After a recent $2 million remodel project, North Las Vegas Airport joined rare air.
The airport, which ranks as the second-busiest in the state in aircraft movements behind McCarran International Airport, was named part of the Air Elite system, marking the 72nd such location in the world.
The recent upgrades took the facility from a Southwest motif to a more modern feel, including a remodeled interior of the main terminal with higher ceilings, new furniture and new terrazzo flooring and stainless steel accents. The restrooms were remodeled, and new automatic sliding doors, exterior LED lighting and new lettering in the front and the back of the building were installed.
Clark County has pumped over $40 million into the airport since buying it for $16 million from the Howard Hughes-owned Summa Corp. in 1987. With the Air Elite distinction, all the airport’s upgrades paid off, said Rosemary Vassiliadis, director of the Clark County Department of Aviation.
“The transformation is amazing from what it was to what it is today,” Vassiliadis said Tuesday. “We’re just thrilled with all the synergies of everything that is happening in this community to this industry and everything that will be coming out of here with Elite and what we can show off.”
Henderson Executive Airport also was named to the Air Elite system this year.
“When you go to a hotel and you know it’s a four-diamond hotel, you have a level of expectation as far as what your service is going to be,” said Christine Crews, Department of Aviation spokeswoman. “To be named Air Elite members, that means that people who fly private aircraft into this facility know that it meets some standards of customer service and that it will be a premiere facility.”
North Las Vegas Airport in turn gets a clientele from Air Elite, which offers a customer base who will exclusively fly to an Air Elite facility. That attracts some customers that the airport might not have otherwise served, who receive perks for exclusively flying in the Air Elite system, according to Ben Czyzewski, assistant director of general aviation for the county.
“Now we’re in a network of other fixed-base operators. … They get points staying in network,” Czyzewski said. “Part of putting the money was to be in the Air Elite program in the first place because prior to that, we really didn’t qualify.”
North Las Vegas Airport is a reliever to McCarran, with about 1,800 jobs and $135 million in economic impact attributed to its operation.
During major events, such as the boxing match featuring Floyd Mayweather versus Manny Pacquiao, North Las Vegas Airport takes some of the congestion away from McCarran that tends to occur during high-volume weekends. That congestion could even affect commercial flights as departures and arrivals are first-come, first-serve no matter what type of flight.
“It’s quicker for customers to land at either of these airports (North Las Vegas or Henderson) and get in their limos and get to the MGM Grand than it was from McCarran because of all the traffic congestion,” Crews said.
Aside from the airport’s aesthetic improvements, changes are coming to the airfield, as a study is underway to see if any areas need to be changed for safety or geometry concerns, according to Czyzewski.
“There’s going to be some big changes coming in the next few years,” Czyzewski said.