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Bigger may be better: Las Vegas-area airports set sights on expansion

Updated April 17, 2024 - 6:16 pm

With the need for additional general aviation capacity well documented by November’s Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix and February’s Super Bowl, airport planners are looking to lengthen runways at Henderson Executive Airport and North Las Vegas Airport to enable larger aircraft to land there.

The Clark County Department of Aviation is addressing needs at the two secondary airports as the best choices for general aviation, the small business jets and propeller-driven planes frequently used for corporate operations.

A master plan for Henderson Executive Airport was completed two years ago and the county paved additional parking aprons for planes in time for the two recent major sporting events.

A master plan for North Las Vegas Airport is underway with a fourth public meeting scheduled in the summer and a final draft due in the fall. Final local approval is expected in the fall or winter and the Federal Aviation Administration, which is required to give final approval, would complete the process in early 2025.

Under current plans still pending approval, runways at both airports would be lengthened.

In a March meeting, officials discussed lengthening and widening two runways at North Las Vegas Airport. Eric Pfeifer, a consulting planner with Coffman Associates, which has offices in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Overland Park, Kansas, said a 5,000-by-75-foot runway would be expanded to 6,000 feet and 100 feet, while a 4,199-by-75-foot runway would be expanded to 4,300 by 100 feet. An existing 5,005-by-75-foot runway would be unchanged. Instrument landing systems at the airport would have to be relocated to accommodate the additional runway length.

With current runway lengths, planes would not be able to depart at full capacity.

“Part of the master plan is to forecast future growth and demand at the airport and evaluate different scenarios that could help meet that demand,” Clark County Department of Aviation representative Joe Rajchel said in an email. “As we see business jets getting larger, one of the options being looked at is lengthening the runways to better accommodate.”

The plan may also involve considering new hangar space since there’s a waiting list of more than 100 aircraft owners. Adding scheduled airline service and nonmunicipally run fixed-base operators aren’t part of the plan.

The county is focusing additional commercial air service for a supplemental airport currently planned south of Las Vegas in the Ivanpah Valley. But that new airport isn’t expected to be completed until 2037 and it won’t be determined which airlines would operate there until the project is nearly completed.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on X.

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