Ready for Takeoff

McCarran International Airport’s Terminal 3, which opens June 27, certainly throws some impressive numbers around: a $2.4 billion price tag, 1.9 million square feet, 14 new gates (seven international, seven domestic), bringing McCarran’s total to 110.

The biggest change, though, is the U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility on the ground floor of the three-story terminal. As one of the first major U.S. terminals designed and built in the post-9/11 world, it is nearly double the size of Terminal 2, which was able to process 800 people per hour and handle just one flight at a time. T3 will be able to accommodate 2,000 people an hour since it can handle multiple flights simultaneously.

“People who have traveled 11 to 14 hours just want to get off the plane,” says Rosemary Vassiliadis, McCarran’s deputy director of aviation. “And they’re going to be able to.”

Domestic flights won’t begin using Terminal 3 until July 31, when Alaska, Frontier, JetBlue, Sun Country and Virgin America move to the terminal. Two other domestic airlines, United and Hawaiian, will use the terminal for ticketing and baggage claim but will operate from the D Gates in Terminal 1. An underground tram will connect with the D Gates.

The terminal will host 16 international carriers, including newcomer Copa Airlines, a Panama City-based carrier that will provide previously unavailable direct access to about 30 major South American cities. In all, the new terminal will handle about 30 percent of McCarran’s traffic.

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