The Chamber’s Valley Young Professionals participated in an exclusive tour of Sky Harbor International Airport and the PHX Sky train while also learning about the future of the airport, small business resources and other airport services.
With more than 120,000 passengers arriving and departing on a typical day and a daily economic impact of $79 million, Sky Harbor is by no means a small airport. But the loftiness of the airport doesn’t necessarily mean it only works with big businesses. Sky Harbor has a Small Business Development team meant to ensure that local, small and underutilized businesses have opportunities to do business with the airport.
The Small Business Enterprise (SBE) Program is available for small business owners in Maricopa County interested in contracting opportunities with the City of Phoenix and Aviation Department while the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program is available to socially and economically disadvantaged business owners also interested contracting.
The City of Phoenix certifies businesses and certified SBE firms receive access to a reserve contract program and are listed an online directory available to all city procurement personnel. The city offers certification workshops in-person and information on the application process online.
Terminal 3 is undergoing a modernization program which aims to provide an enhanced customer experience and Terminal 2 will eventually close, said Heather Lissner, acting public information manager for the city’s aviation department. The first phase of the program includes a consolidated security checkpoint and additional ticket counters.
The PHX Sky Train celebrated its 10 millionth passenger this past October, providing a quick and easy way to go between terminals.
“It’s a convenient way for travelers to get around the airport system, and the views when riding the train are quite spectacular,” Lessner said.
Travelers often don’t realize that early bag check is offered at the PHX Sky Train Station located on 44th Street and Washington, explained Greg Montes, community relations management assistant for the City of Phoenix Aviation. Travelers can check their bags on the second level on the east side of the PHX Sky Train station.
Sky Harbor has always been ahead of the game in the area of services. They were one of the first airports to offer WiFi in the late nineties. The airport offers pet parks, charging stations, a fitness trail so travelers can get in their exercise while getting a glimpse of Arizona’s desert scenery, local dining options such as Blanco Tacos and Tequila and one of the largest museum collections in the country.
Sky Harbor also has volunteer opportunities with the airport’s Friendly Navigators program, which aims to help visitors with questions, directions and great first impressions of Phoenix.
Kimberly Roland, manager of partner relations for Arizona State University’s Office of Entrepreneurship + Innovation attended the airport tour event and was excited to learn about Sky Harbor’s future.
“Hearing about renovations and future plans was fascinating,” Roland said. “The overall event was a fabulous opportunity to get a behind the scenes look at the airport, which is truly the heart of our city.”