Sky Train officially open for travelers

April 08, 2013

The Sky Train is now open. The automated, free airport transportation system is running through Sky Harbor International Airport from Terminal 4 to the Metro Light Rail stop.

Sky Train Terminal 4 Platform The Sky Train takes travelers from Terminal 4 to the East Economy Parking lot and to the 44th Street and Washington Light Rail train. (Photo by Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez - KJZZ)

Airport travelers on the Terminal 4 Sky Train platform waited eagerly Monday to board the new system. The train transported them to the 44th and Washington light rail stop.

It’s not only a quick four-minute ride, it's also a scenic trip and picturesque view of the Valley. On its way in and out of the terminal, the train line bridge rises 95 feet above an airplane taxiway, making it the first mass transit system in the world to cross over an active taxiway.

The Sky Train takes travelers from Terminal 4 to the East Economy Parking lot and to the 44th Street and Washington light rail in less than five minutes. Valley residents and travelers were invited to use the new system on opening day.

Kenya and Ceeon Smith just got home from a trip and said the Sky Train is an asset for the Valley.  

"I think it’s gonna make Phoenix more competitive with other similar size markets and their airports. So, I think it’s a definite step in the right direction," Kenya Smith said.

"It’s gonna be an enhancement to the light rail," Ceeon Smith said.

Airport travelers were not the only visitors using the new airport Sky Train on Monday. Curious Valley residents also visited the automated airport transportation system at Sky Harbor International Airport.

Glenn Diller said he wouldn’t miss this new airport phase for the world. An 87-year-old Arizona native Diller, says he’s seen every new addition of the airport since he was a child.

"(I) got my first bike in 1935. I peddled all the way out here, I spent a lot of my weekends here at the airport watching what was going on," Diller said. "I watched the airport grow."

He said his father brought him out here to witness the opening of Sky Harbor. Diller said this opening day is just as special.

"It was a neat ride, (of) course I was busy looking out the window at everything that I hadn’t seen from that angle before, and I wanted to see the bridge over where the airplanes go under," Diller said.

This is the first phase of a $1.5 billion project, and city officials say the next phase will be to extend the train to Terminal 3 by 2015.