Photos, story by Kimberly Hundley
You’ve seen the directional signs to Scottsdale Municipal Airport, you’ve spotted the planes en route, but have you ever been to the namesake facility that the Airpark has grown up around?
Even if you live or work here, probably not.
We haven’t conducted an official study or anything, but based on empirical evidence over the last five years (hundreds of chats with people in the Airpark), most people know it’s vaguely “over there,” waving in a direction easterly of Scottsdale Quarter and westerly of the Northsight Costco, but they’ve not stepped foot inside or even driven past.
Well here are a few pithy facts about the airport, and a look inside the facility that’s just around the corner from you … somewhere.
1. How to get to the terminal.
Take Greenway Parkway east and continue past Scottsdale Road, when it immediately turns into a street called Butherus (we admit we don’t know how to pronounce this for sure). Just a minute or two later, you’ll dead end at a stop sign in front of Scottsdale Airport. Make a left onto a one-way roadway and park for free in the lot right across from the terminal. If you take a right onto Airport Drive, you’ll go past several attractive office buildings privately owned on city land.
2. What the Airport Advisory Committee does.
The City Council appointed this nine-member citizen advisory board to review and offer recommendations on policy matters related to the airport, review development proposals, airport-area land use, fees and safety concerns. For example, developers who want to build multistory buildings anywhere near the airport can’t take their proposal to the planning department until they first get the thumbs-up from these guys and gals. It’s safe to say, members are passionate about aviation the importance of the airport to Scottsdale’s financial future.
3. Meet Sarah Ferrara.
She’s the planning and outreach coordinator for Scottsdale Airport, and works upstairs in the terminal, home to the airport’s administrative offices. You’ll see her at public workshops related to the airport, meetings of the Airport Advisory Committee, etc.
4. How the airport intends to handle intense Super Bowl travel.
OK, in 2008, the last time the Valley hosted the Super Bowl, flights in and out of Scottsdale Airport had a few, uh, hitches. We couldn’t get city staff to say as much, but official minutes from advisory committee meetings indicate flights on Monday after the big game were delayed by as much as seven hours, and jetsetters were not happy. “We’re lucky the Super Bowl is coming back,” one observer remarked. This time around, the airport’s new aviation director, Gary Mascaro, and staff are determined all will go smoothly, even if the game is a dud and a slew of visitors decide to jet away at half-time. How? For one thing, the airport has introduced a brand new reservation system that will be managed by the FBOs (fixed-base operators) during Super Bowl weekend. Even base tenants and private charter companies will filter all their arrivals/departures through the FBOs so that they are highly synchronized with all parties working together. Another critical improvement, Ferrara told the Scottsdale Airpark News, is a close partnership throughout the event with the FAA, which determines who goes where in Southwest regional airspace. The Scottsdale Airport Tower will also be open extended hours over the weekend (normal hours are 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.), meaning pilots don’t have to use only visual cues to navigate.
5. You can rent an office right at the airport!
Adjacent to the terminal building is an attractive little office building, complete with patio and conference rooms, called the Aviation Business Center. Tenants include aviation-related enterprises such as Southwest Flight Center as well as businesses like Chameleon Music whose owners just enjoy the proximity of flight. Space is now available.
6. A new Airport Operations Center building is in the works.
It’s very cramped quarters for city employees at the airport, and plans are underway to build a facility near the terminal to primarily house operations and maintenance. The admin staff will keep their offices in the Terminal Building. The project is expected to cost nearly $5 million. When construction is finished, a hangar now being used for equipment storage will be available for rental, with funds going to the city.
7. Landmark Aviation will unveil its new FBO facility before the Super Bowl.
Longtime airport tenant Landmark, one of only two fixed-base operators at the airport, is just about to finish up a major renovation of its facility. One thing is for sure, company officials told the city: It will be finished before the Super Bowl!
8. Rent a car at Scottsdale Airport.
Little-known fact treasured by locals: You can rent a car right at Scottsdale Airport, a handy-dandy locale for many of us. Enterprise and Hertz have reps inside the terminal, and both companies were already getting a plethora of calls about Super Bowl weekend reservations when we stopped by in November.
9. Terminal low-down.
The truth is almost nobody uses the terminal anymore, except as a venue for public meetings. If you fly in or out on a private jet, you’ll go through an FBO or the management/charter company’s facilities at the airport—not hang out at the city’s terminal, though it’s open to the public and you can get free Wi-Fi there. Just a couple of years ago, the terminal’s interior could be kindly described as “retro ’70s,” but due to the convoluted demise of a company called Set Jet, the terminal is downright swanky these days. Set Jet, a startup with a membership-based model for private air travel, rented a major hunk of the terminal in 2013, paid to refurbish it, then relinquished its lease late last year when a key party was arrested on unrelated fraud and money-laundering conspiracy charges. The arrest story received scant coverage locally, but you can read about Scottsdale’s alleged “hockey con man” in the New York Daily News here: http://nydn.us/1vkgwLK and http://nydn.us/11WCXuL. Maybe you know him. The upside is, the terminal and its rest rooms are now very, very nice.