Sun Lakes Aero Club members hear about Mesa airport’s rapid growth.


By Gary Vacin 


Sun Lakes Aero Club members attending the group’s December 17 gathering heard how Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport became the nation’s most successful  military base to civilian airport conversion. 


          Guest speaker Patrick Oakley described the transformation from Williams Air Force Base’s closure in September 1993 to one of the nation’s fastest-growing hub airports today.  Oakley is community relations director for the airport.


          Oakley’s power-point presentation chronicled the airport’s rise as one of the state’s most spectacular economic success stories.  “Today the airport is home to more than 40 companies, including innovative aerospace businesses and some of America’s top brands in general aviation, “he said.


          The airport is home to three low-cost air carriers – Allegiant, Spirit, and Frontier.  Gateway is one of Spirit’s 49 destinations and among 77 airports served by Allegiant.  Frontier began service to Denver International Airport late last year.


Allegiant will begin non-stop flights to Honolulu International Airport later this month.


View IMG_4989.JPG in slide show


Patrick Oakley, community relations director for Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, was guest speaker at the Sun Lakes Aero Club’s December gathering.  Here he is shown with Bob Walch, club president, on left.


The Sun Lakes Aero Club sponsors programs on a wide range of aviation topics the third Monday of each month from November through April in the Sun Lakes Country Club Mirror Room. The public is invited to attend all programs.  Additional information is available on the club’s web site,, or by calling Bob Walch at 895-8869 or Gary Vacin at 298-7017.