Phoenix’s secondary airport to get a state-of-the-art terminal, but who pays?

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Numerous major US cities have secondary airports but Phoenix’s (Mesa Gateway) is often overlooked. That may be partly because it has been regarded as a general aviation facility and also because the existing terminal is a temporary one which dates back to when it became a commercial facility too, at the expense of the air force base it had been previously.

But it had 1.7 million passengers in 2019, which is not to be sniffed at, and has long-standing phased plans through to beyond 2030 by which it might cater for over 20 million ppa. The Phoenix area is the nation’s fifth largest conurbation and Phoenix the fastest growing city.

Those plans have been thrown out of kilter by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, but it looks as if the first stage will go ahead – a ‘state of the art’ five-gate terminal.

But there are two issues here.

Firstly, is it what the low cost carriers who use it (100%) actually want? And if not, is there enough latent demand from the full service/network airlines that might welcome such a facility?

Secondly, who is going to pay for a scheme that has not yet been fully costed, let alone the full ‘Gateway 2030’ scheme which could run to USD1.4 billion or more?

There may be some help forthcoming from the recently passed Infrastructure Bill for this first phase, but even that could come with caveats.

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