Sam Morris/Las Vegas News Bureau
Sunday, Dec. 25, 2016 | 2 a.m.
McCarran International is no run-of-the-mill airport.
With nearly 500 daily commercial flights departing to 150 cities around the globe, McCarran ranks eighth nationwide in passenger volume, according to spokeswoman Christine Crews and Federal Aviation Administration data.
Opened in 1942 as Alamo Field, the airport had 12 daily flights. But it grew to 1 million passengers by 1960 and more than 2 million by the next decade. McCarran added its first international flight in March 1968, bound for Mexico through Phoenix. Now, with nearly 3.8 million monthly passengers flying in and out of its two operating terminals and a third separate concourse, McCarran is reaching more cities than ever.
“Las Vegas has seen tremendous growth in international air traffic in recent years – up nearly 70 percent from 2009 through the end of 2015,” airport spokesman Chris Jones said. “(We) felt it was prudent to add more international-capable gates so we can accommodate future growth.”
• 8th: Nationwide in passenger volume (trailing just LAX and SFO in the Western U.S.)
• 26th: Worldwide in passenger volume
• 490: Average daily commercial flights
• 150: Cities serviced across the globe
• 530,000: Flights in 2015 (up from 500,000 in 2014)
• 45.4 million: Passengers in 2015 (up from 42.9 million in 2014)
• 3.5million: International passengers in 2015 (a record high)
• 55 million: Capacity. If the number of passengers ever exceeds capacity, the county would be forced to further expand McCarran or potentially build another airport.
• 110: Number of gates
• $30 million: Investment in renovations to Terminal 1’s baggage claim, adding terrazzo flooring, new restrooms, terminal pillars and ticketing counters. The project, now underway, does not have a scheduled finish date.
• $99 million: Cost of a 352-foot air-traffic control tower which opened Aug. 28 and doubled the size of the old 185-foot tower, which had opened in 1983 and became obsolete as airport expansion created blind spots for control-tower operators.
• $65 million: McCarran’s 14,500-foot Runway 7L-25R underwent a two-phase revamp, which saw about 200,000 cubic feet of concrete used to reinforce the runway with 11 extra inches of thickness. The runway is the third-longest in the U.S. and handles a third of annual traffic.
• $51 million: Improvements to the airport’s $2.4 billion Terminal 3, expanding international gates from seven to 14, with a tunnel connecting the D Concourse with Terminal 3 and the airport’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s security checkpoint.
• 30: Commercial airline companies operate out of McCarran
• 3,200: Approximate number of parking spots
• 9,548: Daily taxi visits (as well as 9,288 ride-hailing pickups)
• 99 percent: Success rate for the radio-frequency system on baggage. — that's right, your bags are microchipped. McCarran is one of fewer than a dozen airports worldwide using radio frequency to track checked baggage. It was implemented in the early 2000s, when wrinkled bar codes on traditional tags resulted in many bags being lost, Crews said. Now, with small copper chips and silver-colored antennas embedded inside McCarran-administered luggage tags, an airport scanner emits radio waves to locate a series of numbers, corresponding with each tag. The success rate is 85-90 percent with typical bag tags.
Recently added direct flights
• 2: Beijing and Oslo. Hainan Airlines, the direct flight from mainland China, flies three times a week to and from McCarran. The first flight took off on Dec. 2.
Added by Norwegian Airlines on Nov. 3, the flight to Oslo will be suspended in March because of the heat in Las Vegas, which makes it difficult for Norwegian planes — which carry more passengers and, as a result, more weight — to take off.