The History Of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

Located three miles east of downtown Phoenix, Arizona, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) is a joint civilian-military airport. A hub for American Airlines and a base for Southwest Airlines, PHX is today the 8th busiest airport in the United States and the 11th busiest in the world, handling more than 1,200 flights a day.

In 1928 the owner of Scenic Airways, J. Parker Van Zandt help build what was at the time the city’s fourth airfield. Scenic fared badly after the Wall Street crash in 1929, and Zandt was forced to sell the airfield to the Acme Investment Company.


Acme owned the airfield for the next six years before selling it to The City of Phoenix in 1935 for $100,000. Because of its isolated location, the airport was referred to as the “farm.” Following the city’s purchase, the airport began to grow, becoming a major southern hub for the United States.

The airport opened its first modern terminal in 1952

When the airport’s Terminal 1 opened in 1952, it was one of the most modern in the country. Back then, airlines serving Phoenix included American Airlines, Frontier, Western, and TWA. Typical aircraft seen flying in and out of PHX included Douglas DC-3s and DC-4s, as well as Lockheed Constellations.

Not long after the terminal was opened, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Bonanza Airlines started flying to Phoenix. After many years of service, Terminal 1 was demolished in 1990.

PHX airport

As the airport got busier and surpassed handling more than a million passengers a year, a second terminal built at the cost of $2.7 million opened in 1962. At the time, it was the most modern in the country, boasting a footprint of 330,000 square feet with 19 gates.

When Terminal 2 opened, city planners hoped that it would sustain the airport until 2000. However, passenger numbers continued to grow, making it necessary to build a third terminal. Terminal 2 closed in February 2020.

Terminal 3 opened in 1979

With an estimated cost of $35 million, the construction of terminal 3 began in 1976, as did its $13 million parking garage. Following the opening of the new terminal in 1979, passenger traffic at PHX had grown to seven million a year. In the mid-1980s, with passenger numbers still growing, city planners began to talk about building a massive new terminal.

Work on Terminal 4 began in October 1989, and when it opened, it had five concourses and 44 gates. In 1998, a sixth concourse was added, and the international concourse was expanded by adding more gates. In the spring of 2005, a seventh concourse opened in Terminal 4, which was higher and wider than the previous ones with a more modern look and feel.

For the use of Southwest Airlines, PHX expanded again, adding an eighth concourse last summer, taking the total number of gates in Terminal 4 to 94. All international arrivals pass through Terminal 4.

Today PHX has just Terminal 3 and Terminal 4, which between them have 117 active aircraft gates.

The Arizona Air National Guard is based at PHX

Covering 3,400 acres, PHX has three parallel concrete runways:

  • Runway 8/26, which is 11,489 feet long and 150 feet wide
  • Runway 7L/25R, which is 10,300 feet long and 150 feet wide
  • Runway 7R/25L, which is 7,800 feet long and 150 feet wide

PHX is also home to the 161st Air Refueling Wing of the Arizona Air National Guard. Known as Goldwater Air Base, the refueling wing operates KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft.

For more updates check below links and stay updated with News AKMI.
Life and Style || Lifetime Fitness || Automotive News || Tech News || Giant Bikes || Cool Cars || Food and Drinks


Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button

usa news wall today prime news newso time news post wall