How COVID-19 crushed air travel at Sky Harbor

Michael Chow/The Republic

By Melissa Yeager | Arizona Republic

Air traffic controllers fired. The economic recession after the first Gulf War. The burst of the dot com bubble. MERS, SARS and, of course, the hijacking of aircraft on Sept. 11, 2001. After 40 years in the industry, Phoenix Sky Harbor Aviation Director James Bennett has endured almost every crisis to impact aviation.

But as Bennett prepares to retire at the end of October after five years leading Phoenix’s aviation services, he knows which one stands out as the worst.

“This period we’re in right now is probably a sum of all those previous events kind of rolled into one,” Bennett said.

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