By Jeff Serdy
Greater Phoenix is fortunate to have a modern and vibrant multi-modal transportation system that helps safeguard our region’s economic vitality and long-term sustainability. Airports are a critical component of that system and create jobs, facilitate commerce and provide access to the global marketplace for the communities they serve. In the Phoenix East Valley, the evolution of Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (Gateway Airport, Airport) represents thousands of high-wage jobs and billions of dollars to the regional economy.
One of the nation’s 100 busiest commercial service airports, Gateway Airport is owned and operated by the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Authority (PMGAA), a joint powers authority comprised of six entities, including Mesa, Phoenix, Gila River Indian Community, Gilbert, Apache Junction and Queen Creek.
During the past decade, PMGAA has made significant financial investments expanding and improving airport facilities, runways and taxiways and area roadways to keep ahead of the Airport’s growing popularity. Gateway Airport is now served by five domestic and international airlines offering nonstop jet service to almost 50 destinations. In 2018, Gateway Airport welcomed more than 1.5 million passengers who spent hundreds of millions of dollars on ground transportation, accommodations, restaurant visits, entertainment and retail purchases during their stay in Arizona.
Over the past several years, there has also been a significant increase in private investment at the Airport. Two large aircraft hangar complexes are currently under development, and Able Aerospace Services, a Textron Company, recently announced a 50,000-square-foot addition to their Gateway facility that will allow them to expand product lines and hire more than 100 additional employees.
In 2018, PMGAA completed a Master Development Agreement for approximately 360 acres of land, located at the south end of the Airport, with a consortium of international companies lead by Mexico City’s Grupo Seguitech. This long-term agreement has the potential to bring millions of square feet of aeronautical and non-aeronautical development and thousands of high-wage jobs to the Phoenix East Valley.
PMGAA is now turning its attention to 700 acres of developable land on the east side of the airfield, adjacent to State Route 24 and the Loop 202 San Tan Freeway. A portion of this land has been reserved for a future passenger terminal, but hundreds of acres remain for private commercial and industrial development.
Airports are important economic engines and Gateway Airport is really starting to rev up!