Back in February it was announced that Las Vegas McCarran Airport would be renamed after Harry Reid. This name change will officially take place in a couple of days, with a ceremony being held at the airport on Tuesday, December 14, 2021.
McCarran Airport becoming Harry Reid Airport
Earlier this year the Clark County Commission unanimously voted to change the name of Las Vegas International Airport. With this change, Las Vegas McCarran International Airport would be known as Las Vegas Harry Reid International Airport.
The first part of the name change took place over the summer. The county directed airport staff to file a change with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to rename the airport. That became official as of June 2021, as the FAA’s updated sectional aeronautical chart showed the airport being referred to as Harry Reid International Airport.
The next major step of that was rebranding the actual airport as it impacts passengers. This is a process that cost over $4 million, funded entirely through private contributions. This is now about to happen, as the airport will officially be rebranded as of Tuesday, December 14, 2021, with a ceremony expected to be held at the airport. So if you’re flying out of Las Vegas Airport on Tuesday or later, expect to hear the new name.
Why is Las Vegas Airport getting a new name?
Why is Las Vegas International Airport being renamed? For some context:
- Patrick McCarran was a Democratic Senator from Nevada in the years 1933 to 1954
- Harry Reid was a Democratic Senator from Nevada in the years 1987 to 2017 (he was Nevada’s longest serving Senator), and he served as Senate Majority Leader in the years 2007 to 2015
- There have been calls for a while to rename the airport due to McCarran’s anti-immigration and anti-Semitic views
- Meanwhile Reid has been a popular politician in Nevada, and in many ways has elevated Nevada’s political standing nationally
Back in February, Reid issued the following statement following the Clark County Commission’s decision:
“It is with humility that I express my appreciation for the recognition today. I would like to express my deep gratitude to Commissioner Segerblom, the entire Clark County Commission, and the many others who have played a part in this renaming.”
Should airports be named after politicians?
Discussions about this will probably very quickly start to revolve around “cancel culture,” but let’s talk about this bigger picture. With few exceptions, I’m not a fan of airports being named after people:
- Why can’t we just call it Las Vegas International Airport, especially since Las Vegas is a city with only one major international airport?
- It’s one thing to name an airport after someone a vast majority of people can agree on (like Martin Luther King), but to me it’s a bit different to name an airport after a politician, which is always going to be divisive
- At some point this just comes down to partisan commissions ruling in favor of one politician over another, and is that really a rabbit hole we want to go down?
Sure, I can appreciate that Reid has a better legacy than McCarran (and for good reason), but personally I wish we could just stop naming airports after people unnecessarily. That’s just me, though…
In February 2021 it was announced that Las Vegas McCarran International Airport would be renamed Las Vegas Harry Reid International Airport, following a vote by the Clark County Commission. That’s fair enough given McCarran’s legacy, though I’m still generally not a fan of airports being named after politicians.
As of June 2021 the name change became official with the FAA, and as of December 2021 the full rebranding will happen, with the airport expected to fully adapt the new name as of Tuesday, December 14.
What do you make of McCarran Airport being renamed as Reid Airport, and the general concept of airports being named after politicians?