The Clark County Commission voted unanimously to make the update due to the discriminatory views of its previous namesake.

By Rachel Chang
February 17, 2021
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McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas is getting a new name. The hub will soon be renamed after Harry Reid, Nevada's retired U.S. senator. The Clark County Commission voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve a measure to file the new name with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Associated Press reported.

passengers walk through McCarran International Airport
Credit: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty

"It is with humility that I express my appreciation for the recognition today," the former senator, who served from 1987 to 2017, tweeted on Tuesday. "I would like to express my deep gratitude to Commissioner [Tick] Segerblom, the entire Clark County Commission, and the many others who have played a part in this renaming."

While the FAA still needs to perform a series of steps before the new name is official, the commission that voted is the final authority on what name the airport bears. Segerblom has assured that all the costs associated with the process will not impact taxpayers and come from private contributions, KTNV reported.

The name change comes as the views of the airport's current namesake, Patrick McCarran, who was also a U.S. senator for Nevada, have come to the forefront. McCarran wrote the Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938, which put the government in charge of regulating airline fares and accident investigations, but was also known for his anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic views, according to AP.

The idea to put Reid's name on the terminal came from Segerblom and has also been supported by other figures, including Jason Gray, MGM Resorts director of government affairs. Gray said, "Las Vegas's main airport should be named for a champion of values important to Nevada, a champion of Nevada: Sen. Harry Reid," AP reported.

The Las Vegas airport was the first in the nation to install vending machines with face masks, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, and gloves last spring. It's also one of only two U.S. airports where slot machines are allowed, USA Today reported — and one lucky traveler scored $12,000 on a penny machine in Concourse A last year.