Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey today introduced SkyBridge Arizona – a joint U.S.-Mexico Customs clearance service based at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport in Mesa – at the 2018 Legislative Forecast Luncheon hosted by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce at The Sheraton Grand in Phoenix.

SkyBridge Arizona, the new $230 million, 360-acre commercial development at bustling Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport in the Southeast Valley, promises tens of thousands of new jobs, increased revenues for area cities, and marks a new era in how companies send and receive goods across our southern border.

At its core, SkyBridge includes a first-of-its-kind joint United States-Mexico Customs inspections facility, which dramatically streamlines the Customs process with Mexico. Surrounding this facility are more than 2 million square feet of warehouse space, nearly 1 million square feet of office space, 900,000 square feet of light industrial and flex space, more than 800,000 square feet of air cargo operations, a 242-bed hotel and 100,000 square feet of retail and restaurants, and more.

The 15-year build-out plan also includes improvements to infrastructure around Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport including water, sewer and power expansion, as well as vital water retention basins for seasonal rains that protect city and county assets.

“SkyBridge significantly changes the profile of Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport from a convenient regional transportation hub to a powerful economic engine that promises true regional growth during the next two decades – and beyond,” says SkyBridge Arizona project manager Jose Pablo Martinez Buentello. “In short, SkyBridge Arizona is a ‘game-changer.’”

Project developers estimate that more than 17,000 new direct and indirect jobs will result from SkyBridge. Nearly 10,000 will be employed directly related to SkyBridge, more than 2,400 in construction alone. Additionally, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport expects an initial increase of 2,000 additional cargo flights per year – which climbs to 10,000 by 2036. These additional flights benefit local and state coffers through increased taxes and fees.

SkyBridge follows an air freight trend line that is soaring. Growth of air freight between Arizona and Mexico has grown 30 percent per year, or 180 percent from 2011 to 2015, outpacing all other modes of transport. Air freight trade between Arizona and Mexico currently totals $390 million per year. The state also outpaces all of its Southwest neighbors of California, New Mexico, Nevada and Texas, whose air freight traffic grew by just 10 percent during the same period.

SkyBridge expects to capture 5 percent of the Southwest export market to Mexico by 2025, which represents $650 million annually. Revenues generated through taxes and fees support airport maintenance, police and fire, and other airport operating costs.

Arizona State University and the Maricopa County Community Colleges view SkyBridge as an important alliance for research and development, business incubator, technology partner, and an employment opportunity for its graduates. Both maintain aeronautical labs and classrooms at the airport. ASU’s Polytechnic Campus and Chandler-Gilbert Community College are adjacent to Phoenix- Mesa Gateway Airport and SkyBridge Arizona along South Sossaman Road.

Businesses across many sectors benefit from the SkyBridge project. E-commerce companies, aerospace firms, agricultural concerns, manufacturers, all companies doing business with Mexico and beyond each realize faster, more secure deliveries and less red tape. The traditional way of transporting high- value goods across the border impeded growth. With SkyBridge products quickly move in real-time, 24-7 to customers on both sides of the border, supported by both Mexican and American Customs.

E-commerce companies expect to take advantage of significant opportunities within Mexico going forward. More than half of Mexico’s population now has access to the Internet, and two out of three Internet users have made purchases online. Mexican consumers made nearly $300 billion e-commerce purchases last year and that number grows annually by 17 percent.

“The agreement between SkyBridge and Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport creates America’s only international air logistics and cargo processing hub supported by both Mexican and American Customs,” says Martinez Buentello. “The project changes the way we conduct cross-border business, slashing delivery times for companies and ensuring safe transit. This is true international cooperation and something we can all be proud of.”