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McMahon: Come fly

PHOENIX — The first time I ever saw Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, I thought someone was playing a huge transportation joke on me.

It was the early 60s and there was a dinky tower and terminal one. It was also terminal only. To board a plane everyone always had to leave the building, walk across the hot tarmack and climb one of those moveable stairways.

That’s okay for the president and Air Force One, he has to turn around and wave. It’s acceptable at the Zagnut, Mont., Airport. But, even back then, Phoenix was a city and in mid-summer, walking to your flight seemed a little rural. No more.

This week, as we were reminded in Sunday’s Republic, Sky Harbor, the best airport name in the world, celebrated its 75th anniversary as an official part of the city of Phoenix. It serves more than 100,000 passengers a day.

Sky Harbor continues to grow, most dramatically with the new Phoenix Sky Train shuttle service. But help is necessary. That’s why Williams-Gateway in the East Valley is so necessary. This summer, my wife and I sampled the facility and Allegiant Airlines for the first time and were absolutely delighted with both. Freeways take any of us to Power Road in minutes, and Allegiant takes us to a surprising number of destinations non-stop. We really need that satellite airport, we need more international carriers. We need the $90 million a day Sky Harbor brings us. And this week we all need to gratefully say “Happy Anniversary, Sky Harbor.” Fly well.