The Las Vegas Grand Prix may be over, but the race to the airport has just begun.
After the Transportation Security Administration predicted that 98,000 travelers would depart from Harry Reid International on Sunday following the Las Vegas Grand Prix, the Federal Aviation Administration announced long departure delays Sunday afternoon.
Harry Reid International Airport spokesperson Joe Rajchel said a combination of factors including a high volume of aviation traffic including commercial and the large amount of private flights, as well as the wind, is leading to delayed flights both out of and into the Las Vegas airport on Sunday.
Citing the website FlightAware.com, Rajchel said the total number of delayed flights into and out of Harry Reid as of about 1 pm on Sunday was 513.
“What we’re seeing is a high volume of traffic trying to depart,” Rajchel said.
The FAA said at noon that 74-minute ground delays were due to wind. As of 2 p.m., depatures at the airport were delayed an average of 135 minutes (up from 75 minutes at 12:25 p.m.) due to volume.
The National Weather Service said in a post that wind gusts are expected between 35 and 45 mph across the Las Vegas Valley on Sunday, with some gusts above 50 mph.
A plume of dust was also detected on the weather service’s radar near Jean Sunday afternoon. The weather service issued a dust storm warning for Primm and Nipton until 2 p.m. Sunday.
Meanwhile in the airport, pedestrian traffic was steady and busy. It was clear many of travelers — noticeable in their F1-related gear — were leaving Vegas after taking in the race.
Referencing the TSA’s traveler projection on Sunday, Rajchel noted that’s a high amount, but not a record.
According to a TSA press release issued last week, the two busiest days ever for travelers departing Harry Reid — the total amount who passed through TSA screening checkpoints — both happened within the past three weeks.
The busiest was Sunday, Oct. 29, with the TSA screening 103,400 people. The second busiest was Sunday, November 5, with 103,285, according to the TSA.
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