LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Formula One circus arrives in Las Vegas in three weeks. While you may have seen NASCAR haulers roam up Las Vegas Boulevard for their races, it’s nothing compared to a U.S. Grand Prix.
Even on a regular day, Harry Reid International Airport is one of the top 10 busiest airports in the country. Planes fill the gates, visitors fill the terminals. It’s all part of the routine of mass transit. But there’s nothing routine about Formula One racing.
“The focus is everywhere. We’re going to have all hands on deck,” James Chrisley said.
He is the senior director of aviation for Clark County. He and his staff have worked for months to prepare for Formula One.
“We know what F1 attracts. The kind of visitor. The kind of ticket holder. It’s a higher-end crowd. We’re expecting to be at capacity,” he said.
Staff visited other races on the Grand Prix calendar. They were already planning for the Super Bowl in February. Consider this a huge, dry run.
“There’s pressure to make sure our plan goes smoothly and we’re ready to react when things don’t go so smoothly,” Chrisley said.
But it’s more than just commuter planes. Private jets from around the world started reserving spots months ago. Much of that traffic is shifting to Henderson’s Executive Airport.
At Reid, a huge task involves handling cargo jets. Eight wide-body jets take Formula One from race to race.
“747, 777’s of cargo that have to come in prior to the race with cars, the pit equipment, the computers, everything is a traveling show,” Chrisley explained.
Clark County is bringing in temporary staff to help F1 teams do their business. Luckily, the airport is not too far from the course. That will come in handy when the real test comes after the checkered flag.
“The hot track ends at 2 a.m. on Sunday morning. The next race is the following Sunday in Abu Dhabi.”
It’ll be a hustle to get F1 in and out of Las Vegas. The airport has a race of its own.
“Oh yeah, we’re ready. We’re ready,” Chrisley said.
Earlier this year, Henderson Executive Airport finished its expansion. Chrisley says that will help with the crush of private jets scheduled for Formula One. The $9 million project started in 2022.