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Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport’s new terminal prioritizes passenger experience and sustainability


Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport’s new terminal prioritizes passenger experience and sustainability

The $310 million addition includes eight new gates, and is set to open for passengers this summer.

By Malcolm Crumbley, Associate Editor | July 8, 2022
Phoenix Sky Harbor Terminal 4
Courtesy SmithGroup.

McCarthy Building Companies recently completed construction of the final concourse in Terminal 4 at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. The new concourse, designed by SmithGroup in partnership with Corgan, is located at the southwest corner of the terminal adjacent to the low D concourse.

For this specific terminal at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, this project was seen as a much needed investment for not only passengers, but the airport itself. Terminal 4 is the busiest at the airport and handles more than 80% of traffic annually. During peak periods, the terminal often reaches full capacity, and now the addition of eight new gates brings the Terminal 4’s gate total to 92.

Improving Airport Passenger Experience

The project team focused on implementing features to improve passenger experience while they wait for their flight. The gates provide a number of customer amenities, from charging stations at every seat to technologies designed to improve accessibility and comfort.

Other passenger experience features include:

  • 25,000 sf of shell spaces for retail
  • Food and beverage concessions
  • A 24,000-sf transfer bridge
  • Terminal processor improvements
  • Expansion of an existing security checkpoint
  • Additional ticket counters
  • New baggage handling systems

Going Green in the airport terminal 

The design team made sure this project was sustainable, as well. The terminal is currently pursuing LEED Silver certification through the U.S. Green Building Council. Approximately 14,000 sf of electrochromic glazing automatically tints the windows based on the exterior temperature and angle of the sun.

The team reused materials from old building foundations and slabs from the 1960s. The concrete was crushed and used onsite for backfill preventing the need for additional material import and the reinforcing steel was all recycled.  

The three-year construction for Terminal 4 began in May 2019 and continued through the pandemic while the airport was still in operation as a whole. Other noteworthy project details include:

  • 1.5 miles of baggage handling conveyor belts
  • 1,400 linear feet of jet fuel pipeline
  • Construction of four tunnels and two bridges. By building tunnel structures for baggage transfers, the team was able to remove the need for a costly additional basement structure.
  • 49.6 million lbs. of concrete; 1.9 million lbs. of rebar; 92,000 sf of exterior metal panel and 56,000 sf of terrazzo flooring

On the Building Team:
Owner and/or developer: City of Phoenix
Design architect: SmithGroup in partnership with Corgan
Architect of record: SmithGroup and Corgan
MEP engineer: mechanical and electrical SmithGroup/LSW Engineers; plumbing LSW Engineers
Structural engineer:  MKA
General contractor/construction manager: McCarthy

Phoenix Sky Harbor Terminal 4
Courtesy SmithGroup.
Phoenix Sky Harbor Terminal 4 int 2
Courtesy SmithGroup.
Phoenix Sky Harbor Terminal 4 int 3
Courtesy SmithGroup.


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