LAS Renamed Harry Reid International Airport

 - February 17, 2021, 12:36 PM
First named after Nevada Senator Patrick McCarran in 1948, Las Vegas' primary airport McCarran Field was retitled McCarran International Airport in 1968. The airport will now be renamed for former Senate majority leader Harry Reid, who rose from poverty to reach the highest rung in U.S. government by any Nevadan, after state legistators re-examined McCarran's legacy of racism and antisemitism. (Photo: Barry Ambrose)

Visitors to Las Vegas will no longer arrive at McCarran International Airport, which was renamed on Tuesday during a meeting by the Clark County Commission. The measure to rename the airport after former Senate majority leader and Nevada native son Harry Reid was unanimously endorsed by the commission.

Since 1948, the airport had carried the name of the late Senator and fellow Nevadan Patrick McCarran, who served in Congress for more than two decades bracketing World War II. While a strong advocate for aviation as a sponsor of the Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938 and the Federal Airport Act of 1945, McCarran’s personal views on racism and overt actions in that regard caused state legislators to introduce a bill in the state senate in 2017 to remove his name from the airport. The measure failed to be passed before the end of that legislative session but was successful on its next attempt.

Reid, lauded for his environmental protection, represented Nevada in the Senate for 30 years starting in 1987 and served as majority leader from 2007 until 2015.

The airport will retain its LAS identifier, while the FAA will begin work on administrative changes such as revising aeronautical charts and maps, which could take several months. According to reports, the estimated $2 million in airport rebranding costs will be covered by private contributions.