Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Aims To Be Epicenter for Aerospace Operations

Original Article via Phoenix Business Journal

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport has been having a pretty good go of it for the past year or so: the PHX East Valley regional airport got its first international flight, has been breaking passenger records and was recently cleared by the Federal Aviation Administration to have around 700 acres next to the airport open for development.

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway just landed Constant Aviation last week as well, which will establish a new operation in a 74,486-square-foot space, with 50,000 square feet of hangar space for maintenance, repair and overhaul operations. Approximately 200 jobs will be created at the facility with an average wage of $60,000 a year, and Constant Aviation will be investing roughly $12.5 million in the facility over the next three years.

It’s been the latest grab for Shea Joachim, the airport’s director of business development, who is working to make Phoenix-Mesa Gateway the “epicenter of MRO operations in the West Coast.”

“What we’re trying to be is the mecca for these operations on the West Coast,” he said.

That began about 10 years ago, when aerospace companies Embraer and Cessna opened facilities at the airport, which made up around 150,000 square feet of operations in total.

Because both companies are some of largest manufacturers of jets, Joachim said, that helped to attract other MRO operations.

“Those were certainly a big win. They play a big role in recruitments,” he said. “Other companies see those big names and it provides a little bit of comfort for them.”

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway then added Able Engineering, now known as Able Aerospace, as well as International Air Response, to their aerospace MRO portfolio.

Around that same time, the airport lost Hawker Beechcraft, who built and operated a facility there, due to the company’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2012 — but that ended up working out for Phoenix-Mesa Gateway in the long run, since Constant Aviation will soon be operating in that space.

“The combination of facility availability and this space being competitive for MRO operations was part of what made this deal attractive to Constant,” Joachim said.

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