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Phoenix Sky Harbor Debuts Modernized Terminal 3 (+Photos)

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Phoenix Sky Harbor Debuts Modernized Terminal 3 (+Photos)

Phoenix Sky Harbor Debuts Modernized Terminal 3 (+Photos)
January 10
08:28 2019

PHOENIX – On January 7, 2019, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport [PHX] officially opened the second phase of a three-part reconstruction program of its Terminal 3, now known as the John S. McCain III Terminal.

On January 7, 2019, Phoenix Mayor Thelda Williams, Cindy McCain, members of the Phoenix City Council and other city leaders cut a ribbon to open the second component of the Terminal 3 Modernization Program.

Phoenix Mayor Thelda Williams, Cindy McCain, members of the Phoenix City Council and other city leaders cut a ribbon to open the second component of the Terminal 3 Modernization Program – a brand new South Concourse and remodelled terminal processor.

During the festivities, Phoenix Mayor Thelda Williams and other city leaders cut a ceremonial cake shaped like the South Concourse, complete with aircraft loading bridges.

The dedication of first phase of the project occurred in December 2016 and was covered here.

“The ongoing modernization of Terminal 3 is important to Phoenix’s largest economic driver – Sky Harbor”, said Mayor Thelda Williams.

This updated exterior photo of Terminal 3 clearly reflects its new name, the John S. McCain III Terminal, which was adopted by the Phoenix city council upon the Senator’s retirement in 2017.

“I am excited Terminal 3 will showcase some of our best local dining and retail options, along with public art installations and new amenities that will improve the travel experience for the millions of passengers who come through Sky Harbor every year,” she added.

As the first phase of the Terminal 3 Modernization Program, the South Concourse features remarkable views of Phoenix’s desert landscape and an abundance of natural lighting.

Delta is the largest airline user of Terminal 3. In this view, five “widgets” are parked at gates while a sixth taxis away for departure. Other carriers serving Terminal 3 include Frontier, Hawaiian, JetBlue, and Sun Country. (City of Phoenix Aviation Department photo)

The new, modern look aims to provide travellers with a more enjoyable and efficient travel experience.

In addition to the views and new shops and restaurants, travellers will also find access to power from nearly every seat, a new state-of-the-art Delta Sky Club, a children’s play area known as PHX Play-Viation Park and other amenities such as a nursing room, an Animal Relief Area, and public art installations.

In fact, the public art installations are quite special as they feature a colourful terrazzo floor by Arizona artist Teresa Villegas as well as Donald Lipski’s “Aviators” which are giant sunglasses on the wall of the arrivals atrium.

Felicita Mendoza, District 8 Councilwoman said, “With the innovative modernization of the Terminal 3 concourse, the traveling experience just became even easier and more enjoyable. I am thrilled that we continue to solidify Sky Harbor’s reputation as a first-class airport.”

The new South Concourse and terminal processor (a post-security lobby area) features 15 airline gates. Currently, there are 12 loading bridges and the remaining three gates will be used if needed for a hard stand operation. 

Once the North Concourse is complete and the Terminal 2 airlines move over, all 15 gates will be operational. The terminal contains all new shops, restaurants and customer amenities.

The South Concourse gate area features pleasing furniture and plenty of natural light.

Travellers will have the opportunity to shop at nationally-recognized brands like Johnston and Murphy and Sugarfina as well as find items with local flair at Best of the Valley and Travel Outfitters.

Foodies can also rejoice as Terminal 3 is bringing in many local favourites including famed chef Mark Tarbell’s Tavern, James Beard award winner Christopher Gross’ Christopher’s and other local favourites like The Parlor, SanTan Brewing Company and Mustache Pretzel, among others.

New stores and restaurants have also arrived at the Level 4 Lobby in Terminal 3, which is also known as the “Terminal Processor,” the first part of the refurbished terminal which opened in 2016.

The new retail and eating choices caused District 6 Councilman Sal DiCiccio to quip, “The toughest question airline passengers have to answer at Sky Harbor these days might be which incredible shop or restaurant they want to visit first.”

In this evening photo of Terminal 3 and the South Concourse, the rampside gate areas are clearly illuminated, and just to the right of the gate concourse is the PHX Sky Train station. PHX Sky Train serves Terminals 3 and 4, East Economy and the Valley Metro Rail Station at 44th/Washington. In the distance is Terminal 2, built in the 1960s and scheduled to close in 2020.  (City of Phoenix Aviation Department photo)

Terminal 3 currently serves Delta, Frontier, Hawaiian, JetBlue, and Sun Country. The project, which costs $590 million (in 2014 dollar figures), is paid for through airport revenues such as parking, concessions, and tenant fees.

No local tax dollars are used. In addition, the project, which is being completed in phases to minimize impacts to customers, has one additional phase remaining.

This includes the renovation of the North Concourse to add all new shops, restaurants and customer amenities. That phase is slated to be complete in 2020, at which time Terminal 2 will close.


Airways wishes to thank Heather J. Lissner of the City of Phoenix Aviation Department’s PR office for assisting with this article.

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About Author

Bill Hough

Bill Hough

Transportation Journalist and Planner, Photographer and Historian.

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