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 2008, 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, Swoop, and WestJet, and contributes $1.3 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.