Nevada NewsMakers

News - December 2, 2019 - by Ray Hagar

A airport to handle all cargo and commercial flights into Las Vegas, in the Ivanpah Valley, could be ready in 10 years, Clark County Commission Chair Marilyn Kirkpatrick said Monday on Nevada Newsmakers.

Kirkpatrick's estimate moves up the expected development of the commercial airport by about a decade. Airport officials have estimated in the past that Ivanpah could start taking commercial traffic in about 2040. However, Rosemary Vassiliadis, director of the Clark County Department of Aviation, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the initial portion of the planned airport south of Las Vegas could be complete in about 15 years.

"I hope to see it (Ivanpah Airport) in my term," Kirkpatrick told host Sam Shad during a taping in Las Vegas. "And I could serve about 10 more years."

Kirkpatrick spoke of a master-planned community at Ivanpah with housing and industry.

A commercial airport is critical to the future growth of Las Vegas, city and county leaders have said. The Ivanpah airport would allow McCarran International Airport to be used for passengers and tourists only. McCarran will soon hit the 50-million-passenger annual threshold, Kirkpatrick said.

"That has kind of been our goal, to hit 50 million." she said. "Last year I believe we are at 48 (million) and we continue to bring in new conventions. We are growing with our types of entertainment, our sports, so I think for sure we will be over the 50-million mark at the first of the year."

The total acreage around the planned airport could swell to about 18,000 acres, Kirkpatrick said. However, earlier reports say the Ivanpah airport would be build on 6,000 of federal land along I-15 between Jean and Primm, about 32 miles away from Las Vegas.

Earlier this year the county aviation department, the the FAA and BLM began the process of environmental impact studies, according to reports."We are currently in the EIS studies, which is our environment studies," Kirkpatrick said. "So we are in the process of doing those.

So we also allocated dollars last year and we did start moving forward with that conversation. We do have a public lands bill and we are hopeful that we will be able to get some of our rights-of-way for flood and water in that area.

"But as far as us getting closer, we are much closer," Kirkpatrick added. "We are planning today for tomorrow's future, which is sewer, water, transportation and I hope to see it in my term."