Aviation Industry Soars in PHX East Valley

Aircraft and aircraft parts were Arizona’s top export in 2014

PHX East Valley (Nov. 18, 2015) — Decades of aviation investment and planning in Arizona’s Phoenix (PHX) East Valley has provided the optimal landscape for aerospace, defense and aviation, and high-tech industries to thrive. The in-state economic impact of the Arizona aviation industry places among the top 10 states with more than $58 billion generated in economic activity and nearly 409,000 jobs in some way related to aviation. The array of aviation and aerospace assets, including two commercial service airports and two of the busiest general aviation airports in the country, has made the region a key point of commerce in the Southwest.

More than 10 percent of Arizona’s exports were aircraft and aircraft parts in 2014, making aviation Arizona’s top export. This is due to companies like Able Engineering, a Mesa, Ariz.-based aircraft parts provider that added 100 jobs in the last year and is expected to grow up to three times in the next five to eight years.

Able Engineering also is a notable example of how local government collaborates with the private sectors to retain business and foster development. The City of Mesa and the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Authority initially attracted Able to the East Valley by developing a bond financing mechanism that paid for the construction on their original facility.

“When it comes to aerospace and finding employees for the skillsets we need, we absolutely have a large pool to choose from,” said Lee Benson, CEO of Able Engineering. “It’s fantastic for so many reasons to do business in PHX East Valley.”

Not far from Able in the southeast area of the PHX East Valley region, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport is contributing $1.3 billion annually to the local economy and supports a total of 10,470 jobs across the Valley. The nation’s 39th busiest airport in 2014 with more than 228,000 landings and takeoffs, Gateway’s commercial arrivals and departures total up to 400 flights per week during peak travel periods. Moreover, each flight brings in an estimated $80,066 to the economy.

Falcon Field Airport in Mesa is the home to more than 80 on-airport businesses that provide aviation services including fueling, maintenance and repairs, inspections, avionics, aircraft painting and aircraft interiors, all of which support aircraft operations, manufacturing, research and development activities.

“As businesses make the decision to relocate to PHX East Valley, aviation and other state-of-the-art transportation systems will play a key role,” said Roc Arnett, president of East Valley Partnership. “PHX East Valley airports provide billions of dollars annually to local economies and we see that number increasing with time.”

Chandler Municipal Airport provides service to the business community and is home to world-class aviation training institutions. With more than 200,000 operations in 2014, the airport is among the nation’s busiest general aviation airports. Chandler Municipal Airport is the anchor of the Chandler Airpark Area, a 9-square-mile employment corridor. Experts suggest that by 2025, the corridor will be home to more than 25,000 jobs and more than 25 million square feet of non-residential space.

The Chandler Municipal Airport recently announced a new-to-market concept that introduces new businesses to Chandler’s growing aviation industry. The first phase of the project will include 80,000 square feet of hangar/office space. Each hangar building may be equipped with offices, meeting space and an Aviation Business Lobby.