Getting to Las Vegas, the original Sin City isn’t exactly hard. The hedonist’s playground of America is domestically well-served by airlines both big and small. Internationally, flights arrive all day, every day from around the world – bringing thousands of new visitors who are determined to have the times of their lives.
And as for the celebs and super rich, they don’t have to worry about getting any normal scheduled flight. Even the luxury of First Class can’t rival setting foot in town from the steps of your own private jet. And boy, Las Vegas see’s plenty of those arrive as well.
Yet one businessman thinks there’s room at McCarran International Airport for one more airline – the world’s most expensive and luxurious air charter the world has ever seen. What’s makes this airline different is that it will only serve Las Vegas – this could be one huge gamble.
Rather appropriately, the yet unregistered airline has been named ‘LVAIR’ and will operate a staggering 30 Boeing 747-800 aircraft – the latest variant of the Seattle-based manufacturers ‘Queen of the Skies’. So far, only three commercial airlines have ordered the 747-800 – Lufthansa, Korean Air and Air China, so this would be a massive boost for the Boeing project.
Not that LVAIR would be alone in operating the 747-800 for VIP purposes – Boeing has manufactured eight of the aircraft as VIP jets but the majority of these have gone to wealthy Middle East sheikhs.
This might all seem like a fantasy but the business plan might just work – LVAIR intends to focus on transporting professional gamblers and high-rollers (whales) en-masse to Las Vegas to take part in the city’s wild gambling tournaments. The airline believes it could drive a near doubling of gambling revenues in Las Vegas by 2020.
According to the business behind LVAIR, the airline should be up and running in little over 12-months. It follows nearly five years of behind the scenes planning with the final months of preparation to be documented in a web series called ‘LVAIR Rising’.
Jeff Champagne (possibly not his birth name), the chief executive of LVAIR explained the thinking behind his creation: “This is a golden age for gaming worldwide, with double-digit growth for international markets into Las Vegas.”
He continued: “There is no better gaming market in the world so we plan to capitalize on the boom of Players worldwide by giving them a stable conduit to the Entertainment Capital Of The World.”
Details behind what the aircraft interiors and services will actually look and feel like are still sketchy but they could draw inspiration from Crystal Cruises. Earlier this year, the luxury cruise line launched Crystal AirCruises with its own bespoke Boeing 777-200 called Crystal Skye.
Able to accommodate 88 guests the aircraft has been given the Crystal treatment – the company says “Every element of the customized interiors has been completely re-imagined by Crystal AirCruises designers to create a standard of luxury and comfort in keeping with what guests have come to expect from Crystal.”
What does that look like? Well, the plane features six ‘luxury’ lavatories, the widest VIP cabin configuration in commercial service and leather lie-flat seats. There’s a sperate ‘social lounge’ for guests to enjoy cocktails or maybe even dinner, served by SkyeButlers.
And when you want to sleep, snuggle under custom-designed cashmere blankets and lay your weary head on goose down pillows. You may well need to lie down when you find out the price of chartering Crystal Skye will set you back $55,000 USD per hour.
Las Vegas is still reeling from a mass shooting which saw 58 people killed at a country music festival on the 1st October. The incident perpetrated by Stephen Paddock from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Hotel was the worst mass shooting in US history.
In response, hotels and casinos across the city have changed their marquee signs with messages to promote the hashtag “#VegasStrong.” The full message reads: “We’ve been there for you during the good times. Thank you for being there for us now. #VegasStrong.”
Rossi Ralenkotter, President of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has said of the incident: “The thoughts and prayers of all of Las Vegas go out to the victims and their families. This was a horrific, yet isolated, incident.”
He continued: “Las Vegas is a strong community that will work through this tragic incident. We are grateful beyond words to our incomparable law enforcement, first responders and everyone who continues to help victims and their families.”