Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport has announced figures which make it one of the fastest growing commercial airports in the USA.
Formerly Williams Air Base, it opened as a commercial airport in 1994. Its new terminal was opened in the early 2000s with the introduction of flights by Ryan International. Whilst it would never seriously challenge Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport (situated 27 miles to the west), it has established itself as a good alternative which is popular with low-cost airlines. Allegiant Air opened a focus city here in 2007, with McDonnell Douglas MD-80 and Boeing 757-200 aircraft operating flights to many US destinations.
The airport also has services from Spirit Airlines, and seasonal links to Denver with Frontier Airlines.
Recent growth at the airport has seen passenger numbers rise 45% to 1.39 million per year. This coincides with the decision to extend the terminal with the addition of two more gates. The Gateway 2030 project aims to construct a completely new terminal to the west, with 20 gates and a pier, along with the associated infrastructure, a hotel, offices and parking spaces.
Aside from passenger services, Phoenix-Mesa is a popular airport for flight training, and has a based FBO. It is also a service centre for Cessna and Hawker Beechcraft aircraft, which are regular visitors. The airport has three parallel runways.
Spotting at Phoenix-Mesa Gatway Airport
For the enthusiast, Phoenix-Mesa offers an interesting alternative to Sky Harbor and the various storage airports in the area. The best place to view movements is from the Flight Deck Cafe next to the General Aviation Terminal. There’s also a pilot shop here. The cafe has a viewing mound, and good photographs are possible in the afternoon and evening over the fence. This is a known place for spotters to congregate, so trouble from the authorities is unlikely.