The discussion of an NFL stadium coming to Las Vegas has been a hot topic of debate over the past few months, with Sheldon Adelson recently proposing a plan that would see the city staking major funds to bring the Oakland Raiders to the area. Now getting in on the discussion, Southwest Airlines has shown displeasure at the prospect of the stadium being created near McCarran International Airport.
Southwest Airlines has the largest number of passengers at the airport and do not want to see traffic from football games clogging up the roadways as passengers try to catch flights. A letter was received by Steve Sisolak, the Clark County Commission Chair, from executives of Southwest Airlines who stated their displeasure of the proposal. Traffic as well as pyrotechnics and bright signs are worries of the airline if the stadium was to be put near the airport.
Southwest is not in favor of a proposal that would see a 65,000 seat stadium placed on land that is owned by UNLV, which sits directly across from the airport. The parcel of land includes 42 acres and has been the focus of discussions involving the stadium. However, other sites are being considered including an area located on the Las Vegas Strip.
In the letter, Southwest executives stated that a stadium, be it domed or opened, will restrict the operations of the airport, as it will be located less than a half mile from the ends of the two major runways. The executives feel that the stadium would ‘erode safety, security and capacity at the airport’. Officials also noted that the noise from the airport would be a conflict as the stadium would be basically useless except for larger sporting events and especially concerts.
Sisolak stated that the opinion of the airline does carry weight and for Southwest to say they are in opposition of the site rings ‘solid’ with him. He has real trouble considering the site or making the site viable, according to statements by the Commission Chair as reported in the letter at KSNV-TV.
Las Vegas Sands officials do not feel that the letter by the airline automatically removes the land from consideration. Ron Reese, a spokesman for the Sands, stated that there are several sites on the table, including the one by the airport. The Sands is not locked in to a particular site and anticipate that there will be dialogue on each site as the stadium plans continue to be considered.
The Federal Aviation Administration will have to review stadium plans and have to give approval before the site could be used for the stadium. A plan in the past for a stadium at UNLV was shot down due to FAA concerns, so plans for a new stadium may also be denied. A spokesman for the FAA has reported the plan for the stadium is still under review. Recommendations for the stadium are due to be reported to Governor Brian Sandoval by July’s end by the Tourism Infrastructure Committee.