Gov. Doug Ducey today announced that Arizona will be home to SkyBridge Arizona, the nation’s first international air cargo hub to house both Mexican and United States customs. The first-of-its-kind service, which will be operated out of Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, will enable e-commerce companies, manufacturers and other commercial interests conducting business in Mexico and throughout Latin America to more efficiently and cost-effectively transport goods between countries, while ensuring proper inspections and safety controls.
The project is expected to create 17,000 direct and indirect jobs and increase cargo flights out of Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport by 2,000 a year, eventually reaching 10,000 by 2036.
“The arrival of SkyBridge Arizona once again proves that our state is a national leader in advancing innovative new ideas,” Ducey said. “Arizona has forged an incredible relationship with our friends and neighbors in Mexico, and we’re very proud of this latest collaboration to enhance international trade and create more jobs for Arizonans.”
Historic agreements signed with United States Customs and Border Protection, Mexico’s Administracion General de Aduanas and Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport creates America’s first and only inland international air logistics and processing hub with Mexico.
“SkyBridge will truly change the way we conduct cross-border business, slashing delivery times for companies and ensuring safe transit, said SkyBridge CEO Ariel Picker. “This is true international cooperation and something we can all be proud of.”
The new services provided by SkyBridge Arizona at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport will allow users to send products anywhere in Mexico without having to go through the cumbersome and inefficient international customs center in Mexico City.
“Consumers in Latin America want the ability to purchase goods online and receive them the next day – SkyBridge Arizona will make that a reality,” said Mesa Mayor John Giles. “This project will transform Mesa into an international e-commerce hub, benefitting not only our city but also our state and the Arizona-Mexico region as a whole.”
The Unified Cargo Processing (UCP) Program – jointly operated by both U.S. and Mexico customs officers – seamlessly approves incoming and outgoing freight at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport bound for customers on either side of the U.S.-Mexico border. The UCP pilot program began last year in Nogales, Arizona and has been approved for air freight to SkyBridge Arizona.
All required documents, inspections, tracking and other services will occur on-site at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. The Customs Processing status will follow packages and cargo electronically to their final destination to any city in Mexico, and eventually further into Central and South America. The UCP Program will be operational at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport in the coming months.
“SkyBridge Arizona is a proven industry leader in global logistics and international cargo,” said Gilbert Mayor and PMGAA Board Chair Jenn Daniels. “We are confident that their success at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport will serve as a major economic catalyst for the region.”
SkyBridge Arizona follows an air freight trend line that is soaring. Growth of air freight between Arizona and Mexico has grown 30 percent per year, or 180 percent from 2011 to 2015, outpacing all other modes of transport. Air freight trade between Arizona and Mexico currently totals $390 million per year and is expected to balloon to $650 million by 2025. The state also outpaces all of its Southwest neighbors of California, New Mexico, Nevada and Texas, whose air freight traffic grew by just 10 percent during the same period.
“SkyBridge significantly changes the profile of Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport from a convenient regional transportation hub to a powerful economic engine that promises true regional growth during the next two decades – and beyond,” said Jose Pablo Martinez Buentello, SkyBridge Arizona project manager. “In short, SkyBridge Arizona is a ‘game-changer.’”
“Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Authority (PMGAA) conducted an extensive search to find a development partner with the vision, industry connections and resources to assist the Airport in reaching its ultimate potential. We are excited to have SkyBridge Arizona on the PMGAA team,” said PMGAA Executive Director/CEO J. Brian O’Neill.
SkyBridge Arizona will create a significant number of new jobs and capital investment in our communities,” said Sandra Watson, Arizona Commerce Authority president and CEO. “We thank SkyBridge, the federal agencies on both sides of the border and our local partners for their hard work and collaboration in bringing this project to life.”
SkyBridge Arizona by the numbers:
- 17,000 projected new direct and indirect jobs, with 10,000 directly related to SkyBridge and more than 2,400 in construction.
- Expected increase of 2,000 cargo flights per year, reaching 10,000 by 2036.
- $230 million, 360-acre commercial development.
- 2 million square feet of warehouse space.
- 1 million square feet of office space.
- 900,000 square feet of light industrial and flex space.
- 800,000 square feet of air cargo operations.
- 242-bed hotel.
- 100,000 square feet of retail and restaurants.
- 15-year build out plan includes infrastructure improvements around Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport including water, sewer and power expansions as well as water retention basins.