Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport Terminal 3 Modernisation, Arizona - Airport Technology
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Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport Terminal 3 Modernisation, Arizona

Acclaimed as America's friendliest airport, Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport is undergoing a major redevelopment project to strengthen its position as Arizona's main transportation hub.

Project Type

Terminal modernisation project


Phoenix, Arizona, US

Estimated Investment


Construction Started



Phoenix Sky Harbor

Acclaimed as America’s friendliest airport, Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport is undergoing a major redevelopment project to strengthen its position as Arizona’s main transportation hub.

The $590m redevelopment project is a part of the City of Phoenix’s Capital Improvement Plan 2015-2020, which envisages bringing the airport and its surrounding areas under one roof.

Initiated in 2015 with the launch of the Terminal 3 (T3) modernisation, the project will enable the terminal to handle increased passenger traffic while creating a world-class travel experience for the passengers.

The modernisation has been divided into three phases to facilitate execution and reduce disruption to daily terminal operations.

Phase one of the five-year modernisation project was completed in December 2016, while the entire project is scheduled for completion by 2020.

Details of the upgraded Terminal 3 at Phoenix airport

Phase one of the modernisation project transformed the 36-year old T3 into a state-of-the-art facility. The upgraded terminal now offers new interior and exterior finishes, a new facade, impressive views of the city skyline, new infrastructure, speciality facilities and an improved travel experience for visitors.

"The $590m redevelopment project is a part of the City of Phoenix’s Capital Improvement Plan 2015-2020."

A larger, consolidated security checkpoint has been created to help reduce passenger wait times thereby enabling them to reach the gates faster. Passengers can find pre-composure and recomposure areas to relax before and after the security checkpoints.

The upgraded terminal also saw the addition of 31 new common ticket counters that allow flexibility among the airlines, including Delta, Frontier, Hawaiian and JetBlue airlines, which are currently served by the terminal.

A new West Plaza, which will be visible from all the three levels of the terminal, has been developed adjacent to the terminal’s departures atrium. Accessible to all the travellers, the new plaza provides an outdoor area with Arizona’s native plants/trees, passenger walkways, seating area and a dog park for pets. It also features artworks and sculptures throughout the garden.

Located between the north and south concourses, the passenger hall has been transformed into the Great Hall, which now offers a centralised passenger facilities area, handles higher passenger volumes, allows more natural light, and provides greater views.

A new museum gallery has also been added past the security area, allowing the travellers to experience the cultural and artistic heritage of Arizona while waiting for their flights.

Design details of Terminal 3 modernisation

The closed, internally oriented structure of the terminal has been transformed into an open and natural light filled space by removing sections of the mezzanine and pre-cast facade.

The terminal now features a new striking glass facade, while retaining its basic structure designed in 1978. The large overhanging pavilion roof made with acoustic metal ceiling panels helps reduce glare and heat absorption, while providing views of the city and landscape.

The top/fourth level of the building features skylights that provide clear views of the sky through glass panels whose gradient opacity and angle eliminates glare, providing a clear view of the environment.

The recomposure area of the terminal features a glass atrium that provides unique views of the airfield and the Phoenix Mountains allowing passengers to gather and explore the surroundings.

Phases two and three of Phoenix airport terminal modernisation

The second phase of the terminal modernisation will see the demolition of the south concourse, which will be replaced by a new 15-gate concourse to be configured linearly. The concourse can be further expanded to enable closure of airline operations at Terminal 2.

The concourse will feature new food and retail units, airline hold rooms, and new passenger facilities. Completion of phase two is expected by early 2019.

To be completed by 2020, phase three of the project will completely upgrade the north concourse by adding food and beverage (F&B) units, enhanced customer facilities, and improved interior and exterior finishes.

Contractors involved

DWL Architects + Planners is the prime architect for the modernisation project. The company is leading the design team and involved in core building design and overall terminal planning.

SmithGroup is responsible for the exterior design, lighting, landscaping and sustainability of the project. Cargon is acting as the programming and interiors design lead for the project.

The HuntAustin joint venture between Hunt Construction Group and Austin Commercial has been awarded the design-build contract for the project.

Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB) has been appointed to provide independent estimations to validate the cost projections of the project.

KPFF is supplying structural engineering services.

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