Southwest Airlines Opposes an NFL Stadium Being Built near McCarran Airport
Southwest Airlines is against Sheldon Adelson’s proposed NFL stadium in Las Vegas. The air carrier is concerned that the stadium would be too near to McCarran International Airport, so the resulting traffic could cause problems for those flying on Southwest Airlines.
Steve Sisolak, the Clark County Commission’s chairman, receive a letter from Southwest Airlines executives expressing their displeasure at the stadium proposal. The letter mainly focused on the traffic congestion NFL games might cause, but also discussed brights signs and pyrotechnics, which might cause problems for pilots as they land and take-off from McCarran.
Building on UNLV Land
The proposal the airline dislikes involves a 42-acre parcel of land now owned by UNLV. In this one development plan, a 65,000-seat stadium would be built on the 42 acres. The stadium would host pro, college, and high school football games during the late summer, fall, and early winter each year.
The biggest concern would be NFL football games, if the Oakland Raiders go through with their plans to move to Las Vegas. Similar concerns might include college ball, if UNLV’s football team played their games at the venue.
Chairman Sisolak on KSNV-TV
Steve Sisolak said that the airline’s opposite carries some weight with the Commission. The chairman said in a discussion with KSNV-TV that he saw problems with the plan to use UNLV land for the stadium.
Several Options to Consider
The UNLV plan is one of several options for the developers. Much is left to be determined. Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and Gov. Brian Sandoval have two competing plans for the NFL-ready stadium.
Adelson’s plan would have the city of Las Vegas pay $750 million, the Raiders pay $500 million, and private investors pay an additional $500. Governor Sandoval’s plan would have Las Vegas pay $500 million, while private interests would pay for the rest.
Las Vegas Sands Statement
Ron Reese, a spokesman for Las Vegas Sands Corp., said there is still a lot of matters to be settled. He underscored that the UNLV proposal is just one suggestion and that the Sands is not locked into any one plan just yet.
Even if Las Vegas and Clark County officials approved a stadium on the UNLV lot, such a proposal could be derailed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The FAA must review and give their approval. A previous stadium plan on UNLV land was squelched by the FAA, so the same thing could happen once again. When asked, the FAA said the plan is still under review.
Oakland Raiders Franchise Move
Most believe an NFL stadium is going to be built. Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis has shown repeated interest in Las Vegas as a site for his football franchise. The Raiders have met opposition from the city of Oakland in building a stadium for the team in the Bay Area.
Currently, the Raiders play in a stadium (O.com Stadium) which was built in 1966. With skyboxes, the Raiders cannot generate the revenue to make themselves competitive with other NFL franchises, despite revenue sharing. Mark Davis has signed a 1-year lease to stay in Oakland, with options for 2 more years. He wants a stadium built in Las Vegas before his lease expires.