new runways, more gates and new passenger facilities. Existing runways were also lengthened, and the roadways to the airport were improved.  The second terminal, known as Terminal 2, that was constructed between 1986 and 1997. It was built over the site where there were two terminals that were used by American Airlines and Pacific Southwest Airlines.

Las Vegas Airport is one of the only major ones in the USA that uses 100% Common Use Terminal Equipment (CUTE). Airline companies then don’t need their own equipment, and the management can easily reassign gates and check-in counters. This system was established in the 1990’s, and has proven to be successful. The airport also has SpeedCheck kiosks, allowing passengers to receive their boarding pass without needing to go to a specific airline counter or kiosk. The airport was the first in the world to offer kiosks that can be used by passengers on any airline company, and the first in the USA to offer this service. The site was also one of the first to offer free Wi-Fi throughout the terminals, and in 2005, was the largest free wireless internet installation in the world. The airport is also equipped with a new Car Rental Centre, that was opened in 2007. It is located three miles from the terminals, at 7135 Gilespie Street, and is permanently linked to the terminals by free shuttle buses. Complimentary shuttles also runs between the terminals, and from the Economy Parking Lot.

The current terminals are used by a large number of airline carriers. International airline companies such as WestJet, Air Canada, British Airways, Korean Air, Sunwing Airlines and Aeromexico are found at Terminal 2, the international one. This terminal is also the arrival and departure point of most charter flights. Some of the popular international destinations include Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Vancouver, Toronto, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Kelowna, Saskatoon and Regina in Canada, and London and Manchester in the United Kingdom. Flights are available to Mexico City, Frankfurt and Manila as well. Terminal 2 has its own passenger facilities, including restaurants, shops, restrooms, information desks, ATMs and a VIP lounge.

The majority of the flights are operated from Terminal 1, as the large number of passengers who use the airport on a yearly basis mostly fly on domestic routes. Some of the most important American airline companies at this terminal include Allegiant Air, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Great Lakes Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, US Airways, Virgin America and SkyWest Airlines. The busiest domestic routes from McCarran  are to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Phoenix, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Seattle, New York and Salt Lake City. Terminal 1 is a large building with four concourses, A, B, C and D, of which C and D are satellite concourses connected to the central check-in and baggage reclaim area by McCarran International people movers. All facilities required are found in this terminal, including a Presidents Club and the Howard W. Cannon Aviation Museum, depicting the airline history of Las Vegas. The terminal features various art displays as well, and is accessible to disabled travellers. In addition, Las Vegas Airport has over a thousand slot machines and more than 200 gambling machines on the airside and landside of the terminals.

Las Vegas Airport is estimated to have a maximum capacity of 53 million passengers per annum, and is expected to be handling this number of passengers in the near future. The airport is therefore planning ahead and making various adjustments to its facilities. Its projects will include the rehabilitation of Terminal 1 and a new FAA control tower, as well as a new Terminal 3, which is currently in construction and scheduled to open in June-2012. The new terminal will handle all international flights, as well as scheduled airline companies, and will have fourteen gates. Seven of these gates will be for international operations. Terminal 3 will be three-storey building covering a surface area of 1.9 million square foot, and will have 32 curb-side check-in positions, 130 conventional check-in counters and 203 self-service kiosks. There will be a 6,000 space parking garage as well.

McCarran International Airport is the largest of the famous city of Las Vegas, and is also famous for media appearances, as it was featured in the films ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ and ‘Rush Hour 2’. It is also featured in the video games ‘Fallout: New Vegas’ and ‘Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas’.

Las Vegas Airport information is available from the information counters on site, or passengers can make general enquiries at (702)261-5211. Flight information is available at (702)261-4636 and parking information is available at (702)261-5121.