By Steve Beauregard
Not only is there an airport by the Las Vegas Strip, there is an airport ON the Las Vegas Strip.
It’s called “McCarran International Airport and Buffet and All Female Revenue.” OK, I made those last parts up, but this is Las Vegas after all, so the airport has to be a little different. In this case, the difference is that – unlike the airport closest to your home – McCarran has 1,300 slot machines inside.
I’m not joking about the main airport in Las Vegas being on the Strip, either.
The airport’s westernmost fenced border fronts the Las Vegas Strip, just south of the Tropicana Hotel and Casino, and directly across the street from both Mandalay Bay and the Luxor Hotel and Casino.
The north part of the airport’s 2,800 acres of land butts up against sections of Tropicana Avenue, very close to the OYO Hotel and Casino, and right across the street from the green monster, (otherwise known as the MGM Grand).
Even hotel/casinos located further north up on the Strip are pretty close to the Las Vegas airport. Caesars Palace, Bellagio, The Flamingo and other resorts in the middle of the Strip, are just under 3 miles from McCarran. Hotels in downtown Las Vegas, on the other hand, are roughly nine miles away.
The fact the Las Vegas airport is so close to the main Strip tourist hub, makes taxi rates from the airport to Strip hotels fairly affordable. Interestingly enough, the airport’s quick and close location to the Strip is purely an accident and was not planned that way.
In fact, the airport was on the Strip before the Strip was the Strip. (If that makes sense).
The original airport at the site where McCarran is now, was originally called Alamo Field. It opened in 1942. By contrast, the Flamingo Hotel and Casino, one of the first casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, opened 4 years later, in December of 1946.
In 1948, Alamo Field was renamed McCarran Airport, after Nevada’s United States Senator, Pat Airport. (Just kidding, it was Pat McCarran).
Las Vegas Airport Facts
McCarran International Airport is the ninth busiest airport in the United States. Each year, it sees over 41 million passengers, (57% of whom are hungover).
According to official statistics from the Clark County Department of Aviation, 44% of all flights in and out of McCarran are Southwest Airlines flights. Second is Delta, followed by United, American Airlines then Spirit.
The airport code is: “LAS”
McCarran International Airport has three terminals. The newest one, Terminal 3, opened in 2012 and cost $2.4 billion.
Traffic at the Las Vegas airport peaked in 2007, when 48 million passengers went through the gates.
Roughly 15,000 people work at McCarran.
Fittingly, the official address for the Las Vegas airport is on a street called, “Wayne Newton Drive.”
There are approximately 970 flights in and out of the airport each day.
Other Airports Near Las Vegas
North Las Vegas Airport
Believe it or not, this airport was once owned by Howard Hughes, through his company, Hughes Tool Company.
With an adobe style terminal resembling a Sante Fe, New Mexico t-shirt shop, the North Las Vegas Airport is the city’s second busiest airport. It primarily serves smaller planes, and private aircraft.
It’s approximately five miles north west of downtown Fremont Street, (a ten minute drive), and around a nine mile drive (or 16 minutes) from the center of the Las Vegas Strip. More specifically, its entrance is located near the intersection of W. Cheyenne Avenue and N. Rancho Drive, which is also called the Tonopah Highway, and State Route 599 AND Business Route 95. (Confused yet?).
Henderson Executive Airport
You probably will never fly out of here, but if you do, it is 8 miles south of Fremont Street, and 15 miles south of the center of the Las Vegas Strip.
A third airport is much further away, 30 miles roughly. It’s the Boulder City Municipal Airport located in, well, Boulder City, well to the south and east of Sin City, on the way from Las Vegas to Hoover Dam.
There is one other airport near Las Vegas, and it’s a very busy one too. However you probably won’t be able to fly in or out of it. It goes by the name of “Nellis Air Force Base.”