Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport employs about 4,000 people, doles out more than $200 million in payroll and makes a $500 million splash in economic activity every year, airport executive director Lynn Kusy said Wednesday.
Kusy, who spoke at a Gilbert Chamber of Commerce luncheon to highlight the airport's accomplishments and future plans, said Gateway received about $100 million in capital grants and about $100 million in private investments since taking over from the U.S. Air Force in 1994.
He added that the airport saw about $16 million in capital projects in 2008.
"We typically have about 20 capital projects under way at any time," he said.
Kusy later told the Tribune that $16 million was a significant increase from 2007, thanks largely to grants from the Federal Aviation Administration.
The airport's operating revenue in fiscal year 2008 was $8.6 million, and employment was up 9 percent.
Kusy told the Tribune he attributed a 13 percent drop in airport operations during fiscal year 2008 to the bankruptcy of a significant airport tenant - a helicopter training school called Silver State Helicopter. He said Silver State didn't significantly affect the airport's revenue.
Airport officials said earlier this week they would step up their lobbying efforts for a second airline, San Francisco-based Virgin America.
In March, Chandler-Gilbert Community College opened a $4.2 million hangar at its Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport campus. The 22,000-square-foot center hosts learning space and a flight simulator and will facilitate a 40 percent increase in the school's student body.
Also, Hawker Beechcraft Corp. and Cessna both opened aircraft repair and maintenance in January.
The airport is also planning a runway expansion and another expansion of its sole terminal - the Charles L. Williams Passenger Terminal.
Greg Tilque, development services director, said he's pleased Gateway is doing well even though the economy is such a wreck.
"I knew most of the things going on there, but when you see it all summarized in one presentation - there's a lot of activity."
Kathy Langdon, president and CEO, has tracked the airport's progress and was part of the original discussions for the airport.
"It's just very exciting and rewarding to see what the vision was and how it's all finally coming together after about 10 years," she said.
Langdon added she's pleased that Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air has increased the number of flights to 35 a week.
"It's really exciting to see that and the fact that they've had to expand their terminal several times," she said.