Get acCUSTOMed to More Service

By Sarah Ferrara

Aviation Planning and Outreach Coordinator

You don’t often see business jets painted all black parked at Scottsdale Airport. It’s not quite the color of choice for most jets based out of this scenic and sunny desert climate. But on one sunny afternoon, that’s just what was parked on the airport ramp. This particular Global Express aircraft had cleared customs after traveling from Russia more than 6,000 miles away.

It is one of the largest aircraft that can land at Scottsdale Airport just under the 100,000 pound weight limit. As you can imagine, these larger aircraft are state-of-the art. They can gain altitude higher and faster above neighborhoods, which mitigates the noise.

This scenario could become more familiar at Scottsdale Airport. The airport is working to expand customs service to every day and 10 hours a day.  Currently, customs service is provided five days a week from Thursday to Monday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. While visitors can request customs service after hours, there is an additional overtime fee and the chore of figuring out a flight plan that synchronizes with available customs service.

“People flying internationally especially for business want to clear customs efficiently and with good customer service,” says Aviation Director Gary Mascaro. “Leisure or business travelers don’t want to fly around limited customs hours or pay extra for overtime fees.”

The customs officer at Scottsdale Airport has been a friendly fixture for over seven years.  “He is a friendly face and our visitors are very happy with his service,” says Aviation Management Analyst Shannon Johnson, who manages the customs contract.

Implementing this service level is expected to increase customs use and bring more visitors from international locations.  An additional officer will be assigned to assist with the increased hours during the highest demand times.

With an updated process for over flights from southern destinations, some flights meeting the required criteria can register annually with the Customs and Border Protection Office to clear customs at a greater selection of airports, including Scottsdale Airport.  For example, travelers coming from Mexico can chose to clear customs at Scottsdale Airport rather than Tucson International Airport.

This is another draw for people to come to Scottsdale Airport.  This is important for the city and region as each landing brings economic benefit through customs fees, landing fees and fuel fees.  Of course that doesn’t include the benefit to the community at-large through indirect spending on hotels, restaurants, shopping and, of course, golf!

Expanded customs service is anticipated to begin early in 2014. Learn more about Scottsdale Airport at or subscribe to receive updates

Sarah Ferrara is Scottsdale Airport’s aviation planning and outreach coordinator. The city of Scottsdale is in the process of updating the airport’s master plan, which strategically plans for future aviation demands and infrastructure. It’s a comprehensive study evaluating several key areas including aviation forecasts, demand/capacity, facility requirements, airfield design and safety standards, development alternatives and environmental reviews on airport property. However, it does not include noise abatement or studies. Public participation and input is encouraged throughout the process. A public information workshop was held on Oct. 1. The next workshop will be held early in 2014. For questions, contact Scottsdale Airport at 480-312-8482.