Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport
An expansion at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, at 5835 S. Sossaman Road, will increase the amount of traffic the airport’s Charles L. Williams terminal can handle.
“ The terminal expansion is slated to wrap up and be open to the public by October of this year,” said Brian Sexton, Phoenix- Mesa Gateway Airport’s spokesman. “It will add about 3,000 square feet, and will take the passage terminal from a capacity of about 900,000 to 1.2 million (people). It’s great timing because we expect to do about 1.2 million (total passengers) this year.”
It will add two additional gates onto the terminal, bringing the total number of gates from six to eight.
The recent growth of the Allegiant and Spirit airlines is the major instigator for these new improvements, Mr. Sexton said.
“It’s really just trying to keep up with demand. It’s not getting ahead of it by any means,” he said. “ We are barely able to keep up with all the passengers we are getting. We’d like to get ahead of it, we’re doing what we can just to keep up with demand.”
The project will cost about $10.5 million, Mr. Sexton said.
About 95 percent of these funds were provided by a Federal Aviation Administration grant with the airport having to pay for the remaining 5 percent, he said.
Besides the additional gates, the baggage claim will be doubled in size.
“Right now, we only have one bag belt. Once we get two, it will be great if one happens to fail or if we get backed up with simultaneous arrivals,” Mr. Sexton said. “It gives us more flexibility for the airline to drop the bags off and keep the passengers flowing in and out.”
After this project is completed, expansions for the terminal will continue with plans for an additional two gates, bringing the total to 10.
That phase will cost about $6.5 million, Mr. Sexton said.
For more information, visit www.phxmesagateway. org.
Pegasus Airpark, a private airpark in Queen Creek near South Ellsworth and East Cloud roads, will be allowing jets.
During the April 18 Queen Creek Town Council meeting, it was decided to remove the airpark’s restriction on jets as heavy as 12,500 pounds.
“They got the amendment passed that removed the stipulation against jets and jet fuel at Pegasus Airpark,” said Ron Serafino- wicz, a member of the airpark. “It was a win for everybody. There was really no opposition to it.”
According to Mr. Serafinowicz, the major factor that kept jet aircraft out of the airpark was concerns about noise caused by the planes, but as newer jet engines become quieter, the regulations became less harsh, he said.
He said that many small jet planes made these days are even quieter than many of the propeller using models based at the airpark.
At this time, only one member of the airpark owns a jet, but Mr. Serafinowicz said he wouldn’t be surprised to see more jets join in the future.
“Except for him, there has been no other jet traffic since it was passed. Of course, it will help the airpark. It’s less restrictive for those who own aircraft,” he said.
In the future, Mr. Serafinowicz hopes the airpark will be able to get other types of aircraft allowed.
“Right now, helicopters are still excluded,” he said. “It’s one of the major restrictions on the airpark and a hindrance on its development.”
In 2008, Mr. Serafinowicz was involved in an 18-month-long effort to allow jets and helicopters in the airpark.
“I tried to get these restrictions removed, but it was voted down even though we demonstrated that noise wasn’t an issue. I guess it was for political reasons,” he said. “Pegasus has noise limits like other commercial airports, but because it’s a private airpark, the traffic is so low that it could never even come close to those noise limits.”
Mr. Serafinowicz believes that a major factor in why the restriction was lifted was because there wasn’t a request for helicopters included in the proposal.
Mr. Serafinowicz would like to see helicopters operating at the airpark and he plans to continue his efforts, he said.
For more information, visit pegasus-airpark. com.
Falcon Field Airport
Falcon Field Airport, 4800 E. Falcon Drive in Mesa, recently finished a construction project aimed to improve the airport’s safety.
“ We started a project in January to do some runway improvements that were designed to increase the safety of our pilots and passengers, and maintain the quality of our facilities,” said Dee Anne Thomas, spokeswoman for Falcon Field Airport.
This project included repaving part of taxiway B to reconfigure it to a more angled path from the plane parking areas to the runways.
“ The goal was to make it so pilots would be more clearly alerted when they are about to enter the runway,” Ms. Thomas said. “It also decreases the potential for aircraft, vehicles, pedestrians and equipment to inadvertently enter the runway.”
Construction crews removed about 2,500 square yards of pavement and reinstalled the same amount at an angle. Now, planes will need to enter the runway at an angle rather than a straight shot like it was before, Ms. Thomas said.
“ The pilots now need to think to themselves, ‘hey, I’m turning onto the runway,’” she said.
The project cost about $1.65 million with $1.5 million, about 95 percent, paid for by an FAA grant. Mesa paid the remaining 5 percent, Ms. Thomas said.
“ The FAA sets aside money every year for airports grants for infrastructure improvements. They then decide who they want to give the grants to. It’s an ongoing program for the FAA,” Ms. Thomas said. “ We had to submit a grant proposal, and we were awarded it.”
Construction on the project began on Jan. 9 and until the runways opened on May 5.
A few minor construction jobs, like applying a second coat of paint or testing the electrical system, will continue, but it shouldn’t disrupt traffic much, Ms. Thomas said.
The project was done in two phases in order for only one runway to be closed at a time.
“Doing it in two phases really helped to alleviate the concerns for the pilots because they were still always able to connect their flights,” Ms. Thomas said.
Besides the angled addition, runway guard lights were also installed.
“ The guard lights along the taxi way are another way to alert pilots,” Ms. Thomas said.