b'54 AZAOPERATIONSNew Control Tower Sparks Growth at Phoenix-MesaGateway, Opens Pathwayfor Other Airports WithContract Towers BY CHRIS JONESThe recent addition of an upgraded air traffic control tower hasfor itself as an active general aviation field with a diverse array of given Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (AZA) an inside trackleisure-oriented airlines. In 2022, the airport served 1.9 million to welcoming more passengers while supporting a surge inpassengers, with nonstop commercial service to more than 50 aviation-related commercial development. Last August, AZA activatedmarkets across the U.S. and Canada.its John S. McCain III Air Traffic Control Tower, a nearly 200-foot-tall, $30AZA achieved these milestones despite decades of limitations million addition that immediately improved airfield safety and boostedpresented by its old control tower, which was originally built to operational capacity at the expanding reliever airport.support military flight training. The cab lacked sufficient space to This is infrastructure that we criticallybest manage the airports growing flight volume, and the tower needed to be able to continue to meet theitself was too short for controllers to see the entire airfield, which changing air transportation needs in greaterhas an unusual configuration of three parallel runways. Phoenix, explains J. Brian ONeill A.A.E.,For years, airport management sought in vain for FAA approval executive director/chief executive officer of theto build a new tower. Ultimately, it took the demise of an archaic Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Authority. Wefederal regulation for the project to move forward. With that were an airport that had outgrown the 1970sobstacle finally cleared four years ago, AZA built a modern tower military base tower that was left after Williamsand fast-tracked additional capital improvements to accommodate Air Force Base had closed.J. BRIAN ONEILLmore commercial flights. In addition, more than 1 million square Located about 20 miles southeast of Sky Harbor Internationalfeet of private development is rising from the fallow desert just east (PHX)a perennial Top 10 large U.S. hubAZA has carved a nicheof AZAs airfield.January | February 2023AirportImprovement.com'