Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

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Airport type  Public
Location  Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
Elevation AMSL  1,135 ft / 346 m
Elevation  346 m
Owner  Phoenix
Operator  Phoenix Airport System
Focus city for  Southwest Airlines
Code  PHX
Phone  +1 602-273-3300
Serves  Phoenix metropolitan area
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
Hub for  Passenger American Airlines Cargo Ameriflight
Address  3400 E Sky Harbor Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85034, USA
Similar  Southwest Airlines, Sky Harbor Airport Parking, East Economy Garage A, American Airlines, US Airways

A 4k tour of phoenix sky harbor international airport phx 2 20 2016

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (IATA: PHX, ICAO: KPHX, FAA LID: PHX) is a civil-military public airport 3 miles (5 km) southeast of downtown Phoenix, in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States. It is Arizona's largest and busiest airport, and among the largest commercial airports in the United States.


In 2015, the airport served 44,006,205 passengers, a 4.5% increase over the previous year making it the 11th busiest airport in the United States and 29th worldwide. It handles more than 1,200 aircraft operations a day, 100,000 passengers and more than 800 tons of cargo. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records show that the airport had 20,169,926 commercial passenger boardings (enplanements) in calendar year 2012 and 20,211,799 in 2011.

The airport serves as the sixth-largest hub for American Airlines with 299 daily departures to nearly 86 destinations in 4 countries. American carries nearly 48% of all passengers through PHX as of October 2016 (23 million passengers) and employs nearly 10,000 colleagues, making it the airport's largest carrier. Sky Harbor also serves as one of the largest focus cities for Southwest Airlines with 179 daily departures to 50 cities.

Driving through phoenix sky harbor international airport


Sky Harbor was the fourth airport built in Phoenix. It was built with one runway in 1928 by Scenic Airways, an airline start-up which collapsed the following year after the Black Friday stock market crash. Acme Investment Company then owned the airport until 1935. During this time, American Airlines began the airport's first scheduled passenger and air mail service in 1930. The city of Phoenix purchased the airport from Acme for $100,000 in 1935, and TWA began service to San Francisco in 1938.

After the war the airport began work on a new passenger terminal, as well as a new parallel runway and a diagonal runway. On the February 1953 C&GS diagram runways 8L and 8R are each 6,000 feet (1,800 m) long and runway 3 is 5,500 feet (1,700 m).

The $835,000 Terminal 1 (originally called the "West Terminal") which also had the first control tower, opened in October 1952. It was torn down in 1991 and replaced by a cell phone waiting lot.

The April 1957 OAG shows 42 scheduled airline departures a day: 16 American, 11 TWA, 10 Bonanza and 5 Frontier. American began a nonstop DC-7 to New York (Idlewild) in summer 1959.

The airport's master plan was redesigned in 1959 to eliminate the cross runway to make room for new terminals. American and TWA began jet service to Phoenix in 1960 and 1961 respectively, and Terminal 2 (originally called the "East Terminal") still in use today, opened in 1962. Terminal 3 opened in October 1979, when the "East" and "West" names were dropped, since they were no longer the only two terminals.

Bonanza Airlines moved its headquarters from Las Vegas to Phoenix in 1966. Bonanza merged with two other airlines to form Air West, which became Hughes Airwest after Howard Hughes bought it in 1970.

After airline deregulation in 1978 former Hughes Airwest executive Ed Beauvais formed a plan for a new airline based in Phoenix. He founded America West Airlines in 1981, which began service from Phoenix in 1983 and doubled in size during its first year. By the end of the decade America West had a nationwide network and was lobbying for transpacific service.

In the meantime Southwest Airlines arrived at Phoenix in January 1982 with thirteen daily flights to twelve cities; by 1986 it had 64 daily flights from Phoenix and had a crew base there. Southwest opened a maintenance facility at PHX in 1992 which was its largest.

In October 1989 ground was broken for Terminal 4, the largest terminal. It opened on November 2, 1990 with four concourses: N2 and N3 on the north side and S3 and S4 on the south side. In 1994 the N4 International Concourse was opened, adding 10 gates and a sterile walkway to the S4 concourse. In 1997 construction began on the 14-gate N1 concourse for America West Airlines. It was completed in June 1998 at a cost of $50 million, completing the expansion of the north side of the terminal. On the south side of the terminal, construction began in 2002 on the eight-gate S2 concourse for Southwest Airlines. This project was completed in 2004 and has a different architectural design from the other six concourses. The eighth and final concourse for Terminal 4 will be built when needed. Terminal 4 is named after former Arizona Senator and 1964 Presidential candidate Barry M. Goldwater. After Goldwater's death in 1998, the mayor of Phoenix proposed renaming the airport in Goldwater's memory but was deluged with public support for the familiar "Sky Harbor" name.

America West filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 1991 and sold its larger aircraft and Japanese route authority, but continued growing its domestic operations from Terminal 4 in cooperation with Continental Airlines. Although AWA enjoyed further growth at Phoenix during the 1990s the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks strained its financial position. AWA ended its relationship with Continental and merged with US Airways in 2005. US Airways moved its headquarters to the AWA campus in Tempe and retained many AWA managers to run the merged company.

In 2007 the Transportation Security Administration introduced the first of its backscatter X-ray machines at PHX.

Sky Harbor's private airplane area is also one of eight service centers for the Medevac airline Air Evac.

Control tower

The airport's current 326-foot (99-meter) tall air traffic control tower began operations on January 14, 2007. The tower stands just east of the Terminal 3 parking garage, and also houses the Phoenix TRACON. This is Sky Harbor's fourth control tower and is among the tallest control towers in North America.


The airport has 116 aircraft gates in three Terminals (2, 3, 4). Free ad-supported wireless internet access provided by Boingo Wireless is available in all terminals, with premium paid internet access with higher speeds and no advertisements also available to travelers.

The airport administration states that the designation Terminal 1 has been "retired", and that it did not wish to renumber the other terminals since passengers were already familiar with the numbers in place.

Terminal 2

Terminal 2 has 17 gates (numbered consecutively 1–15 and two additional lettered gates C & D) and three parking slots. It was designed by the Phoenix architectural firms of Weaver & Drover and Lescher & Mahoney and opened in 1962. This terminal includes a mural by French-American artist Paul Coze. In November 2006, a Military and Veterans Hospitality Room, sponsored by the Phoenix Military and Veterans Commission, was opened in Terminal 2. It has since relocated to Terminal 4 as the new USO. This terminal has undergone two renovation projects. The first was completed in 1988. The second project, which cost $24 million and was designed by DWL Architects + Planners, Inc., was completed in 2007.

Terminal 2 is expected to close after the completion of the Terminal 3 South Concourse expansion. The Terminal 3 South Concourse expansion will add nine additional gates to the concourse, fully replacing Terminal 2.

Terminal 3

The 880,000-square-foot (82,000 m2), $35 million Terminal 3, designed by DWL Architects + Planners, Inc., broke ground in January 1977 and opened in October 1979 and has 23 gates, separated into two concourses by a central building outside of security. The south concourse houses gates 1–14 (Gate 3 is missing) and the north concourse houses gates 15–26 (Gates 21 and 22 are missing). The terminal was remodeled in 1997. Its only lounge – Delta's Crown Room Club – was closed on April 30, 2008.

A future three-part construction and renovation project will combine Terminal 2 and Terminal 3, and update the facilities. Part One will expand security checkpoints on both sides of Terminal 3. Part Two will provide additional concession space for Terminal 3 North, expand the curbside area, and separate ticketing and baggage claim, moving ticketing to the second level of the terminal while expanding the baggage claim on the first level. Part Three will be a brand new Terminal 3 South as a 15 gate, linear terminal. This would discontinue all operations from Terminal 2 as it would be phased out. The project began in 2015 and is expected to be completed by 2020.

Terminal 4 (Barry M. Goldwater Terminal)

Terminal 4, also designed by DWL Architects + Planners, Inc., opened in 1990 and has 86 gates, divided into seven satellite concourses connected behind security. Three northern concourses (gates A1-A14, A17-A30, B1-B14) serve American Airlines and American Eagle operated flights. The northeastern concourse "B" includes the international gates with Customs and Border Control facilities for international inbound flights (B23-B28) serving Air Canada Rouge, British Airways, Volaris, Westjet, American Airlines and American Eagle with B15-B22 serving American Airlines and American Eagle exclusively. The three southern concourses (gates C1-C10, C11-C20, D1-D8) serve Southwest Airlines exclusively. Terminal 4 handles about 80% of the traffic at the airport.

Terminal 4 maintains the Brutalist architecture theme of the airport with a hard concrete exterior and angled support beams seen on the ground transportation levels.

The terminal has a dense layout Starting at the bottom, level 1 contains the baggage claim and ground transportation for arriving passengers and shuttle buses. Level 2 contains the passenger drop-off and ticketing counters. Level 3 contains the Security Checkpoint, dining options/gift shops, and post-security passenger terminals. Level 3 also contains the PHX Sky Train (people mover) access-ways that go directly to the Sky Train station. Levels 4 through 9 contain parking accessible by elevator. To make this layout efficient, vehicles go through a series of ramps, turns, and parking garage spiral ramps. For example, passengers exit through security, down an escalator from level 3 to level 1, pick up their baggage, and exit to the adjacent ground transportation.

Airlines and destinations

British Airways provides the airport's only transatlantic flight, with nonstop service to London-Heathrow, as well as the only passenger flights on a Boeing 747 to the airport. Lufthansa had operated the second transatlantic flight from Phoenix, to Frankfurt Airport, between 2001 and 2004. America West once operated Boeing 747s to Hawaii and Japan from Sky Harbor, but since this ended the Heathrow service is the only service outside North or Central America, although American and Hawaiian Airlines offer non-stop service outside the Continental United States to Hawaii and to Costa Rica (American). American Airlines and Volaris offer non-stop service to cities in Mexico and American Airlines, Air Canada, and WestJet offer non-stop service to parts of Canada, while American and Alaska Airlines, offer non-stop service to parts of Alaska. Only American Airlines offers service to Central America.

While Phoenix is one of the busiest airports in the world, the lack of international destinations from Phoenix has initiated the Air Service Development Marketing Program. The Aviation Department is offering an international air service development program to encourage new air service between Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) and qualified, unserved, international destinations. Airlines that launch new service to qualifying, un-served international markets during the program period will be eligible for marketing reimbursements and landing fee waivers. The proposed program is open to all airlines. To qualify for the funds the airline must maintain at least three new, weekly round-trips for one consecutive year. Up to $1 million will be awarded, depending on the frequency and destination. As well as intercontinental routes, they also will fund airlines who increase or create new flights to North American destinations such as Mexico City, Toronto, and Boston, among others.

Annual traffic

PHX has an average of 1,183 aircraft operations per day.

There are 69 aircraft based at PHX.

PHX Sky Train

  • The new Phoenix Sky Train is an automated people-mover, much like other airports, that will, by 2020, transport Sky Harbor passengers from the 44th Street and Washington Light Rail station to Sky Harbor's East Economy Parking lot, through all three terminals, then on to the Rental Car Center just west of the airport.
  • Phase 1 opened on April 8, 2013 and runs from the 44th Street and Washington Light Rail station, to East Economy Parking and on to Terminal 4.
  • Phase 1A shuttles passengers to Terminal 3 with a walkway to Terminal 2. Phase 1A opened on December 8, 2014.
  • Phase 2 will transport passengers to the Rental Car Center. Phase two is not expected to be completed anytime prior to 2020.
  • Sky Harbor is the first airport in the world to have a train track high enough for aircraft to pass underneath, standing above Taxiway R at 100 feet (30 meters).
  • Other projects

  • Sky Harbor has initiated a 3 – component "Terminal 3 Modernization Plan" which is anticipated to accommodate the current carriers at Terminal 3 as well as carriers at Terminal 2, which is to be phased out.
  • Component 1 began in April 2015, and will consolidate the two undersized security checkpoints with a single large security checkpoint. Also included in this component are additional ticket counters, baggage carousels, upgrades to the HVAC system, and new interior and exterior finishes. This phase is scheduled to be completed by the summer of 2016. (status: Complete)
  • Component 2 will demolish the existing South Concourse and replace it with a new 15 gate linear concourse, and will allow for the closure of Terminal 2.(status: In-progress)
  • Component 3 will renovate the North Concourse, with expanded concessions and new interior and exterior finishes. (status: Not started)
  • Eighth and final concourse at Terminal 4 to provide 8 additional gates for Southwest Airlines to be completed by 2021.
  • $40 million in investments from Southwest Airlines to double its maintenance facilities as well as add an additional hangar.
  • Sky Harbor's southern-most runway (7R/25L) was fitted with three new safety features in October 2010:
  • Installation of runway status lights warning pilots of unsafe crossing.
  • Two new runway exits.
  • An extension of the runway's safety area in the event an airplane over-runs the runway.
  • On November 12, 2013, Phoenix City Council approved a $27 million project to renovate the international facilities in Terminal 4. The renovation will increase the amount of passengers that can be processed per hour from 600 to 800+. Other enhancements will include:
  • New Stairs
  • Faster and Larger Elevators
  • Increased queuing space with a reconfigured primary processing queue and entry
  • Enlargement of baggage carousels
  • 12 Automated Passport Control kiosks
  • New quieng area for special screening
  • Airline lounges

  • Terminal 2:
  • United Airlines United Club
  • Terminal 4:
  • American Airlines Admirals Club (3 locations – Concourses A1, A2, and B1)
  • The Club at PHX, used as a contract lounge for afternoon British Airways flights.
  • Ground transportation

    A free 24-hour airport shuttle bus connects all of the terminals and West Economy Parking. Travelers can access East Economy Parking from the PHX Sky Train at Terminal 4.

    Valley Metro bus route 13 serves all of the airport terminals as a link to the rest of the Valley Metro bus system. The Valley Metro Rail has a stop at the nearby 44th St/Washington light rail station. A moving sidewalk bridge over Washington Street allows light rail passengers to arrive at the nearby PHX Sky Train station and then onward to stations at the East Economy Parking Lot and Terminal 4. Valley Metro bus routes 1 and 44 serve the PHX Sky Train station at 44th Street & Washington with route 3 stopping at the street corner near light rail.

    A number of taxi, limousine, and shuttle companies provide service between each airport terminal, the Phoenix metropolitan area, and other communities throughout the state.

    Accidents and incidents

  • On June 27, 1969, N3150Y, a Cessna 182 Skylane, flying from Hawthorne Airport in Hawthorne, CA to Sky Harbor, hit the high-tension power lines east of the airport and crashed at 10:48 pm in the Salt River bed while attempting to land on Runway 26R, knocking out power to the airport and killing all three passengers on board.
  • On August 28, 2002, America West Airlines flight 794, an Airbus A320 veered off the side of the runway onto the dirt infield and lost its nose gear due to the pilot failing to maintain directional control. Some passengers sustained minor injuries.
  • Air National Guard base

    The airport is also home to the 161st Air Refueling Wing (161 ARW), an Air Mobility Command (AMC)-gained unit of the Arizona Air National Guard. The military enclave is known as the Goldwater Air National Guard Base. One of two flying units in the Arizona ANG, the 161 ARW currently flies the KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft. In addition to its domestic role as a National Guard unit, answering to the Governor of Arizona, the 161 ARW also performs both a stateside and overseas role as a USAF organization, supporting air refueling and air mobility missions worldwide.

    Located on the south side of the airport, the current Sky Harbor ANGB is a comparatively new facility. As a result of growth and on-going expansion programs at PHX, a new ANG base was planned at the airport to replace a smaller, outmoded facility that stood in the way of airport construction. Plans were finally approved in 1995 and the new base was built during the latter part of that decade. The current Sky Harbor ANGB includes over 275,000 square feet (25,500 m2) of facilities, pavement, and infrastructure and is one of the most modern facilities of its kind in the Air National Guard.

    Over 1000 Air National Guard personnel are assigned to the 161 ARW, consisting of a combination of full-time Active Guard and Reserve (AGR) and Air Reserve Technician (ART) personnel, as well as part-time "traditional" air national guardsmen.

    The airport is part of the story in the movie Ground Control but many scenes involving an airport were recorded at California airports instead.

    Arizona band, Jimmy Eat World released a song titled "Goodbye Sky Harbor" on their 1999 album Clarity.


    Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport Wikipedia