Phoenix Deer Valley and Goodyear airports soar under the radar

Generally flying under the media’s radar yet soaring in terms of air traffic and flight programs, the Phoenix Deer Valley airport is the busiest general aviation airport in the nation and ranks among the busiest airports in the world.  

Phoenix Deer Valley handled 415,166 aircraft operations last year, generating $380.5 million in economic impact ($196.2 million, directly) and creating over 900 jobs in aviation, technology, business services, and the public sector. 

“It’s the busiest general aviation airport in the country,” Deer Valley airport manager Ed Faron said. “The airport offers a complete range of services, including fueling, avionics repair, maintenance, parts, flight training, new and used aircraft sales, aircraft rentals, and a restaurant. Cutter Aviation is its fixed-based operators, and the airport is home to nearly 1,100 aircraft. Phoenix Deer Valley Airport is uniquely poised for growth in that it features 200 acres of undeveloped airport property. This land is available for aeronautical uses such as storage hangars, aircraft maintenance facilities, or virtually any other aviation-related use.”

Phoenix Deer Valley is also home to two of the busiest flight schools in the nation, Westwind School of Aeronautics and AeroGuard. Both schools have several hundred pilots enrolled at any given time, and AeroGuard, in particular, allows cadets to fly over eight times the number of other flight schools due to the size of Phoenix Deer Valley. 

“There are two very busy flight schools at Deer Valley,” Faron said. “Both cater to the global market and each has several hundred student pilots enrolled in their programs at any given time. Both schools have very structured flight training programs that are geared toward individuals intent on becoming professional pilots. “

Phoenix Goodyear (GYR) is another airport based in the Phoenix metropolitan area that services thousands of business travelers, which is largely attributed to the infrastructure expansion in the area. 

“Our Fixed Base Operator (Lux Air Jet Centers) services business aircraft, as well as military jets and other aircraft needing fuels and services at GYR. Business demand continues to grow at GYR because of the location of GYR being on the west side of the Valley with increasing growth, as well as the infrastructure investment which has been significant the last five years,” Phoenix-Goodyear airport manager Brad Hagen explains. “Goodyear has had tremendous business development the past several years, with major companies, such as Microsoft, that have chosen to invest here.  In addition to the growth in the West Valley, there are major highway extensions of 202 and 303 that are being built near Phoenix Goodyear Airport improving access to the Phoenix area and major markets.”

Hagen explains that there are many business fliers who will base their airplane at the Phoenix Goodyear airport and fly out to other markets as needed. Their clientele includes businesses of all sizes and industries, including manufacturing, distribution, agriculture, and sports events. 

In addition to its extensive business aircraft operations, Phoenix Goodyear has its own flight training school. Lufthansa Airlines Training has more than 250 resident students on site and provides initial training for Lufthansa Airlines. Additionally, GYR is home to Fly Goodyear, a flight school that trains individuals from other countries such as Korea, Hagen says. 

Unique to GYR is their repair and refurbishing arm AerSale, which maintains and overhauls large aircraft. AerSale is the biggest business partner at GYR, both in terms of lease size, number of jobs, and revenue.   

“AerSale, a global leader in the supply of aftermarket aircraft, engines and asset management, provides aircraft maintenance and modifications for large aircraft as well as storage and disassembly,” Hagen continues. “They are an incredible partner offering Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) services to very large aircraft. They do heavy maintenance on aircraft as large as a B-767. AerSale leases two very large hangars at Phoenix Goodyear Airport. Those hangars provide infrastructure for maintaining, servicing, and painting of large aircraft.”

Phoenix Goodyear has completed $30 million of investment projects in the last four years, including the pavement of multiple runways, a state-of-the-art Lux Air Jet Centers facility, and additional hangars. 

Looking forward, the airport recently completed a master plan update that forecasts their projects for the next twenty years. The plan identifies approximately $35M in projects, which will largely be funded through FAA and ADOT grants. This ensures that Phoenix Goodyear Airport will continue to have the infrastructure to support the additional growth in traffic and development of new programs projected for the future.

Courtesy of Phoenix Deer Valley Airport

Ben Norman

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