Tag Archives: Sky Train

11-2014 Food Court-79

Sky Harbor renovations elevate travelers’ experience

Friends embrace. Families explore an art exhibition. Shoppers admire handcrafted wares and hungry travelers survey a myriad of local eateries before settling on a lunch destination.

This is the scene at the newly renovated Terminal 4 at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. It’s where about 85 percent of the airport travelers, more than 100,000 people a day, have their first encounter with Arizona — an encounter that will help shape their impression of the state and the Phoenix metro area.

“For many travelers, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is the first experience they have of the Phoenix area, so our goal is to provide them with a world-class experience,” explains Heather Lissner, acting public information manager for the City of Phoenix Aviation Department.

Impact on tourism

The $590 million facelift is more than strategically placed art displays, designer walkways and vibrant southwest décor. Seamless transportation, sustainable design and streamlined customer service enhance the airport’s reputation and reflect upon the local tourism industry.   

“The recent additions to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, from the Sky Train to public art to the abundance of local restaurant options, have extended the unique qualities of the metro Phoenix area and created an improved visitor experience,” says Toni Smith, director of communications for the Tempe Tourism Office. “We’re lucky to have an airport that travelers want to see, which helps set us apart as a destination and encourages repeat visits.”

If travelers’ destinations are along the Valley Metro light rail line, the PHX Sky Train provides a seamless transition between the terminals and the 44th Street and Washington Street station. From there the light rail transports travelers east through Tempe and Mesa, or west into Phoenix.

Douglas MacKenzie, director of media relations for Visit Phoenix, appreciates the 15-minute trip from the airport to the downtown area. “Phoenix is primarily a fly-in market for both our leisure and meetings visitors so the airport is very important to our convention and leisure business.” Whether travelers are coming for a convention or mega event like the Superbowl, the transition from airport, to PHX Sky Train, to Metro light rail adds great value.

“It’s a wonderful plus for attendees. It’s the ease of convenience for our meeting delegates to get into downtown,” MacKenzie says. “It’s a perfect tourism factor in more people choosing Phoenix as a destination.”

Authentic Arizona dining

MacKenzie says a mix of eateries that includes delicious local choices can also encourage return visitors.

Two companies, HMSHost Corporation and SSP America, have orchestrated a blend of local, regional and national eateries with more than 40 establishments providing dining options from the fast food national brands to locally owned wine bars. Part of the strategy to provide authentic Arizona dining was to offer the best restaurants in the area and keep the street prices.

Among the eateries chosen to enhance Phoenix’s reputation as a foodie destination are Barrio Café, Cowboy Ciao, Sauce Pizza & Wine, Lo-Lo’s Chicken & Waffles and Joe’s Real BBQ.

“What has truly happened is that the culinary offerings at Sky Harbor for the first time ever are probably some of the best in the nation,” says Tad Peelen, operating partner at Joe’s Real BBQ in Gilbert. “I think people who travel a good deal recognize the fact that it is not the preponderance of national chains.

“We are happy to have a Gilbert presence at the airport for the first time,” Peelen says. “We think the brand extension is fantastic. We like the fact that when people get off the airplane they see a logo of a place east of the airport and in many cases more of those people are staying east of the airport.

“They say they are America’s friendliest airport and I think this is an extension of that. It was a very passenger friendly thing to do to give so many independent really tasty options at the airport.”

MacKenzie agrees. “It’s a wonderful culinary entrance into the southwest. If people don’t have a chance to visit all of our local restaurants, it gives them a taste of what they’ve missed,” he says.

Memorable connection

Passengers with connecting flights also benefit from the new design and abundant shopping and dining.

Additional amenities include water bottle filling stations, strategically placed kiosks and a pet park. Airport navigators wearing purple jackets and “Ask Me” buttons answer questions and direct travelers needing assistance.

There is also an indoor walking trail with ample views of the area.  “It’s a little over a mile long,” Lissner says. “You can see Camelback Mountain, the Buttes at Papago Peak, the Sky Train bridge and South Mountain. At Terminal 3, the Phoenix Sky Train station has some very gorgeous views of downtown Phoenix as well as the airfield.”

Sustainably styled

The beauty of the project is supported by an environmentally conscious design. The first phase of the electric-powered PHX Sky Train construction received a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold designation from the U.S. Green Building Council, while the Terminal 3 segment earned a LEED Silver designation.

The PHX Sky Train is part of the overall sustainability management plan that consists of investing in renewable energy, improving air quality, minimizing greenhouse gases, reducing waste and conserving water.

“We do strive for sustainability,” Lissner says, adding that the plan aligns with the City of Phoenix in terms of recycling and sustainability goals. “ We’re doing our part to help the environment.”

Continuing renovations

When renovations are complete, Terminal 3 will have a consolidated security checkpoint, additional ticket counters, new baggage carousels and expanded curb area. More shops and restaurants are included in the plan.

“I think Terminal 3 is going to be stunning,” says MacKenzie, who has seen the plan. “It’s going to be more open, with more windows and more restaurants. It will certainly enhance the service and experience of every traveler.”

Eventually, Terminal 2 will be closed and those airlines will move to Terminal 3, Lissner says. The project is scheduled to be complete by 2020. The approximately $590 million price tag is being paid by airport revenues generated through parking, tenant and concession fees. Local tax dollars are not used to support the airport, which has an annual economic impact reported to be nearly $29 billion.

Lissner says the changes are essential to quality travel.

“We pride ourselves on being America’s friendliest airport,” Lissner says. “We’re really looking to provide travelers with a world-class experience that is more efficient, more pleasant and something they can really enjoy so we can really welcome them to the state of Arizona.”

AMR-US Airways

Passenger Numbers Increase at Sky Harbor

Passenger traffic numbers at Phoenix Sky Harbor have increased yet again for the eighth month in a row. July numbers were 5.7% higher than last July. Year to date, numbers are up by 4% over 2013. In fact, passenger numbers have been rising every single month this year spanning from 3.0% to 5.7% increases.

“We are so fortunate to live in a community with an airport that offers flights to 100 nonstop cities and to anywhere in the world with direct or easy connecting service,” said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. He added, “This is great news for our local businesses and our partners outside Arizona who want to do business here.”

March 2014 was the busiest month in the history of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport when the airport served more than 4 million passengers. The airport’s facilities are being updated as these numbers increase. Terminal 4’s restaurant overhaul is near completion, the new Sky Train station is set to open by Super Bowl and plans to modernize Terminal 3 are underway.

“We operate in a constantly changing environment, ready to adapt to passenger demand,” said Danny Murphy, Phoenix Aviation Director. “We are likely to continue to see the airlines making adjustments to their schedules and cities as they operate flights based on demand,” he said. “The great news is that passengers are flying again and Sky Harbor is ready to meet that demand.”


Sky Train Project Recognized with Environmental Award

The PHX Sky Train™ has been selected for a top honor in the prestigious Arizona Forward Environmental Excellence Awards, receiving the first-place Crescordia award in the Multi-modal Transportation & Connectivity category. In addition, a public art project featured on one of the PHX Sky Train™ pedestrian bridges received special recognition.

Arizona Forward, in partnership with SRP, presented the 33rd Annual Valley Forward Environmental Excellence Awards on Saturday September 14. Considered the “Academy Awards” of the environmental community, the event is the oldest competition of its kind in Arizona. This year, there were more than 100 entries.

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport’s PHX Sky Train™ provides a connection between Valley Metro light rail, East Economy Parking and Terminal 4, which serves 80 percent of the Airport’s passengers. The project was recognized for providing a vital transit link to the Phoenix area, alleviating roadway congestion and enhancing customer service. The PHX Sky Train™ project reduces vehicular traffic and emissions, energy consumption and water use. It attained LEED Gold certification from the US Green Building Council.

“The PHX Sky Train™ is a shining example of what we can accomplish when we work to improve our transportation system in a way that improves the air we breathe and reduces the water we use,” said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. “Phoenix will continue to reduce our energy consumption through green construction and energy efficient facilities.”

The stunning glass mural project incorporated into the walls of the walkways between Terminal 4 and the PHX Sky Train station™ was also recognized. Artist Daniel Mayer, glass fabricator Franz Mayer, glass installers Walters and Wolf and the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture were honored with an Award of Merit in the Art in Public Places category.

“We are humbled by this recognition,” said Phoenix Aviation Director, Danny Murphy. “We owe the success of this project to our employees city-wide and to our business partners who put in countless hours of work to ensure a world-class experience for our customers on the PHX Sky Train.™”

Mr. Murphy thanked the Phoenix Aviation Department’s many partners in the project, including: Bombardier Transportation, Gannett Fleming, HOK, Fore Dimensions, Hensel Phelps, Kimley Horn & Associates, MEP Engineer, Dinter Engineering and Advance Terrazzo.


Maloney-Langmade becomes leader of men

There are not many people in the world who can say they are a licensed plumber, have an MBA in International Management from the Thunderbird School of Global Management, and are a mother to three daughters, ages 7, 11 and 12.

Kathryn “Kitty” Maloney-Langmade can make those claims.

The president of W.J. Maloney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling leads a vibrant plumbing contracting company in a male-dominated industry. Some of her company’s recent projects include the new Chicago Cubs spring training complex in Mesa, the Veteran’s Administration Southeast Healthcare Clinic in Gilbert, Phase IV of CityScape Phoenix, a major solar thermal project at the University of Arizona in Tucson, and the Sky Train Project at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

Az Business magazine caught up with Maloney-Langmade — whose company won consecutive Best of the Best Awards for safety from SCF Arizona — for a Q&A.

How did you get into the plumbing business?
My father and mother started W.J. Maloney Plumbing in 1964.  I grew up in and around the business. My dad was always working in the field and my mother performed the bookkeeping. Upon returning from my honeymoon, I learned my mother’s secretary had left the company.  My mother asked me to come to the plumbing shop to help her out with payroll and I never left.

Are there any aspects of the industry that are made more difficult because you are a woman?
Growing up, I always heard and learned about construction but I was not in the field with my father.  Often times, I wish I had the mechanical, hands-on expertise and years of experience that my father had.  To carry on his tradition of quality workmanship, I have had to surround myself with key people who have the same mechanical skill that he possessed.

Are there any benefits to being a woman in a male-dominated industry?
My experience is that both men and women in construction go out of their way to be supportive, kind, courteous and helpful.  People want me to succeed.  They know construction is a tough road.  I am lucky to have received good advice and help.

What has been your biggest challenge?
Turning the company around during difficult times.  We were in a pattern of winning work and doing jobs, but were losing money. Meeting and listening to my key foremen who have been with the company for years, I was able to learn and understand changes that needed to happen. I was able to get the company moving in the right direction when I put together a solid leadership team.  We are now able to estimate, win and perform good work.  We have a great team in place now and the momentum continues to build and grow.