THE AIRPORTS

SOUTHWEST

LAS VEGAS-McCARRAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

LAS 

 


 
April 1966
Trans World Airlines (TWA) was an early operator into Las Vegas when Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) approval was given to the airline in 1937, to serve the airport as a stop on its Los Angeles-Newark, New Jersey route. Eventually jet service was introduced and by the mid-1960s TWA was flying from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Phoenix, Albuquerque, and Chicago. When TWA introduced the sleek new Convair 880 in January 1961, Las Vegas was one of the first airports to host the new airliner, thanks in part to majority TWA shareholder Howard Hughes calling the desert city home. Seen preparing to depart the ramp area for another flight is N802TW, a Convair 880-22-1, delivered new to TWA on March 18, 1961.

 

 

July 1967
Bonanza Air Lines was Las Vegas's first local service carrier starting operations in December 1949, on a multi-stop route between Reno, Nevada and Phoenix, Arizona. Early serviced used war surplus Douglas DC-3 and this was followed by Fairchild F-27 "Jet-Prop" flights on January 1, 1958. Douglas DC-9 services were started. In June 1966, and the new "Fun Jet" was used on the airlines popular flights between Las Vegas and Reno, and Las Vegas and Phoenix. Seen pulling away from the terminal area for another regional flight is N947L, a Douglas DC-9-11, delivered new to Bonanza Air Lines in January 1966.

 

 

January 1974
Delta Airlines was one of the first operators and eventual largest operator of the technology advanced Lockheed L-1011 wide-body. When the type was introduced for service on December 13, 1973, the 250-passenger plane was initially used on routes from Atlanta to New York (JFK), Miami, New Orleans, and Houston. Realizing an opportunity to bring passengers from the frigid east to the balmy winter weather of the desert, only a month later did occasional flights between Atlanta and Los Angeles use the new "Tristar." Being pushed back away from the gate for an eastbound flight is N704DA, a Lockheed L-1011-1 Tristar, delivered new to Delta Airlines on December 22, 1973.

 

 

April 1975
McCulloch International Airlines was a supplemental carrier that started operations initially as Vance International Airways in 1962. During 1970, Vance was purchased by McCulloch Oil Company to provide potential land buyers transport to the company's various new real-estate developments including Lake Havasu City in Arizona. Using a small fleet of Lockheed Electra's, a Boeing 720 and Douglas DC-8, thousands of passengers were ferried to the new desert oasis as well as other properties in Colorado and Nevada in hope of securing land for building homes. The airline eventually filed for bankruptcy in 1977 after the owner of McCulloch Oil passed away. Caught taxiing into the ramp area at the Charter Terminal is N711LF, a Douglas DC-8-30 leased from United Air Leasing in March 1975.

 

 

May 1975
Although Western Airlines mainly used both the Boeing 727 and 737 aircraft from Las Vegas, the larger Boeing 720 and 707 was scheduled on longer, non-stop services to Minneapolis-St. Paul, as well as shorter duration flights to Los Angeles and San Diego. Seen rolling for takeoff on Runway 7 is N93149, a Boeing 720 -047B delivered new to Western Airlines in April 1963.

 

 

April 1975
After the merger of the three local service carriers, Bonanza Air Lines, Pacific Air Lines, and West Coast Airlines into AirWest, only a few years later would infamous Howard Hughes purchase the airline adding his namesake to the title. Las Vegas was considered a hub, and the airline had no less then forty daily flights to twelve cities throughout the West. Seen taxiing outbound for an afternoon departure is N9340, a Douglas DC-9-31, delivered new to AirWest in April 1969.

 

 

June 1976
When Howard Hughes purchased AirWest, the new owner took possession of twenty-six Fairchild F-27 airplanes which were used on many of the AirWest regional services. Flights using the high-winged turboprop continued as the airplane was suited for the smaller stations, and shorter routes served by the airline. Las Vegas saw the F-27 used on feeder flights to the Grand Canyon Canyon Airport which catered to the large tourist market. Rolling for takeoff on Runway 25 is N748L, a Fairchild F-27A, originally delivered to Bonanza Airlines.

 

 

March 1978
Las Vegas hosted just as many charter aircraft as it did scheduled operators due to the nature of the gambling city. One such airline, North Central Airlines provided regular charters to Las Vegas from cities such as Grand Rapids, Michigan, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, especially during the winter months. Seen parked on the charter ramp is N762NC, a Douglas DC-9-50, originally delivered to North Central in April 1976.

 

 

May 1979
Hughes Air West continued to be the dominant carrier at Las Vegas into the late 1970s. By 1979, the airline was flying to sixteen cities across the West including flights to Denver, Houston-Hobby, Tucson, and international service to Calgary, Canada. Parked at the gate and awaiting passenger loading at the South Concourse is N923RW, a Douglas DC-9-31, delivered new to Hughes Air West in September 1978.

 

July 1979
Another occasional visitor brining charter flights into the desert city, was Washington D. C. based Allegheny Airlines whom had just updated its corporate image a few years earlier in 1975. The airline had eleven Boeing 727s used mainly on longer distance services to Phoenix, Houston and Florida destinations, as well as being used on charter flights. Seen parked at the terminal is N7028U, a Boeing 727-22, originally delivered to United Airlines in May of 1965, and acquired by Allegheny in April 1978.
 

 

October 1979
American Airlines added Las Vegas as a destination in early 1979, during its post deregulation expansion. Service was initially started to both Cleveland and Detroit and by the end of the year, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Phoenix, and Reno were added using both the Boeing 727 and Boeing 707 airplanes. Parked at the terminal and awaiting its next passenger load is N7597A, a Boeing 707-323C, delivered new to American Airlines on August 28, 1967.

 

 

January 1980*
Hughes Air West ordered the Boeing 727 in 1975 for increased capacity on longer range routes applied for including Denver and points in Texas. The longer routes were initially denied an as the first aircraft were delivered in August 1976, they were placed on various routes from Las Vegas including the international service to Calgary, Canada, and Phoenix, Arizona. Seen about to touch down on Runway 25 during an evening arrival is N728RW, a Boeing 727-2M7(A), delivered new to the airline in July 1979.

 

 

January 1980*
By 1980, Delta had placed the Douglas DC-8 and Boeing 727 on non-stop services from Las Vegas to Atlanta, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Phoenix, and Reno. The 181-passenger DC-8 "stretch" had the capacity and trans-continental range, especially from Atlanta that made it suitable for the popular winter Vegas flights. Seen flaring for landing on Runway 25 during a cold winter evening is N823E, a Douglas DC-8-61, delivered new to the airline in June 1967.

 

 

January 1980*
In 1961, National Airlines was awarded the Southern Transcontinental route case buy the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB). The routes included the lucrative destinations of both San Francisco and Los Angeles from Houston, New Orleans, and Tampa. A year later the airline started flights to Las Vegas as a stop between Houston and San Francisco using the Lockheed Electra. Jet service was started a few years later with Douglas DC-8s and by 1980, National had flights from Las Vegas to San Francisco, Houston, and New Orleans using Boeing 727 and Douglas DC-10 aircraft. Seen about to touch-down on Runway 25 after an evening arrival from San Francisco is N4736, a Boeing 727-235.

 

 

January 1980*
As one of the second largest carrier from Las Vegas during 1980, just behind Hughes Air West in daily departures, Trans World Airlines (TWA) as a "major" airline was serving eleven destinations including flights to some of the largest cities of the nation. TWA used its larger 269-passenger Lockheed L-1011 "Tristar"s on flights from Las Vegas to Chicago, St. Louis, and New York-JFK. Seen in flare for landing on Runway 25 is N3109, a Lockheed L-1011-1 Tristar delivered new to the airline on April 18, 1974.

 

 

April 1980*
In the month after the Deregulation, Braniff International Airways undertook a large expansion adding sixteen cities and thirty-two routes to its network in December 1978. With the expansion, Braniff stated it was the "largest single-day increase by any airline in history." Las Vegas was one of the cities added, and flights were started to Dallas-Ft. Worth, Sacramento, Reno, and San Francisco. Within a year however, the rapid expansion took a financial toll, and routes and cities were pared down to were flights to Las Vegas were only between Reno and Dallas Ft. Worth. Seen wearing the new "Ultra" blue colors scheme and having just landed on Runway 25, is N462BN, a Boeing 727-227, delivered new to the airline in September 1978.

 

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