Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport named 2012 Airport of the Year

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport named 2012 Airport of the Year

July 24, 2012

PHOENIX — As the summer travel season gets ready to kick off and people book flights for vacations and getaways, one Arizona airport is being recognized for its superior service and accomplishments over the past year.

The Arizona Department of Transportation has named Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport the 2012 Airport of the Year. The award was presented to airport managers and staff last night (May 22) at the Arizona Airports Association Conference in Tucson. This is the second time Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport has received this award—the facility also won in 2004.

“Our thanks go to ADOT for this high honor,” said Lynn Kusy, executive director of Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. “Much attention has been given to the rapid growth of passenger service at Gateway over the past five years. But what makes this award so special is that the criteria are not focused on passenger service, but on community engagement, innovative programs and excellence in airport management. Gateway Airport staff is led by a set of values that includes innovation and pride in all that we do, and this award is a validation of those efforts.”

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport is considered one of the fastest growing hub airports in the United States and has earned a reputation for being a convenient alternative to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Last year, the airport served nearly one million total passengers, with more than 171,200 takeoffs and landings, making it the 65th busiest airport in the United States, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Some of the airport’s major successes and accomplishments over the past year include:

Allegiant Airlines announced new non-stop service to Minot, N.D.; Appleton, Wis.; Duluth, Minn.; Las Vegas, Nev.; and San Francisco-Oakland, Calif.

Spirit Airlines announced new passenger service at Gateway with flights to Las Vegas, Nev.; Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas; and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Spirit Airlines also now offers continuing service to 30 other destinations.

In order to gear up for the increase in passenger service, Gateway broke ground on Phase II of a terminal expansion project, which will add 30,000 square feet of space and two additional gates. The airport also completed a 2,700-space parking lot along Ray Road.

Airport staff organized Gateway Aviation Day, with more than 10,000 visitors from local communities spending a day at the airport to view aircraft, tour the facility, visit booths and participate in activities showcasing the airport.

“We are very pleased to recognize Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport for their exceptional service and commitment to Arizona’s system of airports,” said ADOT Director John Halikowski. “Their investments continue to meet the needs of residents, visitors and businesses throughout the state. The airport has continued to grow and expand despite a tough economy, and that speaks volumes about its role in the aviation community and in Arizona’s overall economic picture.”

At the awards ceremony in Tucson on Tuesday, ADOT presented Gateway Airport staff with a plaque. A sign will be erected near the airport announcing Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport as the 2012 Airport of the Year.

While there are 114 airports across Arizona, 83 airports—including 11 privately owned airfields and 14 Native American owned airports—are identified in ADOT’s system of airports. These 83 airports vary in size and serve different functions in meeting Arizona’s aviation and economic needs. This system of airports brings in approximately $38.5 billion per year to the state’s economy, according to state research. ADOT works with 65 of the 83 airports throughout the federal and state grant process as part of the Airport Development Program.

ADOT’s Aeronautics Group within the Multimodal Planning Division accepts applications and nominations for Airport of the Year. The Aeronautics Group looks at accomplishments in the areas of community relations, airport management, airport maintenance activities, and innovative activities and programs implemented at airports.