Military airport closure, as evidenced by the Phoenix-Mesa Airport story, can be traumatic. When the US Air Force shut down its operations at this facility, 3,800 jobs were lost and this act had a negative annual impact of $300 million. It would be easy to “fold the tent” and concede that the existence of a major commercial airport (Phoenix Sky Harbor) would preclude the continuation of such a large piece of infrastructure.
Any review of the successful transformation of this abandoned airbase into a vibrant, commercial entity with runways in its midst mentions that energy, expertise and entrepreneurial spirit of Lynn Kusy. There was a lot of support from local elected officials who shared his vision and the serendipitous arrival of a new generation of low cost carriers excited about operating out of secondary airports like Phoenix-Mesa (Allegiant, Frontier, and Spirit Airlines), but Mr. Kusy’s presence was the key ingredient to this quintessential transition.
As noted by Roc Arnett, president of East Valley Partnership, “Today, the Airport supports over 4,100 jobs and has an annual impact of $685 million, making Gateway Airport an economic engine for the East Valley.”
Good luck, Mr. Kusy, in retirement.Share this article: