Official: Las Vegas Airport Renamed After Harry Reid

Official: Las Vegas Airport Renamed After Harry Reid

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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.

FAA chart showing 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…

Bottom line

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?

Conversations (41)
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  1. Dave McMuffin Guest

    I'll just call it the Vegas Airport.

  2. Wilhelm Guest

    In my country, the custom is not to name anything after a person who is still alive. Once the person is dead, it’s easier to make a full assessment. In general, very few politicians get anything named after them unless they made a significant contribution. Being prime minister is not enough in itself - only one post-war prime minister has had anything named after him. Naming something after a politician can be polarising, and should...

    In my country, the custom is not to name anything after a person who is still alive. Once the person is dead, it’s easier to make a full assessment. In general, very few politicians get anything named after them unless they made a significant contribution. Being prime minister is not enough in itself - only one post-war prime minister has had anything named after him. Naming something after a politician can be polarising, and should be treated with care.

    I can not comment on whether Harry Reid is worthy of having an airport named after him, however the fact that they rename an airport after him while still alive comes across as weird to me.

  3. Vijay Guest

    JFK, LGA, IAD, DCA, and BOS are all named after politicians.

  4. eaci Guest

    When my father was on the school board, they named a school after a politician (the current first lady at the time, who was popular in the area), and they got enough pushback that the board later decided never again to name a school after someone who was still alive.

    This rule held up well. Wait until someone has been dead for at least 25-50 years and then name things after them.

  5. Andrew Stuart Guest

    Here in Australia, only Sydney Airport is named after a person, aviator Charles Kingsford Smith. But in my 50 years of being alive, I've never heard of anyone ever refer to Sydney Airport as Kingsford Smith except new reports. Every other international airport in Australia is named after the city that it is located in. Sydney is in the process of building a second international airport in its western suburbs. But as far as I...

    Here in Australia, only Sydney Airport is named after a person, aviator Charles Kingsford Smith. But in my 50 years of being alive, I've never heard of anyone ever refer to Sydney Airport as Kingsford Smith except new reports. Every other international airport in Australia is named after the city that it is located in. Sydney is in the process of building a second international airport in its western suburbs. But as far as I know, it's only ever been referred to as "Sydney West" airport thus far.

    1. Daniel Guest

      Western Sydney International Nancy-Bird Walton Airport (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Sydney_Airport) but I agree, it probably won’t stick and will just be referred to as Western Sydney.

  6. david Guest

    I can't think of a more loathsome human being to name it after.

  7. roger Guest

    Not a fan of naming things after politicians and most definitely not renaming sites/buildings like they did in Washington to rename National Airport after Reagan. Some of these politicians are nothing more than self-promoting egotistical narcissist's that only know "Me,Myself and I".

  8. Enzo Guest

    Name it after Howard Hughes.

    Stunned this wasn't proposed.

    1. azamaraal Guest

      That would have been SO APPROPRIATE

  9. derek Guest

    Take down Reid. Tke down International. Las Vegas Airport is good enough. The more names the more silly it becomes.

  10. Alex_77W Guest

    I actually like the Russian approach: after renaming cities every 10-50 years after the party leaders, their two main international airports in Moscow are now bearing names of a poet (SVO, A. S. Pushkin airport) and a scientist + writer (DME, M. Lononosov airport). Lomonosov died back in 1765.

    1. Eliyahu Guest

      I also like this approach for our money as well. All we have are politicians. Would be nice to throw a few scientific, artistic or literary figures in the mix.

  11. Another Lump Guest

    Rename an airport in what was until recently a swing state, and forever will be a tourist state, after an extremely partisan politician? Not a smart move. I won't fly there ever again. Then again, LV is full of garbage people, so maybe aptly named.

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      The last guy was a politician, maybe partisan too, but I guess that was a bit too much thinking for you today.

    2. UA-NYC Guest

      Saying you won't fly to a city, Vegas or any other, just because of how the airport is named, is just about the most asinine, intellect-devoid statement you can possibly make.

    3. A lump indeed Guest

      So you were comfortable with flying in to an airport named after a notorious anti-Semite who openly supported Francisco Franco? You don’t have to fly here, stay home. We have enough “garbage people” without you.

  12. mf Guest

    You mention that the US$4m is privately funded... I am intrigued by the mindset and motivation of who and why would people donate to "this" cause when there are so many other worthwhile causes out there.... I guess, to each their own.... but I can speculate.

  13. Kevin Guest

    Airports, like post offices, schools, roads and interstate highways should be named by thier location or number... Las Vegas airport, Washington National Airport, US Post Office #7 Boston, Sacramento elementary school #4, Intestate 81. The new cancel culture diciples will make sure that every politician of all parties will have some skeleton either current or 200 years ago that will disqualify them at some point and result in ridiculous renaming rituals.

    There are so...

    Airports, like post offices, schools, roads and interstate highways should be named by thier location or number... Las Vegas airport, Washington National Airport, US Post Office #7 Boston, Sacramento elementary school #4, Intestate 81. The new cancel culture diciples will make sure that every politician of all parties will have some skeleton either current or 200 years ago that will disqualify them at some point and result in ridiculous renaming rituals.

    There are so many other problems in the country, and those charged with representing the citizens would rather waste time and effort on this garbage.

  14. Ray Guest

    I agree that it’s a bit odd to name airports after politicians, but I’ll take comfort in knowing some of the GOP’s biggest donors (the Adelsons, Steve Wynn, Kirk Kerkorian) will have to fly to/from an airport named after a Dem.

    1. Never in Doubt Guest

      The previous name was a Dem senator too.

      Reading is tough for you, apparently,

    2. John Guest

      @Ray

      Do you honestly, truly, really, totally, actually BELIEVE these billionaires in their private jets give a damn about the actual name of an airport whose public terminals they would never consider stepping foot inside of?????????

    3. Aheinousanus Guest

      None of these people fly commercial.
      I bet they fly out of an airport that caters to their "class".

  15. Bill Guest

    In my book, Reagan will forever be National Airport. Thurhood Marshall BWI will forever be just BWI. And, while we’re on the subject, the Washington Football Team will always and forever be the REDSKINS. At least until I die and then God help us all.

    1. DCA Will Always Be "National" Guest

      Thank you! Always National! I'm too young to really have felt the initial impact (negative or otherwise) of Reaganomics, so I don't dislike him for that per se, I just don't understand the concept of naming public service facilities after *any* person. It's just so foolish-seeming. In the US, in Europe, wherever. And this recent McCarran update is cringe-y. As someone else mentioned, the fact that $4M in private funds supports this is just tacky.

    2. Tom Guest

      If I'm perfectly honest, I actually love the name "Washington Football Team". I've actually bought so much more merchandise with the WFT name, because I just love how it feels so aggressively generic. Like, before I just had my Redskins hoodie, cap and couple Ts, kinda the same stuff I've had for years, but I really have been loving the blaringly dystopian WFT brand.

  16. Andrew Guest

    Always thought it was strange that so many American airports are named after people at all, Heathrow or Frankfurt are not named after politicians from days past, it's a useless identifier for a transit hub

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      American airports are hardly alone in being named after people, but thanks for your $0.02.

    2. Eliyahu Guest

      Whatever you do, don't fly into Singapore, Warsaw, Munich, Berlin, Montreal, Toronto or Rome.

    3. Daniel Guest

      Who is this Mr Changi you referring to?

  17. Tom Guest

    I'm sure its unintentional, but the comparison to Martin Luther King is strangely an appropriate one. When tributes to him were being put in place decades ago, they were absolutely viewed through a partisan political lens at the time. When John McCain got the Republican nomination in 2008, for example, he was dogged for his earlier opposition because the public's view toward MLK changed over time.

  18. Esteban Guest

    I like the trend in some other countries naming airports after artists, musicians, or scientists, rather than politicians. Frederick Chopin airport in Warsaw, Nikola Tesla airport in Belgrade, Antonio Carlos Jobim airport in Rio, etc.

    Wayne Newton might be a more ideal choice for renaming Vegas airport.

    1. Bubba Guest

      While a noble idea, a proper Liberace airport would require more investment than four million, and would still look pretty tasteless. But, I must confess, it would be awesome as hell.
      And for the others out there, CDG is always "Roissy" to me.

    2. henare Gold

      honestly ... flying into the liberace airport would be kinda awesome. especially since the museum is gone now ...

    3. Zack Guest

      Las Vegas Rat Pack Airport has my vote. Better than being named after one of the most divisive modern day politicians who defacto destroyed the 60 vote rule for federal judges.

    4. Why not just LVX? Guest

      McCarran was an anti-Semite fascist supporter, so it’s at least a lateral move

    5. Andrew Gold

      I like the idea. Would have to be discerning about their personal views, so we don't end up with "Richard Wagner Leipzig" or "Mel Gibson Santa Monica" airports.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

UA-NYC Guest

Saying you won't fly to a city, Vegas or any other, just because of how the airport is named, is just about the most asinine, intellect-devoid statement you can possibly make.

3
henare Gold

you're not trying very hard.

3
Never In Doubt Guest

The last guy was a politician, maybe partisan too, but I guess that was a bit too much thinking for you today.

3
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