McCarran International Airport and surrounding airports were responsible for $35 billion in economic output in Clark County in 2018, officials say.
Las Vegas’ airport system contributed $21 billion toward the gross domestic product in the region, as well, according to the Economic Contribution of the Clark County Airports report to be released Friday.
“The airport system is a large economic driver for Southern Nevada,” said Rosemary Vassiliadis, Clark County Department of Aviation director. “This report reiterates the critical role the airport plays for transportation in and out of Southern Nevada.”
The report prepared by Oxford Economics said an estimated 80 percent of that economic impact is tied to arriving passengers at McCarran.
The economic output — based off induced, direct and indirect spending — of the airport system grew from $28 million in 2014 when the last economic report was prepared to $35 billion in 2018, Vassiliadis said.
“That did jump out,” she said. “We’re really proud that we’ve kept up with the growth.”
In 2014, McCarran saw 42.9 million passengers go through its gates compared to a record 49.7 million in 2018.
The emergence of low-cost carriers and airlines using larger aircraft played a role in the increase, Vassiliadis said.
Of those passengers, Clark County residents took 9.2 million round trips in 2018.
“Local population have been traveling more than they have in the past,” Vassiliadis said. “In the past, when we had tremendous growth in the community, it didn’t always relate to the airport. But we’re seeing a change in that.”
The economic impact report said the airport system in the Las Vegas area — Henderson Executive Airport, North Las Vegas Airport, Jean Sport Aviation Center and Overton-Perkins Field — and related activities are responsible for 250,000 jobs, or 25 percent of all jobs in Clark County. The estimate includes all economic contributions made by the airport and airlines operating out of McCarran.
One sector seeing a boost in job creation is the commercial air cargo sector.
The airport provides travel support to companies representing 11,000 manufacturing jobs in Clark County and is responsible for $3 billion in commercial air cargo exported annually.
“That’s a growing market in Southern Nevada and we will have the room and the space available for those operations,” Vassiliadis said. “That’s changed a bit over the years as well, because commercial airlines are carrying cargo quite a bit as well as traditional cargo carriers. That is an area we’re going to see growth in the future.”
For the third straight year, McCarran will set another annual passenger record in 2019, after announcing last month that it surpassed 50 million passengers. With the valley continuing to grow, Vassiliadis said she doesn’t see yearly increases stopping anytime soon.
“Look at all the construction that’s going on, I mean $3.5 billion in construction… between the (Allegiant) stadium, the Las Vegas Convention Center, that has a direct impact on us, as 70 percent of convention delegates go through the airport,” she said. “Then Resorts World, eventually another 5,000 rooms into the system and Drew is back on the docket and the MSG Sphere is another attraction that’s going to add special events.”
The Clark County Department of Aviation runs four airports outside of McCarran.
Henderson Executive Airport: A business aviation facility that serves as a primary reliever for McCarran. Henderson supports 1,042 jobs and contributes $151 million to GDP in Clark County.
North Las Vegas Airport: Used as an alternative to McCarran for smaller private planes. North Las Vegas supports 919 jobs and contributes $133 million to GDP in Clark County.
Jean Sport Aviation Center: Supports recreational aviation, including general aviation aircraft, aerobatic aircraft, gliders, ultralights and skydiving.
Overton-Perkins Field: Serves smaller aircraft and is located approximately 70 miles northeast of Las Vegas.