Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport offers domestic and international aviation services to passengers in Arizona region. Credit: PhxMesaGatewayAirport.
The airport was known as Williams Air Force Base until 1993. Credit: Alan Wilson.
Construction of two hangar facilities at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport started in December 2018. Credit: Able Aerospace Services Inc.

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (IATA: AZA) is an international airport located in the south-eastern part of Phoenix Metropolitan Area, Mesa, Arizona, US. It was previously referred to as Williams Gateway Airport.

The international airport is owned and operated by the Phoenix Mesa Gateway Airport Authority (PMGAA). It is the second international airport in the region and acts as an alternative airport to the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Arizona.

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport was classified as a non-hub commercial service airport by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

It has witnessed a significant growth in passenger and cargo traffic in recent years. The airport handled more than 1.3 million passengers and 21,000t of enplaned air cargo in 2017.

The passenger volume is expected to increase up to 2.2 million by 2027, while the cargo handling capacity is anticipated to reach 44,000t by 2027.

A large expansion project is being carried out at the airport to address the growing demand for aviation services. The ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of two new hangars was held in December 2018.

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport expansion project details

The masterplan for the development of the airport was initially formulated in 1994. It was updated once in 1999 and again in 2008.

The latest masterplan outlined a series of expansions aimed to meet the forecasted demand of approximately 2.2 million passengers by 2027.

The existing west-side terminal was expanded in three phases under the masterplan. A new terminal building will be constructed towards the eastern side of the airport and runway 12C and aprons will be extended. Additional vehicle parking facilities will be built and the general aviation apron will be reconstructed.

Construction of two new hangar facilities under the expansion project was started in December 2018. The existing open-air hangar, which was built in 1943, will be demolished and a new office and hangar will be constructed. Scheduled for completion in mid-2019, the 50,000ft² hangar facility will allow the airport to accommodate Group III-sized aircraft.

SkyBridge Arizona, a new 350-acre aerospace park, is also being developed at the airport. It will feature office, warehouse, logistics / cargo, hospitality, and retail spaces.

Existing facilities at the international airport

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport currently features a terminal building, three runways, an air traffic control tower, aircraft parking apron, a cargo ramp, and jet service centres.

“Built in 1941 as Higley Field, the airport served as a flight training field during the Second World War.”

Known as Charles L Williams terminal, the main building covers an area of 71,710ft². It handles both domestic and international operations and features ten gates, free Wi-Fi facility, affordable parking areas, rental car options, and commercial spaces.

The three runways at the airport are 12R-30L, 12C-30C and 12L-30R. The runway 12R-30L is a concrete pavement with a length and width of 3,170m and 46m respectively.

Asphalt-paved runway 12C-30C is 3,109m-long and 46m-wide, while runway 12L-30R has a length of 2,835m and width of 46m.

The parking apron and the cargo ramp at the airport occupy an area of 233,000 square yards (194,817m²) and 30,000 square yards (25,083m²) respectively.

The airport also features four business jet service centres dedicated to Embraer, Cessna, Hawker Beechcraft, and Crownair.

Contractors involved

PMGAA placed a contract with Able Aerospace Services for the construction of the two new hangars.

The existing west-side terminal expansions were carried out by DWL Architects and Planners in three phases.

Mesa SkyBridge was selected as the master developer for SkyBridge Arizona in November 2017.

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport history

Built in 1941 as Higley Field, the airport served as a flight training field during the Second World War. It was renamed as Williams Air Force Base in 1948 and was home to jet training activities and undergraduate pilot training programme. The base was closed in 1993 due to heavy operational expenses.

The airport was reopened after a runway expansion in 1994 and was renamed as the Williams Gateway Airport. It was primarily used to accommodate excess passenger traffic in the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

Following approval from WGAA board, the airport was renamed as Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport in 2008.