Phoenix Councilwoman: Getting Coffee At Sky Harbor Is 'A Miserable Time'

Published: Wednesday, October 5, 2016 - 6:55pm
Updated: Thursday, October 6, 2016 - 3:34pm
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(Photo courtesy Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport)
In order to improve customer service, Sky Harbor Airport is looking to add "grab and go" food and drink locations at Terminal 4.

It’s so crowded around restaurants at Phoenix Sky Harbor’s busiest terminal that the airport is now working with the businesses to improve customer service.

Inside Terminal Four, airport leaders want to add four locations described as ‘grab and go’, small spaces at the beginning of the concourse where passengers could buy drinks and pre-packaged foods.

During Wednesday’s aviation subcommittee meeting, Councilwoman Thelda Williams expressed support for more options while sharing a recent experience.

“It was so packed you couldn’t get coffee,” she said. “It was a miserable time waiting to take a flight.”

If the full council approves, the “grab and go” locations will replace news racks which would move to other areas in Terminal Four. The four additional food and beverage locations are expected to generate more than $6 million in annual sales.

Based on industry standards Sky Harbor officials estimate the airport is short more than 41,000 square feet of food and beverage space. In 2015, the airport reported the average sales per enplaned passenger was $7.09 while Terminal 4’s food and beverage program racked up more than $132 million in total sales.

Airport staff will also work with restaurants to improve the way people wait in line and make sure they have enough employees working during peak periods.

The congestion around Terminal 4 restaurants is just one growth issue that Sky Harbor is facing. To address future demand, the Aviation Department will ask the city council to approve nearly $1 billion in new projects, including a new concourse at Terminal 4 and the extension of the Sky Train.

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