The Greater Phoenix Chamber’s Economic Development Insider Series in April featured Chad Makovsky, the new Director of Aviation Services for the City of Phoenix. With an economic impact of $38 billion annually, the airport is a significant economic driver in the state. Mr. Makovsky discussed recent updates to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and broke down his top priorities as Director in the months and years to come.


  • Phoenix Sky Harbor was named the number 1 U.S. airport by the Wall Street Journal
  • Sky Harbor recently introduced the Navigator Buddies Program to use animals to calm people’s anxiety
  • Business travel is bouncing back much slower than leisure travel.
  • Long term expenditures and procedures have been implemented for the long run (post pandemic).
  • TSMC – Taiwan semi-conductor manufacturing plant located at the I17 and 303 is making a huge impact. This is an important addition to the region and is anticipated to create a stronger pitch for Sky Harbor to have further services into Asia.


  • PHX Sky Train Stage 2 – on schedule and on budget – it’s scheduled to open in mid-2022.
    • Addresses the challenge of getting people from the main terminal to rental car facilities
    • Will take hundreds of busses off the street
  • New convenient, affordable parking on the west side of the airport will be available at the 24th Street Station
  • Terminal 4 is adding an eighth concourse:
    • New construction set for 2022
    • New gates for Southwest Airlines
    • Currently solicitating for restaurants, bars, and businesses
    • Local, regional, and national brands will be featured in this new facility
  • The pandemic caused some project delays:
    • Suspending almost $8 million on operating projects
    • Reduced budget during the pandemic
  • Terminal 2 is in the final stages of demolition.


  • There was a significant increase in airport traffic over Spring Break, but day to day traffic overall hovered around 50% compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019.
  • In March 2021, traffic was just under 70% compared to March 2019. However, in late March-early April, numbers were around 10% shy of 2019.
  • Corporate travel seems to lag significantly more than leisure travel, sitting out roughly 70-75% lower than pre-pandemic numbers.


  • American Airlines providing new, nonstop flights to Culiacan, MX starting on March 4th
  • Southwest Airlines launched nonstop flights to Cancun starting on March 11th


Phoenix Sky Harbor is an enterprise facility that is owned and operated by the City of Phoenix. It’s financially self-sustained and is not funded through tax-payer dollars.

  • Instead, revenue is generated from Airport shops, restaurants, parking, taxis, and rental cars. So, each time travelers pass through PHX Sky Harbor and purchase a meal, souvenirs, or rent a car, the Airport receives revenue.
  • Federal law states that no funding from the Airport can be sent to the City’s general fund or organizations. In other words, monies earned at the Airport must stay at the Airport for improvements in such areas as safety and security rather than funneled away for other uses or to other departments.



  • Federal mask mandate will continue to be in place for the next several months
  • GBAC Star Facility Seal – consistent cleaning, disinfecting


  • Phoenix Sky Harbor strives to be America’s friendliest airport, and will continue to make investments that align with the evolving changing needs of the customers: affordable, cost efficient, climate friendly



  • “If we take good care of our employees, I know they will turn around and take good care of our customers.” – Chad Makovsky


  • “Phoenix Sky Harbor is here first and foremost to serve our community. And we will continue to listen and reach out to support the community.” – Chad Makovsky


  • Phoenix Sky Harbor achieved a Level 3 Accreditation in ACI’s Airport Carbon Accreditation Program
  • “Sky Harbor is actively reducing its carbon footprint and will continue operating in a sustainable way in the future.” – Chad Makovsky
  • The City of Phoenix Aviation Department has created a Sustainability Management Plan as the guiding document to build on its record of achievements in sustainability efforts.
  • Mega Trends
    • Population growth – we have more and more people competing for those same physical and natural resources.
    • Aviation contributes to a little over 2% of the global carbon footprint
    • The ultimate goal is to get to a net zero carbon emission by 2050!

Posted by Annelise Patterson