Aerospace & Defense

Mesa, AZ: A premier location for international aerospace, aviation, and defense companies.

Mesa offers:

  • 35-square-mile developing aerotropolis surrounding Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport
  • Advanced aerospace and defense manufacturing district surrounding Falcon Field Airport
  • Abundant, highly-skilled workforce
  • One of the nation’s strongest aerospace/defense clusters


Ranked a Top 10 State for
Aerospace Manufacturing

PwC 2019

Arizona is a leader in Aerospace and Defense with more than 1,250 companies in Arizona’s supply chain. Arizona’s A&D industry employees more than 54,000 people with a total annual payroll of $4.92 billion, and had $2.72 billion in total exports, $13.9 billion in total federal contracts, and $10.69 billion in Department of Defense contracts.

  • 2nd largest employment in guided missile and space vehicle manufacturing
  • 3rd largest aviation maintenance industry economic activity at $4.12 billion
  • 5th largest employment in aerospace and defense manufacturing
  • 6th largest employment in aviation maintenance
  • 8th largest recipient of Department of Defense spending
  • 11th largest exporter of A&D products in the nation

Source: Profile: Aerospace & Defense in Arizona 


Mesa hosts major facilities for some of the world’s top Aerospace and Defense companies.

  • The Boeing Company
  • Cessna, a Textron company
  • Northrop Grumman
  • Embraer
  • Nammo Talley
  • L3 Communications
  • Able Aerospace Services, a Textron company
  • Lockeed Martin
  • Allegiant Air
  • Aerocircular
  • Constant Aviation
  • AQST Space Systems
  • MD Helicopters
  • CAE Oxford Aviation Academy


Low / No Taxes – Arizona’s corporate and individual tax rates are among the lowest in the nation. Arizona has no franchise tax, no business inventory tax, and no estate tax. Mesa has no primary property tax.


City of Mesa Opportunity Zones are part of a federal program designed to spur investment by providing tax benefits to investors who hold their investment between five to ten years. Most of the Mesa Gateway Area sits within an Opportunity Zone.


Mesa Military Reuse Zone provides a number of tax incentives to businesses that locate at Gateway Airport and provide aviation or aerospace services, or engaged in manufacturing, assembling, or fabricating aviation or aerospace products. The incentives include a significant reduction in property taxes of up to 72.9% for up to five years for capital intensive companies, construction sales tax rebate, and job tax credits.


Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) #221 includes more than 2,200 acres surrounding the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. FTZ-qualified companies may bring merchandise into the U.S. and into the FTZ for the purpose of storage, repacking, display, assembly, or manufacturing and may be duty exempt (on re-exports), duty deferred (on imports), or have inverted tariffs, meaning imported inputs may have a lower tariff once manufactured into a finished product. Companies may qualify for up to a 72.9% reduction in state real and personal property taxes.



Arizona State University (ASU) is consistently ranked in the top 40 engineering programs in the country. Arizona's major institutions, including ASU, Embry Riddle University, Northern Arizona University, and University of Arizona, have been provided NASA Space Grants.

Arizona's numerous aerospace and aeronautical engineering programs include U.S. News and World Report's #1 rated Embry-Riddle Engineering program.

ASU’s Polytechnic School

  • Air Transportation Management
  • Engineering
  • Unmanned Aerial Systems
  • Professional Flight


  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Industrial Engineering

Chandler-Gilbert Community College

  • Aircraft Maintenance Technology

East Valley Institute of Technology

  • Aviation

UND, School of Aerospace Sciences

  • Phoenix Flight Training Center


Mesa boasts two airports: Mesa Falcon Field Airport and Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. Each offers a diverse portfolio of aerospace, defense, aviation and other high-tech industries, plus the operations to support those such as MRO, cargo and R&D activities. In addition, the Phoenix area is home to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, the 9th largest airport in the U.S. with over 1,200 daily flights.

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (PMGA) is the heart of the Mesa Gateway Area. PMGA, a convenient alternative to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, provides commercial service to nearly 50 destinations throughout the U.S. and Canada.

With three runways measuring 10,400, 10,200, and 9,300 feet, PMGA can accommodate the largest aircraft in the world. The Airport has on-site U.S. and Mexican customs services, an FAA-contract air traffic control tower, and various buildings and hundreds of acres available for development.

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport is a cost-effective, global business location for maintenance, repair, and aircraft overhaul companies. Companies such as Cessna, Embraer, Constant Aviation, Aerocircular, and Able Aerospace Services have chosen Gateway Airport because of its proximity to available labor, education facilities, and economic advantages. Businesses at Gateway Airport can take advantage of unique incentives and programs such as the Military Reuse Zone, Foreign Trade Zone, Opportunity Zone, or Private Activity Bonds.


Falcon Field Airport is consistently ranked among the top 5 most active general aviation airports in the U.S. with more than 260,000 operations annually. The airport has an FAA air traffic control tower and two runways of 5,100 and 3,800 feet to accommodate a wide variety of fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.

Falcon Field Airport has more than 100 aerospace and defense businesses on airport or adjacent to the airport including Boeing, Northrop Grumman, MD Helicopters, Mercury Mission Systems, Nammo Talley, AQST Space Systems, Serastar Technologies Corporation, Valkyrie Aero, and Van Horn Aviation.

Falcon Field Airport is ideal for aircraft components/systems manufacturing; aircraft/helicopter maintenance, repair and overhaul uses; aircraft restoration; aircraft testing; aircraft sales; corporate aviation departments; and fixed-base operators. In addition, with helipads and nearby desert areas for practice maneuvers, Falcon Field is especially suited for helicopter operations and manufacturing.

The airport has more than 40 acres available on-airport for aviation-related development with direct runway/taxiway access and is surrounded by six industrial parks with more than 1,000 acres of industrial-zoned land and 10 spec industrial buildings recently completed or under construction for a total of 526,000 square feet of space.



SkyBridge Arizona, located at Gateway Airport, is the nation’s first and only joint air cargo hub to house both U.S. and Mexican customs agents. The joint U.S.-Mexico customs inspection facility streamlines shipments to Mexico through the Unified Cargo Processing (UCP) Program by bypassing the international customs center in Mexico City. Shipments sent from SkyBridge Arizona go directly to their final destinations in Mexico, thus shortening delivery times. In some cases, companies can save up to two weeks in shipping time.

The $230 million SkyBridge Arizona project is also projected to add 6,400 direct jobs and 8,400 indirect jobs, as well as increase 2,000 cargo flights per year, reaching 10,000 by 2036. A 15-year build out plan includes water, sewer, and power expansions as well as water retention basins at Gateway Airport.

The 363.5-acre, mixed-used development will include 1.35 million square feet of aeronautical development, 2.19 million square feet of non-aeronautical development, and 270,000 square feet of commercial development. Moreover, it is expected to become a premier destination for auto parts and food processing, as well as an e-commerce business center, contributing a projected $3.8 billion to the gross regional product.


Elliot Road Technology Corridor, located in the northeastern portion of the Mesa Gateway Area, offers more than 1,000 acres of shovel-ready sites with robust infrastructure and a streamlined entitlement process – perfectly suited for technology companies, high-tech campuses, and data center operations. Apple Inc. recently located its $2 billion global command center in the Corridor. Also located in the Corridor are Niagara Bottling, EdgeCore's data center campus, and Dignity Health's Mesa General Hospital.


Pecos Advanced Manufacturing Zone, located in the southern portion of the Mesa Gateway Area, is within one of Mesa's Opportunity Zones and is well suited for large, heavy manufacturing operations. Major manufacturers such as CMC Steel, Bridgestone, FUJIFILM, CRM Rubber, ZF TRW, and Mitsubishi Gas Chemicals have operations in the zone due to the large amounts of available land and extensive infrastructure. The western portion of the zone also has rail access and sits within the EO Floating Zone, which provides an expedited entitlement process.


Ray Road Industrial Development Area, located in an Opportunity Zone, is a fast-developing industrial area at the north end of Gateway Airport with more than 10 buildings and one million square feet of industrial spec space announced or under construction, and additional land ready for development opportunities.


Falcon District has more than 60 acres available on Falcon Field Airport for aviation-related development with direct runway/taxiway access. Surrounding the airport six industrial parks with more than 1,000 acres of industrial-zoned land and 10 spec industrial buildings recently completed or under construction for a total of 526,000 square feet of manufacturing space. Much of the Falcon District sits within an Opportunity Zone.