Phoenix Sky Harbor - City of Tempe History



City of Phoenix purchased the airport from the private carrier for $35,300 cash and a $64,700 mortgage.































































Airport Master Plan recommended expansion from one to three runways (east/west, north/south and diagonal).


Terminal 1 was constructed at a cost of $850,000. The three runways provided for a total number of operations that made Phoenix the 11th busiest airport in the nation.


Airport Master Plan called for the elimination of the diagonal runway to allow for more terminal space.


Terminal 2 (formerly called East Terminal) was developed at a cost of $4.1 million. An outdoor walkway was added to allow passengers walk to and from their aircraft.


Concerned citizens formed the Tempe Environmental Improvement Committee (TEIC) in response to massive citizen complaints about the noise of commercial aircraft over-flights of their neighborhoods.


Airport Master Plan called for a relocation of the Air National Guard and re-canalization of the Salt River to accommodate a 3rd runway.


Recommended �Noise Abatement and Operative Procedures� were approved and released by the City of Phoenix Aviation Director. Aircraft were directed to avoid developed residential areas to the east both north and south of the Salt River.


The Rio Salado Radio Beacon was installed as a navigational aid to keep departing aircraft over the �river route.�

1977 A 181 foot tall tower adjacent a new Terminal 3 replaced the 60 foot tall tower at Cutter Aviation built in 1956.


Terminal 3 was opened. Heavy flooding from the Salt River during the late 1970's did not close the airport although parts of the runways were under water. Terminal 3 accommodated additional flights including Boeing 727�s and 707�s.


Tempe City Council appointed the Tempe Aircraft Noise Abatement Committee (ANACOM) to make policy recommendations to the Council on noise generated by airport operations.


ANACOM submitted a report to Tempe City Council noting that noise would increase due to recent deregulation, deviations from flight patterns and expansion of the airport that included a third runway proposed in the PRC Speas Master Plan Update.


The Phoenix City Council approved the airport Master Plan and the City of Phoenix committed in writing to Tempe that if a third runway was constructed it would be used for general aviation only. The plan called for relocation of the 2nd runway and a new 3rd parallel runway to be constructed with a minimum 800-foot spacing between the two. This would satisfy the minimum requirement of 4.300 feet between the north and new 3rd runway centerlines to conduct parallel approaches.


City of Tempe received an Aircraft Noise Mitigation Study from hired consultant Michael Bradman Associates. The consultant recommended that the City requested modifications to the airport's flight paths and departure distributions to protect property in the City of Tempe. A revised terminal development plan was prepared by the City of Phoenix Aviation Department, which evaluated various concourse schemes for a new pier centralized terminal, which was materialized with construction of Terminal 4.


Airport Master Plan Update called for the construction of Terminal 4, demolition of Terminal 1 and adding a 3rd parallel runway. The total cost of this plan, including the relocation of the Air National Guard and the realignment of 24th Street was estimated to be about $160 million.


A FAR Part 150 Noise Compatibility Study was completed for the airport. The study included assumptions of added impacts because of improvements proposed in the 1988/89 Master Plan.

1990 Terminal 4 (Barry Goldwater Terminal) was built for $250 million. America West Airlines, Southwest Airlines, the PHX Tower/TRACON signed a letter of agreement on the 1 DME Standard Instrument Departure procedure (SID) to the east established for noise mitigation purposes.
1991 FAA released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the airport Master Plan Update and conducted public hearing meetings. The City of Tempe submitted extensive comment on the draft alleging serious flaws in assumptions on environmental impacts and proposed noise mitigation measures.
1992   A navigational aid, the Salt River VORTAC, was moved to make way for ADOT's freeway project. The FAA made changes to the SID, the "1-DME" became the "4-DME" procedure. The City of Phoenix Aviation Director notified the City of Tempe on a change in the east departure heading off the north runway from 90 to 85 degrees to intercept the 75 degree radial off the relocated VORTAC.
1993 FAA issued the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for projects included in the airport Master Plan Update.
1994  The FAA issued a Record of Decision (ROD) approving the Maser Plan projects. The City of Tempe filed law suits against the FAA and the Environmental Protection Agency over the FEIS. The City of Tempe agreed to a request by U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit, to try settle the suits through mediation, and as a result the City of Tempe accepted that the suits were dismissed by the Court provided that the FAA amended the ROD to reaffirm commitments to uphold noise mitigation flight procedures over Tempe. The City of Tempe and the City of Phoenix made an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) on noise mitigation flight procedures to be upheld and the implementation of a new procedure proposed in the FEIS to mitigate noise impacts from large aircraft that would be landing on the proposed 3rd runway. The City of Phoenix agreed to install a Noise and Flight Track Monitoring System (NFTMS) for the airport and update the FAR Part 150 Study from 1989. The FAA issued an amendment to the ROD.


The City of Tempe established the Tempe Aviation Commission (TAVCO) consisting of appointed residents from aircraft noise impacted areas in the City to assist and advise the Mayor and City Council on aircraft noise impacts, the implementation of the 1994 IGA, and other related issues. TAVCO replaced ANACOM. TRACOR Applied Sciences Inc. was hired by the City of Phoenix to install a Noise and Flight Track Monitoring System (NFTMS) for the airport.


The City of Phoenix Aviation Department rejected an NFTMS "Corridor"-measure to monitor airline compliance with the 4-DME noise mitigation flight procedure based on existing SIDs that was proposed by TAVCO and endorsed by the Tempe City Council in 1996. The Aviation Department implemented an NFTMS "Gate" at 4-DME to identify airlines that would receive notifications for not complying with the 4-DME instrument departure procedure.


TAVCO got City Council approval for conducting a study of public perception of aircraft noise in Tempe.  Dr. Bruce Merrill concluded that aircraft noise was primarily a problem north of Apache Boulevard with basis in survey data collected in November and December 1999. After the FAA conducted an airport inspection pointing to the wildlife hazard due to run-off from the Tempe Town Lake, the City of Tempe reaffirmed its commitment to implement measures that would prevent wild life habitats in the Salt River areas of the Town Lake to the FAA.


3rd runway inaugural flights took place on October 5th, but after a few flights the runway was temporarily closed for completion of work on runway lights. TAVCO got City Council approval for conducting the second part of the noise perception study. The City of Phoenix Aviation Department submitted and update to the 1989 study as stipulated in the 1994 IGA.


Dr. Bruce Merrill presented survey results  to TAVCO indicating that Tempe residents were generally more aware of the aircraft noise compared to 1999, and that the problem is getting worse in all areas surveyed. The FAA canceled the SIDs in exchange for RADAR vector DP's formalizing procedure changes to phase in the third runway. The City of Tempe petitioned the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to review actions taken by the FAA in incorporating changes to the departure procedures to the east including those proposed in the NW 2000 re-routing Plan. The FAA approved the 2000 FAR Part 150 update, which included noise mitigation measures agreed upon in the 1994 IGA. The Arizona Tourism and Sports Authority submitted plans for a stadium in Tempe to the FAA that later resulted in a determination of Hazard to Air Navigation by the FAA's Western Pacific Regional Office. URS Corporation conducted a public meeting on the scoping of the Environmental Impact Statement of proposed improvement projects at the airport that included construction of a new west terminal.


The FAA suspended implementation of a side-step visual approach procedure to the third runway after receiving flight safety warnings from NATCA and airline representatives, and after an attempt to formalize the procedure failed.  The FAA issued a Draft Environmental Assessment for proposed construction and operation of a new ATCT/TRACON facility just east of Terminal 3 with a 320 foot tall tower. The City of Tempe petitioned the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to enjoin the FAA from funding and the City of Phoenix from proceeding with the reconstruction of the center runway, alleging Clean Air Act violations. The City of Tempe�s request for injunction was denied.


The Tempe City Council agreed to settle petition over miscellaneous departure procedures for the consideration that the FAA would notify the City of Tempe through the Phoenix Airspace Users Working Group (PAUWG) of intentions to make changes to flight procedures. A draft Environmental Assessment (EA) was issued on stage 1 of a proposed Automated People Mover (APM) project at the airport.


The FAA issued a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for miscellaneous proposed construction projects at the airport including a new 33 gates west terminal complex, stage 2 of the APM, cross-field taxiways, and modifications to Sky Harbor Boulevard. TAVCO called a special meeting for residents to comment on the draft prior to URS public meetings, and recommended the City ask for an extension of the public comment period, which was done by the FAA upon request from the City of Tempe.

2006 The FAA issued a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the proposed construction projects and an ROD approving the projects. The City of Phoenix Aviation department got the Phoenix City Council to enact a proposed amendment to the City's airport height zoning ordinance. The amendment changed the allowable building heights within a Phoenix �Downtown Zone� that included the boundaries of 7th Avenue to 7th Street and Fillmore Street to Lincoln Street.
2008 The City of Phoenix entered into a new contract with ERA Beyond Radar to host and maintain the web based Noise & Flight Track Monitoring System (NFTMS) for the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, which included replacing hardware at 21 Noise Monitoring Sites.


The City of Phoenix tested and accepted the replacement of monitoring hardware done by ERA at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport Noise Monitoring Sites (NMS).