Staffing shortages at Sky Harbor Airport continue even after 2 years

Sky Harbor Airport is experiencing serious staffing shortages, and they're impacting restaurants and more at the airport.
Published: Apr. 12, 2022 at 8:59 PM MST|Updated: Apr. 12, 2022 at 9:28 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Some shops and restaurants still sit empty at Sky Harbor, unable to open due to staffing shortages. This has been a problem for nearly two years now. At this point, it’s still unclear when there will be enough staff to reopen some businesses.

“The lines are longer for sure,” one traveler said.

“We were shocked. This is usually a busy area,” said the Yaholkovskys, who were traveling through Phoenix. The Yaholkovsky’s had a two-hour layover, so they wanted to get away from the crowds past security but came out on the other side only to find limited options. “It looks deserted. It doesn’t have a vibe of activity and energy,” they said.

“It looks like [this] because everyone is funneling to the same place, so you’re kind of forced to wait,” traveler Amy Hitchingham said. There are signs in Terminal Four that read: “Thank you in advance for your patience as we work to regain full team support during this time.”

Currently, six out of 28 units are closed in Terminal Three, and 13 units out of 87 are closed in Terminal Four. “You kind of just have to go with the flow and deal with it,” Hitchingham said.

But there has been some progress. An airport spokesperson says that so far, 290 people have been hired or moved forward in the application process since November of 2021. The airport holds job fairs, and companies like HMS Host handle hiring and staffing.

More options will soon be coming to the airport, as well. A new concourse will be opening this summer with restaurants like Pedal Haus Brewery and Chick-Fil-A as well as new shops such as a bookstore and pharmacy. Those jobs will be filled through separate hiring entities.

Passengers are saying they just hope staffing levels won’t keep any doors shut.

“Normally, Phoenix is alive so this is kind of strange,” the Yaholkovskys said.

The airport has job fairs planned for every month through at least August.