FAA’s Las Vegas Metroplex project brings improvements to air traffic over valley

Local News

A plane takes off from McCarran International Airport, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, in Las Vegas. The Federal Aviation Administration is enacting new air traffic patterns in southern Nevada in what officials call a “NextGen” modernization to improve efficiency and safety. (AP Photo/John Locher)

LAS VEGAS — The Federal Aviation Administration is enacting new air traffic patterns in southern Nevada, switching to satellite navigational guides in what officials call a “NextGen” modernization to improve efficiency and safety.

The Las Vegas Metroplex project goes into effect Thursday, Feb. 25.

Beginning today, some flight routes will change in the airspace above Las Vegas, but residents probably won’t notice a change. Elevation of some routes will change, allowing more efficient use of airspace.

“For the most part, aircraft will fly within paths where they previously flew,” according to FAA Public Affairs Specialist Ian Gregor.

The new technology will be used for arriving and departing aircraft in an area including McCarran International Airport, North Las Vegas Airport, Henderson Executive Airport and Nellis Air Force Base.

The ring of mountains around the valley, as well as the restricted military airspace around Nellis, make for challenges in managing aircraft in a busy area, Gregor said.

The FAA notes that flight paths are not always fixed, and weather can cause adjustments to conditions.

Las Vegas is the 10th of 11 FAA “metroplex” areas around the U.S. to put next-generation traffic patterns in place.

The 12th is scheduled later this year around 21 airports in central and southern Florida.

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