‘Harry Reid Airport’ Not a Done Deal in Las Vegas, But Could Happen Soon

Posted on: June 16, 2021, 01:02h. 

Last updated on: June 17, 2021, 06:36h.

Federal officials still have not weighed in on changing the name of McCarran International Airport near the Las Vegas Strip to honor former US Sen. Harry Reid (D), a Clark County spokesman said.

Harry Reid Airport map
This FAA navigation map shows the upcoming new name for McCarran International Airport near the Las Vegas Strip. The airport is being renamed for former US Sen. Harry Reid (D). (Image: KTNV-TV)

Erik Pappa, Clark County’s director of communications, told Casino.org the Federal Aviation Administration “has provided no formal notification on its finding about the proposed name change.”

County Commissioner Tick Segerblom posted tweets on Wednesday with updated information about the name change.

It’s not official yet, but soon,” the commissioner tweeted. He noted that FAA navigation maps changing the name to Harry Reid International Airport are “arriving soon.”

Segerblom, a former state legislator who proposed the name change, has said the cost for rebranding the airport will come from private donations, not taxpayers.

Multi-Million Dollar Name Change

Pappa told Casino.org the estimated cost is $7.2 million. The commission has set up a bank account for people wishing to donate. A form with instructions is available for those wanting to contribute.

On Wednesday, Segerblom tweeted that the commission has $1 million “in the bank,” with $3 million more coming. He did not indicate who donated the original $1 million or who has promised the additional millions. The name change won’t be complete until private donations are available to pay for new signage and other adjustments.

Beginning with its July 20 meeting, the commission will receive a report every quarter on donations to the airport renaming project, Pappa told Casino.org.

Las Vegas businessman Stephen Cloobeck has said his foundation will donate $1 million for the name change. Clookbeck was in the news earlier this year over a lawsuit involving a former girlfriend accused of taking nude selfies at his property to post online.

FAA Approval Not Required

The FAA does not have to sign off on the name change but must follow through on a few steps before it can occur.

“The FAA does not regulate airport name changes,” the agency said in a statement to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “However, the FAA must complete some administrative tasks before we officially recognize any name change.”

Those tasks include “revising the Airport Master Record and air traffic control maps to reflect the name change,” according to the FAA.

In February, Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft said the FAA’s tasks could take from three to six months to complete, according to the newspaper.

Tens of Thousands Object

The Clark County Commission in February unanimously voted to name the airport after the 81-year-old Reid, a former US Senate majority leader. 

The airport is outside Las Vegas city limits at the southeastern end of the Strip near the Tropicana, MGM Grand, and other major resorts. Las Vegas is in Clark County.

The airport is named after Pat McCarran, a Democrat who served in the US Senate from 1932 until his death in 1954. Public officials in Nevada have said that McCarran, while supportive of civil aviation and the US Air Force, held racist and anti-Semitic views.

More than 32,000 people have signed Change.org petitions urging the airport not to be named for Reid.

“The least controversial name would be that of the city in which the airport is located,” one petition states. “To designate an airport to someone who is alive and a politician is just a political stunt.”

Some have suggested naming the airport for Carole Lombard, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, or mobster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel.