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April 2022

Birdwatcher’s Report

Isn’t it fun to spot a special livery? Spotted here last month was Alaska Airline’s West Coast Wonders aircraft. This special design on the Boeing 737-9 MAX showcases the natural life of the Pacific Ocean and encourages everyone to practice sustainability.

Photo by Airside Superintendent Dustin Loftis.

Community Corner

Also spotted last month was our very own Amelia the Airplane at the Phoenix Elementary School’s 150th Anniversary Community Picnic. Here, Amelia, portrayed by Sylvia Mejia-Bivens, takes a photo with Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego. Airport volunteers were at the event to greet participants, share airport information, and provide attendees with additional information on available career opportunities at the airport.

Meet Rhonda Ramirez Phoenix General Manager for Southwest Airlines

In this issue, we’d like to introduce you to Rhonda Ramirez, Phoenix General Manager for Southwest Airlines. Rhonda has been with Southwest Airlines for 25 years and in her current role since October 2018.  After graduating from San Diego State University, she decided to apply for a job with Southwest after a dear friend from high school joined the Company. That friend is still a flight attendant today.

Rhonda began her career in Phoenix (PHX) as a Provisioning Auditor and quickly moved into Ground Operations as a Customer Service Agent. She moved into a variety of Leadership positions and has worked in multiple airports, including San Diego, Ontario, Cali. Burbank, and twice in Phoenix!

Rhonda says an interesting fun fact is that she started with Southwest in Phoenix on Oct. 1, 1996, and 22 years later, on Oct. 1, 2018, was promoted to the Phoenix General Manager position.

We asked her some questions about her experiences here in at PHX.

What’s a typical day like?

As the saying goes, every day is different. My position is to ensure our operation runs safely, reliably, and with hospitality at the forefront, and leading a very large team to make sure this happens. My job is to ensure we have processes in place to consistently monitor our performance and make adjustments to improve to continue Southwest’s mission of connecting our Customers to the people and places important in their lives. Working for such a large organization, we depend on so many different departments to run an efficient and reliable operation. Every day you can find me meeting with our Flight Operations, Inflight Operations, Technical Operations, our Customer Support and Services Teams, and People Department as we work together to continue making Southwest in Phoenix a top place to work, the best airline to fly, and a very strong part of the greater Phoenix community.

I typically start my day by reviewing my calendar and meeting schedules. Again, every day is different. I plan outside of those meeting hours to connect with every level of my Team in person. Visibility is a daily priority for me. On most days, I walk the concourses and the ramp to talk with Team members. This gives them the opportunity to share feedback or concerns. It also allows me to get to know my people better and of course I can observe our operation firsthand. The daily operation is dynamic, so throughout the day there are unexpected items that surface and need to be handled.

What do you hope to achieve here in PHX in the next year?

We are so excited to expand our footprint in PHX. We are looking forward to growing our operation by adding eight additional gates in the new 8th concourse and an expanded ticket counter space this summer. This will provide our Customers with improved amenities and our Employees will enjoy a fresh new space to provide our legendary Hospitality. We continue to grow our Southwest family with additional PHX co-hearts. We’ve already welcomed so many new team members and we will continue this effort so that we can continue to grow our operation in PHX. This is a top priority for our Team, and the company, and it is truly a Team effort.

What would you most like readers to know about your position or the operation?

We have an amazing Team of Employees that run a very dynamic operation. Our primary goal is to operate with Safety top of mind, while delivering reliable and hospitable service to our Customers. We continue adapting to the ever-changing dynamics of the pandemic and our top priority is offering a flight schedules for our Customers as well as doing everything we can to welcome more Customers to Southwest Airlines as they travel for business or leisure.

What is your favorite thing to do in Phoenix?

As a family, we enjoy anything related to sports, both professional and youth sports are common activities we attend together.

PHX is First in the Nation to Roll Out New Technology

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is proud to be the first airport in the nation that is providing travelers with the opportunity to show their driver’s license on their phone at the security checkpoint via the Apple Wallet. In collaboration with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Apple, the State of Arizona and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, this new technology innovation will make it easier for travelers at the security checkpoint.

Individuals with driver’s licenses or state IDs issued by the State of Arizona will be able to add a digital version of their license or ID to their Apple Wallet for TSA identity verification purposes. Then, they simply present their ID in Apple Wallet at the security checkpoint. This program is currently available at this time for TSA PreCheck customers only. It is available in Terminal 3 and at the B and D security checkpoints in Terminal 4.

Read more about this exciting initiative.

Terminal 4: All Checkpoints. All Gates.

Did you know that you can use any TSA security checkpoint in Terminal 4 to access any gate? The security wait times are posted on and on the in-terminal flight information screens. With more than 120,000 passengers traveling through the airport on a typical day, valuable time may be saved when utilizing a less-busy security checkpoint line.

Convenient post-security walkways let you travel to any gate without having to re-enter security.

Phoenix Sky Harbor Maintains High Bond Ratings

Moody’s Investors Service cited strong economic conditions and a robust tourism market in affirming an Aa3 rating to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport’s senior lien bonds and an A1 rating on junior lien bonds.

The ratings reflect strong management and provide the airport with access to lower interest rates when it sells bonds for airport improvements. Read more.

International Service Resuming at PHX

American Airlines Resumes Direct London Flight

On April 5, American Airlines resumed its direct Phoenix to London Heathrow flight. The flight had been put on pause since March of 2020 due to the pandemic. The flight is daily on a Boeing 777 with 273 seats. This is the second direct daily flight from Phoenix to London. British Airways resumed its direct flight in August 2021.

The Arizona Office of Tourism and Visit Phoenix joined airport staff to welcome the incoming passengers at the international arrivals greeting area. Staff greeted passengers, answered questions, gave away goodies and local guides.

American Airlines PHX to LHRPrior to the departure, American Airlines held a celebratory event at gate B23. Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego spoke at the event and welcomed back the service along with Director of Aviation Services Chad Makovsky and airline officials. The Mayor citied the International Economic Impact Study which details the more than $3 billion in economic impact that international flights have on the Valley and the estimated $140 million annual impact one direct flight from Europe alone can have.

Air Canada Adds Montreal

Air Canada will resume its direct Montreal flight May 3. This destination was served pre-pandemic but Air Canada is resuming the flight with some notable upgrades. The twice weekly flight will be operated year-round, not just seasonal. It will be served by Air Canada’s mainline product.

Prior to the departure, American Airlines held a celebratory event at gate B23. Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego spoke at the event and welcomed back the service along with Director of Aviation Services Chad Makovsky and airline officials. The Mayor citied the International Economic Impact Study which details the more than $3 billion in economic impact that international flights have on the Valley and the estimated $140 million annual impact one direct flight from Europe alone can have.


Flights to Frankfurt Resume in May

After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport looks forward to welcoming Condor Airlines back to Phoenix. Beginning May 21, Condor Airlines will resume its nonstop Phoenix-Frankfurt flight. Condor Airlines will operate the flight with a Boeing 767-300ER. It will be offered two days a week from May through September.

Save Your Place Reduce Your Wait

Spring has Sprung at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

Arizona’s Sonoran Desert, the most biologically diverse of North American deserts, is teeming with life! Not only does Arizona have plenty of sunshine, but it also has an abundance of unique plants and animals. Spring is the perfect time to visit and catch a glimpse of some of Arizona’s spectacular selection of flora and fauna.

Phoenix Airport Museum’s newest exhibition, Persistent Plants and Desert Dwellers, brings the outside in with an artistic look at the inexhaustible variety of Arizona’s plant and animal life. Located at Phoenix Sky Harbor’s Terminal 3, the exhibition features artworks by 21 artists that celebrate the natural wonders of the Arizona desert.

The exhibition is an inviting and colorful respite especially for travelers from colder climates who will appreciate the sunshiny artworks in Terminal 3 on level 4. Travelers can visit the exhibition in the post-security gallery while airport visitors without a flight ticket can see a sampling of works near the Sky Train portal. All the works are from the Phoenix Airport Museum’s collection. The exhibition is free to visit and viewable 24/7 through August 2022.

Representational and fanciful works abound. The diverse selection of artworks includes a realistic bronze tortoise family, an embroidered and appliqued art chair with butterflies and flowers, and large vibrant paintings of cactus blooms - to name a few. All the works are from the Phoenix Airport Museum’s collection.

An educational art activity can be downloaded from a QR code located in the gallery or found on the Museum’s website at

The Phoenix Airport Museum is one of the largest airport art museums in the U.S.  The museum includes an art collection of nearly 900 artworks, more than 40 exhibition spaces in six buildings and an Aviation History Collection.  For more information, visit

Phoenix Job Fairs May 3rd to June 7th and July 12th to August 2nd

We’re hiring! Our Job Fairs are continuing throughout the spring and summer months. Visit to learn more.