A Glimpse into the Future

We have been featuring stories highlighting Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport's development from a rural field with a few planes to one of the nation's busiest airports. Now we look to the future. In this installment, employees and observers highlighted where they think Sky Harbor is heading.

Construction at Phoenix Sky Harbor seems to be a constant as work is done to improve facilities for travelers. A visit to our website on any given day will highlight these projects. Over the past few years, we have added a concourse, a rental car center, a new FAA Tower, a taxiway, expanded security checkpoints, renovated the terminals and the retail and concession outlets and have moved to more green initiatives. Our biggest project, the PHX Sky Train™, is currently underway. It will offer travelers and Valley residents a more efficient way to get to and from the Airport using public transportation as well as to each terminal. To read more about construction projects at the PHX Sky Train, click here.

How do longtime employees and other Airport enthusiasts think Sky Harbor will continue to develop?

Sky Harbor employee Samuel Downs, who has been with the Phoenix Aviation Department for 33 years, says that he feels that the Airport will continue to be run more and more like a business.

"I think we will see different opportunities for revenue and service to the public," said Downs.

Steven Ayers, a Sky Cap for the past 36 years, says he has seen evolving passenger trends and believes changes will continue to occur in terms of the numbers of people flying.

"More people are flying," Ayers said. "When I started in the 1970's, people that flew were from an elite group. Now, more people are flying and it is just the volume of people that I see flying now versus back in the 1970's. And, there are more terminals and an increase in the volume of international passengers."

Of course, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport will remain a vital part of the community as projects such as the PHX Sky Train and other facilities are developed and completed.

"Quite frankly, I think we can continue to look forward to Sky Harbor being a very positive influence on the community," said Neilson "Dutch" Bertholf, Aviation Director from 1982-1998. "It's economic development, it's a great economic engine for the community and it really needs to be nurtured to let it grow and do its thing."

Marty Shultz, Vice President of Government Affairs at Pinnacle West Capital Corporation, and past Chief of Staff for three City of Phoenix Mayors, cites convenience and increases in sophistication as being some of the main factors in Sky Harbor's growth and says that Sky Harbor will continue to be a large economic generator for the area. He has also been amazed by the progress Sky Harbor has made over the years.

"Sky Harbor is a vision of among others, Barry Goldwater's and some of the other early pioneers who were into aviation that came out here," Shultz said. "Seeing the progress over the decades has really been gratifying. It is a credit really to a lot of City Council Members and aviation professionals."

Above and to the right, watch videos about how others think Sky Harbor will continue to grow and thrive.

First published: September 20, 2010


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