Arizona's economic engine evolves to meet the needs of citizens, business and travellers.



Arizona’s largest and busiest airport, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is among the most frequented commercial airports in the United States.

Around 1,200 aircraft and more than 120,000 passengers arrive and depart each day, and the airport delivers $38-plus billion to the state economy and supports 58,000 jobs. Founded on rural land in 1935, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is now in the middle of America’s fastest growing major city. As an economic engine of Arizona, the airport is evolving to meet the needs of citizens, business and more than 45 million annual travellers. Investment in the $1 billion PHX Sky Train and a $590 million terminal modernisation program are just the beginning.

At a glance

  • Client
    City of Phoenix
  • Services
    Commercial Success
  • sector
  • Location
    Phoenix, United States

A gateway to global economies

We understand that Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is not just a place to help people get from A to B. It’s also an economic hub, a gateway to global economies and a dynamic investment attractor. With experience working on game-changing airport projects around the world, RLB’s team drew on a deep database of best practice benchmarks to ensure projects at Phoenix Sky Harbour were delivered on time and budget.

“As Phoenix Sky Harbour International Airport expands to accommodate 45 million passengers every year, the City of Phoenix is challenged to deliver projects that are efficient, cost-effective and great places for people. With fresh thinking and flawless execution, RLB was proud to support our client’s long-term vision.”
Scott Macpherson, Executive Vice President, RLB

As the independent cost consultant on parts of the PHX Sky Train and Terminal 3 modernisation projects, we used our skills to ensure our clients obtained the best value for money – and that every cent was directed at competitive solutions.

Riding the rails in a billion-dollar investment

The PHX Sky Train operates 24 hours a day, transporting passengers to and from airport terminals every three-to-five minutes. Just months after opening, the PHX Sky Train was carrying around 70,000 people a week. The automated train has reduced airport traffic by an estimated 20% - or roughly 20,000 vehicles – each day.

The first $625-million segment of the elevated train, which opened in 2013, connects Phoenix’s 44th Street/Washington station with Terminal 4, which serves 80% of Sky Harbor’s passengers.

The second segment, extending the train to Terminal 3, followed in 2014. RLB provided third-party review cost consulting for the $122 million extension between Terminal 4 and Terminal 3. A further $700 million, four-station extension connecting PHX Sky Train from Terminal 3 to the rental car center, is underway.

  • $1
    PHX Sky Train
  • 70,000
    passengers each week
  • 20
    reduction in vehicle traffic

The best results come from the best people

The final stage of the multi-year Terminal 3 modernisation program was complete in early 2020, when the renovated north concourse opened. The $590 million project includes a consolidated security checkpoint, brand new south concourse and renovated north concourse, both with restaurants and retail, enhanced customer amenities and stunning views of Phoenix’s desert landscape. RLB provided independent cost consulting services to validate cost projections submitted by the programming team and was proud to support Arizona’s top economic driver.

Bringing imagination to life

Our experienced team has worked on airport projects around the world, applying state-of-the-art technology and integrated systems to find new solutions to old problems. With passion and purpose, our people helped to shape the economic future of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and create a better tomorrow for millions of travellers.


Scott Macpherson
Scott Macpherson

Executive Vice President, North America