Most everyone knows Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is an economic engine for the state, but the actual numbers are nothing short of staggering.
One of the 10 busiest airports in the nation for U.S. passenger traffic, Sky Harbor had a $33 billion economic impact in Arizona in 2007, supporting 305,136 jobs through the Phoenix Airport System with a payroll of $11.9 billion. This includes airline employees, food service, security and air traffic control personnel. Currently, more than 33,500 people are employed at Sky Harbor with a payroll of $1.7 billion.
Directors of three Valley airports provided an enlightening perspective of aviation issues relating to economic growth and environmental quality at Valley Forward’s recent luncheon. Expert panelists included: Danny Murphy, aviation director for Phoenix Sky Harbor; Lynn Kusy, executive director of Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport; and Gary Mascaro, aviation director of Scottsdale Airport.
According to the Arizona Airports Association, more than 470,000 Arizona jobs are related directly or indirectly to aviation with an annual payroll of $14.7 billion. The aviation industry facilitates further economic development by bringing visitors and newcomers to the state and provides vital links for transportation services that add value to the region.
Over the past few years, our local airports have made tremendous strides in becoming more environmentally sustainable. For example, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport’s terminal expansions are energy-efficient and can support solar panels installations. Scottsdale Airport reuses materials for pavement projects and installs LED systems for airfield lighting replacements. Additionally, there are plans underway for a new airport operations center, which will be built in accordance with the city of Scottsdale’s green building standards. Phoenix Sky Harbor also has incorporated a number of green initiatives including reducing energy use through greener construction and energy-efficient buildings, using alternative fuels and finding ways to cut back on overall waste.
As an aside, I’m honored and excited to be a participant in the fifth PHX Aviation Academy sponsored by the Support Sky Harbor Coalition in association with the City of Phoenix Aviation Department. This eight-week program offers a rare opportunity to go behind and above the scenes of PHX. For example, last month I found myself in the cockpit of the Air National Guard’s workhorse Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker! And at the end of this month I’ll get an exclusive tour of the FAA control tower.
The total impact of the state’s aerospace industry, both in terms of economic impact and number of jobs created is extensive and will continue to grow as long as we continue to provide and maintain the infrastructure of our airport and aviation facilities.
For more information about Phoenix Sky Harbor, skyharbor.com.