Las Vegas Grand Prix Private Jet Parking Spaces Will Be at Premium, Say Aviation Experts
Las Vegas is gearing up for an unprecedented influx of private jets, as the city prepares to host the inaugural Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix later this year.
The globally popular motor racing franchise is a sporting interest for many high net worth individuals from all walks of life, many of whom will be arriving in their private aircraft.
The anticipated volume of private jets is so high that concerns have been raised about the city’s capacity to accommodate them all. That comes despite efforts to expand the city’s Harry Reid International Airport (pictured).
“We will run out of places to park private jets for Formula 1,” Applied Analysis expert Jeremy Aguero told KSNV TV Las Vegas.
The race event is scheduled to take place over the weekend of November 14-17, 2023.
Jet Setting Wealthy Attendees
Formula 1 Grand Prix races are known for attracting some of the wealthiest sports fans in the world, including Hollywood elites and corporate giants. Then there’s the ten team owners, collectively worth $146 billion, who will all probably fly in on private planes.
A significant percentage of the race drivers also either own their own private jet to use during the globe-trotting Formula 1 season, or rent one. That includes two-time championship winner and Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen, who owns a visually striking Dassault Falcon 900-EX, which cost some $15 million when he bought it from Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson.
Max’s main rival, seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, previously used a $29 million Bombardier jet during the F1 season. However, in 2018, he stopped using it to because of carbon footprint concerns.
With all those parties flying on private planes, an unprecedented number are set to arrive in Las Vegas over the weekend. That will far exceed the numbers seen during NASCAR weekends, and potentially even the number of private planes predicted to stop off when the city hosts the Super Bowl in February 2024.
Aguero suggested that the city may have to resort to parking some of the jets in other cities with space – some of which are hundreds of miles away.
“You think I’m joking?” he said. “I think they’re going to be parking in, like, Phoenix, right? I think that’s what’s actually going to happen.”
Phoenix is 330 miles from Las Vegas. Flagstaff, Arizona, also has considerable private jet plane parking space facilities.
Preparing for Race Day
Las Vegas authorities can hardly be accused of doing nothing to prepare. As well as all the road repaving and infrastructure, aviation safety has been at the forefront of official plans.
The Clark County Aviation Department has expanded the ramp at Henderson Executive Airport by 18 acres.
This expansion should accommodate up to 80 additional private jets, depending on their size, bringing the total capacity at Henderson Executive to more than 200 aircraft parking spots.
Harry Reid International is also reportedly adding another 14 acres of parking to accommodate the influx of wealthy race fans.
Jim Chrisley, senior director of aviation for Harry Reid, noted that safety and expansion plans initially intended for the Super Bowl were quickly repurposed for the Grand Prix.
“We were planning for the Super Bowl, then Formula 1 was announced, so a lot of our preparations we were doing for the Super Bowl quickly turned into, ‘Let’s do it four months early and do it for Formula 1,'” he said.
Despite the preparations, it remains uncertain whether the additional jet space will be sufficient, as Las Vegas has never hosted an event like the Formula 1 Grand Prix before.
The city’s airports also need to be ready for the arrival of the race equipment, not least the cars themselves, which will arrive and depart from Harry Reid on a series of specially designed cargo planes.
“All of the cargo, including the cars, comes via seven to eight to nine wide-body jets on the way in that have to be off-loaded and shipped to the Formula 1 building,” Chrisley said.
“Then, on the reverse side, with a race following one week away, only seven days, they have to get that cargo back, loaded, and out up in the air on time.”