MIAMI – Travelers flying in to hit it big in Las Vegas won’t be landing at McCarran International Airport (LAS) anymore. New airport? No.

The airport serving the gambling capital of the Western Hemisphere was renamed this week after Harry Reid, who was the Senate Majority Leader between 2007 and 2015.

The airport was originally named for Democratic Sen. Patrick McCarran. He served Nevada from 1933-1954. Although he was known as a strong advocate for the aviation industry, in recent months critics have noted his reported history of perpetuating racism, xenophobia, and antisemitism.

In February, the Clark County Commission unanimously approved renaming the airport after the state’s longest-serving senator.

The new name of the facility is officially Harry Reid International Airport. However, it will keep the LAS IATA code.

Harry Reid’s Official US Senate Portrait 2009. Photo: US Senate

Supported Expansion

The Nevada Independent reported that several speakers at Tuesday’s dedication ceremony noted that the airport would not have experienced its tremendous expansion without Reid’s support.

Clark County Director of Aviation Rosemary Vassiliadis said, “During the Great Recession, there were serious questions as to whether the US$2.4bn [international terminal] project could be completed. Senator Reid worked to ensure the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2008 included the alternative minimum tax reliefs. That, in turn, allowed the construction to continue on schedule, maintain jobs, and later save millions of dollars in debt service costs.”

She also said Reid helped secure US$111m in funding for the airport’s air traffic control tower. It is the second tallest in the U.S.

Reid, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2018 did not attend the ceremony.

Featured image: Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Photo: KTNV