In a Swift move, new FBO opens at PHX

 - October 3, 2007, 10:54 AM

The newly completed Swift Aviation Services (SAS) FBO at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) is up and running and welcoming large business jets beneath the massive canopy that covers 0.7 of an acre of ramp space near the west end of Runway 7R-25L.

At an open house early this month to formally dedicate the facility, Swift will show off its 18,654-sq-ft terminal building and three adjoining hangars offering a total of 83,320 sq ft for aircraft storage and 13,560 sq ft of office space available for lease.

The hangars are large enough to house a Boeing Business Jet. The ramp canopy features electrical power outlets in each supporting column to accommodate ground power units, which can keep aircraft cabin cooling systems running to cope with triple-digit summer temperatures. Its 28-foot-high metal canopy fully covers aircraft up to a Gulfstream IV.

According to Phil Gallegos and Lewis Kaplan of KG Architects, the FBO project’s design firm, the 175- by 180-foot (3l,500 sq ft) sheltered aircraft parking structure–the largest of its kind in the U.S.–is designed to exceed minimum code requirements for resisting uplift from winds that can reach near-hurricane force. A microburst spawned by a large thunderstorm caused considerable damage at Sky Harbor two summers ago.

Room and a View

Designed around a multi-story atrium that offers a full view of the airport, downtown Phoenix and Camelback Mountain, the terminal includes a pair of combination restroom, shower and changing suites and a 225-sq-ft business center. The multi-purpose pilot lounge and training complex provides a flight-planning room with weather information services. There, pilots can view electronic displays of real-time and forecast weather locally, nationally and worldwide. A large-screen TV and other recreational amenities beckon those pilots with no immediate need for the available nap rooms.

Swift’s resident concierge service is prepared to arrange not only rental/courtesy crew cars and lodging, but dining, entertainment and excursion reservations.
The Swift Aviation facility opened for business in March, a year after breaking ground on 19.4 acres directly west of the Cutter Aviation FBO on Sky Harbor’s southwest side. Swift and Cutter became the airport’s only two FBOs after Swift acquired Sawyer Aviation and GTA Aviation Services over the past four years.

SAS, one of three Phoenix area-based aviation operations owned by trucking magnate Jerry Moyes, was relocated from the southwest side of PHX’s north runway, 8-26, to make room for a taxiway extension. By moving, Swift gained not only considerably more ramp area and room to construct a state-of-the-art passenger terminal and office complex, but a more than 400-percent increase in hangar space available for maintenance.

A comprehensive line-service department makes available a range of fuels from the customary jet-A and 100LL avgas to mogas and diesel. Swift Aviation accepts ChevronTexaco, Air BP and AvFuel credit cards, as well as all major customer fuel contracts. Line services include ground handling equipment; aircraft washing and interior cleaning; catering with linen and dishwashing services; oxygen replenishment; and external power from both in-ground outlets and power carts.
Swift Aviation Group, the umbrella company of SAS and the launch customer for the Embraer Legacy, had accepted eight of its initial 25-airplane order as of last month.

Swift Aviation Group has conveyed seven of the executive version of the ERJ-135 regional airliner to end users. Five of the 13-passenger, 3,250-nm aircraft are managed and operated by Swift Air, the Part 135 charter operation that constitutes the third leg of the Swift aviation triad. Swift Aviation Group expects to take another 10 Legacies by year-end.

The Sky Harbor Swift Aviation facility meets current standards for both airside and landside security, according to Marlene Purswell, Swift’s director of customer services marketing. For employees and tenants, an internal card-access system is in place. Employees carry individually coded photo identification badges and are required to show two forms of identification bearing fingerprint and photo to enter the air operations area (AOA).

The terminal building is designed to minimize door openings, of which there are just three. Information on all entry and egress to and from the AOA is digitally transmitted to both Swift and Sky Harbor airport security offices through a fiber-optic conduit installed for airport-wide data and video communication. The Swift security guards and airport security personnel are automatically notified of any undocumented AOA entry.

Swift personnel are trained in procedures for charter and executive passenger screening and inspection. The Swift terminal contains provisions for electronic screening of passenger baggage if volume warrants. Flights calling for passenger screening have averaged five or six per month.

More Space, More Jobs

In parallel with the move and expansion, SAS has increased its  contract workforce from 12 to 15 and full-time personnel to 25.

SAS is an authorized service center for the Embraer Legacy, as well as Cessna, Honeywell, Pratt & Whitney Canada and Rolls-Royce. With the move to larger quarters, SAS is adding to its FAA repair-station certificate the Citation III, VII and X. Also added to the Swift ticket are 20- and 30-series Learjets (including the 12-year “midlife” inspection authorization) and the Dassault Falcon 10, 20 and 2000.
The company holds repair-station authorization for turbine engines including the Rolls-Royce AE3007 and Honeywell CFE738. Swift recently became a line-service center for the TFE731 series and is, according to Purswell, “the storefront for Honeywell in the Southwest.”