updated 4/26/2005 3:15:39 PM ET 2005-04-26T19:15:39

McCarran International Airport has debuted its $125 million expansion project, an 11-gate northeast wing of the D Gates Satellite Concourse that will allow the nation's sixth-busiest airport to handle approximately 3.1 million more passengers per year.

The expansion comes just ahead of the scheduled debut of Wynn Las Vegas, a $2.7 billion hotel-casino that is the first of several major additions under way along the Las Vegas Strip.

"This is crucial to us because you've probably noticed there are a lot of hotel rooms under construction," Randall Walker, Clark County aviation director, said during a Friday ceremony marking the opening of the northeast wing. "We're always trying to stay ahead of the community and its growth.

Besides Wynn Las Vegas, which opens April 28, other planned hotel-casino projects include the Palazzo, a 3,000-room sister resort to The Venetian and a 950-room tower at Caesars Palace.

JetBlue Airways will be the first carrier to occupy the new wing, with Continental and Alaska airlines soon to follow.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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