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Phoenix Sky Harbor pushing for second direct overseas flight

(Public Domain Photo)

PHOENIX — Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is looking to add a second direct flight to an overseas destination, an official said Friday.

“The airport has authorization to spend $2 million to help market a flight back and forth between an international destination and Phoenix,” Deb Ostreicher, the assistant aviation director for the city of Phoenix, said.

Ostriecher said the airport has not selected a route it wants to push airlines to add, but it has a shortlist.

“Tokyo, Frankfurt, Paris, Amsterdam — these are some of the cities people are coming back and forth between every single day,” she said.

Ostreicher said about 50 people fly between Phoenix and either Tokyo, London and Paris daily.

“Those are the kinds of numbers that get the airlines to take notice,” she said.

The primary reason Phoenix does not have more direct overseas flights is its location. It competes directly with Los Angeles International Airport — the second-busiest airport in the nation.

“Phoenix is growing,” CEO Rick Seaney said.

“It has a lot of local traffic that needs to go, but when you start talking about international flights, a lot of that is related to connecting traffic or huge metropolitan cities like Chicago, New York and Los Angeles.”

As of Friday, the only route that leaves Sky Harbor, crosses an ocean and lands in a foreign country is flown by British Airways to London’s Heathrow Airport.

Last year, the airline decided to add more daily London-Phoenix flights during the months of May and June.

Mayor Greg Stanton said he was excited for the new flights and expected his city will benefit economically.

“The current daily flight by British Airways adds $100 million to our economy each year, so this new flight is a welcome addition to that impact and another sign of the strength of our growing market,” he said in a press release announcing the new flights.

KTAR’s Jeremy Foster contributed to this report.

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