It was a normal day driving down the southern end of the Las Vegas Strip, on my way to start a Hoover Dam tour. I look over to my left as we pass the Mcdonald’s on the corner and in the distance, I see the tail.
Without another thought, I told my tour guests that Macau China must have shut down its casinos again. I based that theory on seeing that tail. Nothing more.
Turns out I was right. When I had a minute to check the news, it was announced that Macau, China had temporarily closed its casinos due to Covid panic. See, the tail does not lie!
In 2002, China awarded Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands (Venetian), the first two of three gaming licenses for Macau China. That was the same year Las Vegas Sands started to build their private hanger/terminal at McCarren International Airport.
When Sheldon Adelson and his family owned the Venetian, they had two rare Boeing 747SP jets they would park outside the hanger, along with 20 other assorted jets they used for business travel.
The hanger was actually built to house a normal 747 jet. But these two are not your normal 747s. These are rare short-body 747SP (only seven existed) and they did not fit in the hanger. FYI: They started their travels as Pan Am passenger jets in the ’70s.
Rarely would you see both jets parked here in Las Vegas at the same time. Watching the movement of these two 747s and following the news of Macau gaming, I surmised that one 747 usually sat in Macau while the other sat here in Las Vegas and they flew Asian whales back and forth.
Macau is a huge market for Las Vegas casinos. What happens over there impacts what happens here. Whenever the Chinese government got their feathers ruffled, they would suspend locals’ access to Macau gaming for a few weeks. I knew when that happened because it’s the only time I would see both jets parked here at the same time.
In 2021, Sheldon Adelson, the founder of Las Vegas Sands, the company that owned the Venetian, passed away. In 2022, his family sold the resort to Apollo Global Management. In-between these events, many of the planes, including the 747’s disappeared from the Las Vegas hanger. Until this week.
A New Paradigm?
As I said, seeing the tail just made me think Macau had closed its doors to gambling again. Which it did. But looking back, it didn’t make sense. The Las Vegas Sands company sold their resorts here in Las Vegas. The only operations they have in North America are the company headquarters here in Las Vegas. That’s it!
If they have no resorts here in las Vegas and all their casinos are in Singapore and Macau, why is that jet here? It is their largest jet and it is the only 747 they own. The second 747sp has been scrapped. It was damaged beyond repair in a 2020 incident at a maintenance hanger in Arizona.
I don’t care why it’s here. It’s always nice to see the Queen of the Sky parked here. It would be nice if someone from Las Vegas Sands Corporation would send me an update. Let me know if I am right or wrong about its status. (smiles nicely)
Until told otherwise, I will keep looking for the tail for further updates!