Gate games: Las Vegas debuts new airport terminal
Las Vegas is the latest U.S. airport to unveil a brand-new terminal building, as well as a slew of terminal and service changes. On June 27, McCarran International Airport officially opened its $2.4 billion Terminal 3, more commonly called T3. The new facility replaces the older Terminal 2.
According to Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst at the Atmosphere Research Group, the new facility is an appropriate upgrade for the city’s image. ”Las Vegas is a city that’s known for its bold and daring architecture at its hotels,” he said. “You want your airport to be part of that experience. It’s the first impression a traveler will have when they arrive.”
T3 has 14 gates and technology that will allow airlines, if they desire, to provide self-boarding as well as self-tagging for baggage at check-in. Half of the terminal’s gates are equipped with “sterile” areas needed to handle international flights, and multiple jet bridges allow for simultaneous front- and rear-boarding of wide-body jets.
The 1.9-million-square-foot new facility has seven new restaurants and retail establishments — as well as, appropriately enough, nearly 300 slot machines.
Twenty three airlines that serve Las Vegas will transition to the new terminal in a three-phase process; major airlines including American, Delta Air Lines, US Airways and Southwest, will remain in Terminal 1. Among the first airlines to move to T3 are foreign carriers Air Berlin, British Airways, Korean Air, Philippine Airlines and WestJet. The newest foreign carrier to land in Las Vegas– Panama City-based Copa Airlines — is also operating from T3, marking the city’s first regularly scheduled nonstop route to a Latin American destination outside of Mexico.
The first round of domestic airlines make the move to T3 on July 31, when Alaska, Frontier, JetBlue Airways, Sun Country and Virgin America shift their operations to the new facility.