Ivanpah Valley Airport is a planned relief airport for McCarran International Airport in the Las Vegas metropolitan area, to be located in the Ivanpah Valley of the Mojave Desert, within Clark County, Nevada.
Since there is only limited space left for expansion at McCarran, due to being located adjacent to the Las Vegas Strip, a new airport is the only alternative to increase capacity by a significant amount. The project is on hold as of June 2010. The planned location for the airport is approximately 5 miles southwest of the Jean Airport. It is not known whether the Jean Airport would be closed if the new airport is opened. However, this would be likely due to the runways lining up and the interference between the small general aviation aircraft and commercial jets.
Legislation was signed on October 28, 2000, allowing Clark County to purchase land for a new commercial airport. The county was to buy 6,500 acres (2,600 ha) of land in the Ivanpah Valley from the Bureau of Land Management, about 30 miles (48 km) southwest of McCarran International Airport for the Ivanpah Airport. The location is between the towns of Jean and Primm.
The airport had been planned to open in 2017. However the Clark County Department of Aviation announced the project was put on temporary hold as of June 2010 due to the Great Recession, until air traffic and tourism demands to Metro Las Vegas returns and increases.As of mid-2018 it is planned that the environmental impact study will last at least two more years. This means that construction is guaranteed not begin until at least 2020.
Clark County Department of Aviation had hoped to start construction in 2010 and to open the facility in 2017. These dates were based on McCarran reaching 90% (49.5 million passengers) of its projected capacity of 55 million passengers in 2017, it actually had 48.5 million. At that time, McCarran was expected to be at 55 million passengers in 2011. The economic recession of 2007-2010 has slowed demand considerably in the Las Vegas region and as a result, planning for the airport has slowed. The federal environmental review process has been temporarily suspended and planning has slowed as well.
Most recently the project was working to meet the lengthy environmental studies required for major projects. The engineering consultant firm Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. was chosen as the firm to help prepare the Environmental Impact Statement for the airport.
Access to airport
The location designated for the airport is between the towns of Jean and Primm, Nevada, and between Interstate 15 and the Union Pacific; this leaves a gap of approximately 1.3 miles (2.1 km) for the construction of the airport. The Interstate 15 right-of-way is expected to be used by the private Brightline West (formerly DesertXpress and XpressWest) high-speed rail line, purchased by Brightline in 2018. While no intermediate stops are planned, the railroad partnered with the airport authority in 2020 to ensure rail and flight operations and constructions would not conflict.The also stalled California–Nevada Interstate Maglev line to connect Las Vegas with California was to terminate at the new airport.