PHX Sky Train
Phoenix-Sky Train 1.JPG
PHX Sky Train
TypePeople mover
LocalePhoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Phoenix, Arizona
Termini44th St/Washington
Terminal 3 (December 8, 2014)
Rental Car Center (2020)
Stations4 (December 8, 2014)
5 (2020)
OpenedApril 8, 2013 (Phase 1)
December 8, 2014 (Phase 1A)
OwnerCity of Phoenix Aviation Department
Operator(s)Bombardier Transportation
CharacterServes non-sterile parts of the airport
Rolling stock18 Bombardier Innovia APM 200 vehicles
Highest elevation100 feet (30 m)
Route map

Rental Car Center
Terminal 2
via walkway
Terminal 3
Terminal 4
East Economy Parking
44th Street/Washington Valley Metro Rail

The PHX Sky Train is a free, 24-hour electric people mover at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, Arizona. [1] The first segment opened to the public on April 8, 2013.[2] The second segment, extending the train to Terminal 3 (with a walkway to Terminal 2) opened on December 8, 2014 [3]

The PHX Sky Train is gradually replacing shuttle buses, which is expected to reduce road congestion, pollution, lifting of baggage onto and off of buses, bus noises, and pitting and buckling of roadways caused by the heavy buses. Inter-terminal shuttle bus service was discontinued on January 15, 2015, however, the rental car shuttle buses still remain in service. The final segment of the PHX Sky Train, which will extend service to the Rental Car Center, is planned by 2020. This extension should allow for the replacement of the rental car shuttle bus service.

The PHX Sky Train features a 100-foot-tall (30 m) bridge over Taxiway R, one of three which connect the north and south runways. This is the first location in the world where a rail system of any kind crosses over an active taxiway.[4][5] The bridge is tall enough to accommodate a Boeing 747 and an Airbus A380.



Phase 1a construction as of May 2013, viewed from Terminal 4 to T3. The concrete guideway, largely complete, dives under Taxiways S and T, then rises to enter the skeleton of the T3 station

Phase 1 (Dec 2008 – Apr 2013) links Terminal 4, the East Economy Parking lot and garages, and the 44th St/Washington Valley Metro light rail station. The guideway runs in a new underpass (below the Union Pacific railroad), past the jet-fuel tank farm, and alongside 44th Street.

Estimated cost was just over $1 billion in 2005. The PHX Sky Train Phase 1 was completed April 8, 2013.

Phase 1a (see picture) which connects Terminal 4 and Terminal 3 (and Terminal 2 via a covered walkway) opened December 8, 2014. Since the airport's long term plans call for the demolition of Terminal 2, a stop at Terminal 2 will not be built.


The final segment, phase 2 – from T3 to the Rental Car Center – should be complete by 2020.[6] Funding was approved Oct. 2016[7] View a conceptual flyover video here[8]

Passenger services

All facilities, from the hotel sidewalks, to the Valley Metro Rail station, to the terminals are "at grade", which means that baggage, strollers, and wheelchairs need not be lifted into and out of vehicles; they are rolled on and off. To get from one level to another, elevators and escalators are provided. Numerous curb cuts are provided at street level for wheelchairs and such. This "at grade" concept continues from the hotels, to the street, to the stations, to the train, and indeed to the boarding gates of the aircraft. Such was never possible with the buses.

Free baggage check-in to one's final destination is available for Southwest and US Airways (later American Airlines) by personnel at the 44th Street/Washington station and the East Economy Garage station. Once checked, the baggage is delivered in locked containers to the internal baggage-handling systems at Terminal 4. Delivery of the baggage is via secured shuttle-trucks that run approximately every eight minutes. This reduces curbside congestion and queuing for baggage check-in on the T4 sidewalks.

Boarding passes for American Airlines, British Airways, Air Canada, and WestJet can be printed from self-serve kiosks at the 44th Street station and the East Economy station.

Passenger drop-off areas are available at the 44th Street station, as well as a "cellphone lot" for those who are picking up passengers.

A system of air-conditioned escalators and moving walkways connects the 44th Street station to Valley Metro Rail and three Valley Metro city bus lines (the 1-Washington, serving Downtown Phoenix and the Arizona State Capitol; the 32–32nd St/40th St, serving stops south along 40th St and then along Baseline Rd such as The Arizona Grand Hotel and Arizona Mills Mall, as well as stops north along 32nd St, up to Arizona Biltmore; and 44–44th St/Tatum Blvd, serving points north along 44th Street and eventually the affluent enclave of Paradise Valley and Paradise Valley Mall, located a few miles north).

Two hotels are immediately adjacent (approximately 50 yards) to the 44th Street station. One is an Aloft Hotel, and the other is the Phoenix Airport Plaza Hotel (formerly Coast Hotel, formerly Crowne Plaza).

The Pueblo Grande Museum, a pre-Columbian (Hohokam) archaeological site operated by the City of Phoenix, is located on the southeast corner of 44th Street and Washington.

Bike racks and bike lockers are available at the 44th Street station.

Animals can visit the Park 'n' Play in the northwest corner of the 44th Street station, or they can visit the Park & Bark near the East Economy Garages (as well as T2, T3, and T4).[9]


Three months after opening, the PHX Sky Train carried about 70,000 people per week—over 40% higher than the design estimates of about 48,000. The busiest days are Thursday and Friday. The busiest times are 5am-8am and noon-3pm [10] In March, 2016, average daily ridership was 15,940.[11]

Cumulative ridership hit 1 million in 2013. It hit 10 million in 2015. [12]

Rolling stock

Rolling stock consists of Bombardier Innovia APM 200 vehicles, being Bombardier's second installation in the United States for such model (after the Skylink APM at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport), and third installation worldwide (after DFW's Skylink APM and the Terminal 5 APM at London Heathrow International Airport.)

The new INNOVIA APM system is designed to carry 3,300 passengers per hour per direction. It will operate 24 hours a day with trains running continuously in both directions and arriving as frequently as every three minutes. The average speed of the trains will be 23 mph but speeds up to 38 mph can be achieved. The journey time from the 44th Street Station to Terminal 4 is five minutes plus an additional two minutes to reach Terminal 3.[13]

As of April 2013, there are 18 cars in service, generally operating as six 3-car trainsets, although 2-car trainsets are in use during off-peak times.

Image gallery

Different views of the PHX Sky Train and terminal.


  1. ^ City of Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. "The Automated Train".
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  5. ^ Buchholz, Jan (June 4, 2010). "Phx Sky Train taking flight at Sky Harbor airport". Phoenix Business Journal. Retrieved June 6, 2010.
  6. ^ Staff writer (June 16, 2011). "PHX Sky Train to be completed six years early". KTAR-FM. Archived from the original on June 18, 2011. Retrieved June 16, 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
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  10. ^ The Arizona Republic, July 14, 2013, page B5, "Officials: PHX Sky Train may top use estimates
  11. ^ "Phoenix Sky Harbor Sets Another Passenger Record". Retrieved July 19, 2016.
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External links

  • PHX Sky Train, Sky Harbor International Airport, Phoenix