History and Mission


The former Williams Air Force Base played a strategic role in America's aviation history. Over a span of 52 years, more than 26,500 men and women earned their wings at Williams. Gearing up for the combat pilot demands of World War II, the Army Air Corps broke ground in Southeast Mesa, Arizona for its Advanced Flying School on July 16, 1941.

Williams Air Force Base 1954

In February 1942, the growing military base's name was changed to Williams Field to honor Charles Linton Williams, an Arizona-born pilot. The facility was re-designated as Williams Air Force Base (WAFB) in January 1948. WAFB was the U.S. Air Force's foremost pilot training facility, graduating more student pilots and instructors than any other base in the country and supplying 25 percent of the Air Force's pilots annually.

The Base was closed in 1993 and officially reopened as Williams Gateway Airport in March 1994. In 2007, the name of the Airport was changed to Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.


Today, Gateway hosts more than 40 companies, serves more than 45 cities with non-stop service via Allegiant and Sun Country Airlines, and contributes $1.8 billion annually to the Arizona economy. Gateway is also developing as an international aerospace center with aircraft maintenance, modification, testing, and pilot training. In addition to the area's skilled labor force, excellent year-round flying weather, three expansive runways averaging 10,000 feet, and access to international markets, Gateway's assets make it a prime location for global-minded companies. Gateway has been designated as Foreign Trade Zone #221, as well as a Military Reuse Zone, offering aviation companies a significant financial edge in the global marketplace.

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Authority (PMGAA) owns and operates the Airport. PMGAA currently consists of the following:

Member Governments

PMGAA's mission is "Strive to be the airport that air travelers choose, airlines prefer, and a growing number of businesses call home. We will provide exceptional customer service while operating Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport in a safe, secure, efficient, and fiscally-responsible manner."


Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Authority has recently completed an update to its Airport Master Plan. This Plan will serve as a guide for the airport’s growth in the next 10-20 years. The original airport master plan was completed in 1994 and updated in 1999 and 2008. This process was completed after a year of study and stakeholder involvement. You can see the completed plan here.