Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport planning for tremendous growth

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

MESA, Ariz. -- Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport could look very different in the future if the plans for expansion become a reality.

According to airport officials, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport is among the fastest growing hub airports in the United States, accommodating nearly 1 million passengers in 2011 and forecasting 1.3 million in 2012.

To accommodate the rapid rise in passenger service, the Airport's current terminal facility has transitioned through four expansion projects in as many years.

To handle the growth over the next twenty years and beyond, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport outlined four distinct phases of new terminal development at an estimated total cost of $1.4 billion.

The plan includes the construction of 60 airplane gates and 21,000 parking spaces.
Officials predict the airport will be able to accommodate 20 million passengers annually.

There is also an effort to privately raise $385 million to build two hotels and office and retail space.

The first phase will include a single-level terminal and concourse with 14 aircraft gates, surface parking for 4,375 vehicles, airfield improvements, partial construction of a circulation roadway, and related infrastructure improvements.

Phase One will be designed to accommodate up to 3 million total passengers a year.

The timing for completion of Phase 1 is demand-based but expected to be operational as early as 2017. The estimated cost for this phase is $344 million.

The remaining phases call for additional gates and other facilities along with a 1,000 foot extension of one of the runways.

"Airport staff recognizes that we are stewards of an incredible community asset and we're working hard to make it the best it can be," said Airport Authority Executive Director, Lynn Kusy. "The Gateway 2030 project represents a significant step in achieving the Airport's potential as it outlines the critical steps needed to meet forecast passenger demand."

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport offers flights to more than 40 destinations on two airlines - Allegiant and Spirit.

The airport is located on the grounds of what used to be Williams Air force Base.

The base was closed in 1993 and officially reopened as Williams Gateway Airport in March 1994. In 2008, the name of the Airport was changed to Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.