Falcon Field Airport Then And Now
Falcon Field in Northeast Mesa may be unlike any airport you'll come across. A general aviation airport owned and operated by the City of Mesa, Falcon Field is located at the heart of Arizona in the Phoenix metropolitan area, minutes away from hotels & luxury resorts, major league spring training baseball, outdoor recreation, entertainment, shopping, Arizona State University, and other metro area cities.
Falcon Field's roots go back before World War II with the founding of Southwest Airways by Hollywood producer Leland Hayward and pilot John H. "Jack" Connelly with funding from notable celebrities of the time like Henry Fonda, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, James Stewart and Hoagy Carmichael. It was supposed to be named Thunderbird Field III with the purpose to train Allied nations pilots; however, the British named after one of their birds. Several thousand pilots were trained here until the RAF installation was closed at the end of the war.
The City of Mesa purchased the field from the U.S. government for $1 and between 1945 and 1965, Falcon Field was leased out to industrial companies like Talley Defense Systems, Astro Rocket Inc., Rocket Power Inc. and others. It eventually became a civil airfield owned and operated by the city of Mesa. It is also the home of Airbase Arizona since 1976, which is one of the largest units in the Commemorative Air Force (CAF).
Falcon Field Airport hosts more than 100 businesses providing more than 1,400 jobs with a payroll of more than $104 million. Revenues generated at the airport are only used for airport expenses and capital improvement program projects. An Economic Benefit Analysis by the Arizona State University in its updated Airport Master Plan highlights Falcon Field's significant contributions to Mesa and the region:
-Over $2.2 million in daily economic benefits
-Over $811 million in annual economic benefits
-More jobs and annual economic benefit than any other general aviation airport in the Phoenix area, including Scottsdale, Chandler, and Phoenix-Deer Valley airports
-When the Boeing Company, located adjacent to Falcon Field, is included, the annual economic benefit increases to $6.8 billion.
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