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PHOENIX-A long-awaited third runway at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport opened to traffic on Thursday.

The $175-million runway is expected to ease the logjam of traffic at the busy airport and reduce delays. Phoenix-based America West Airlines hopes the 7,800-foot runway will help the carrier improve its on-time performance.

Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport is considered the busiest two-runway airport in the world, with nearly 15,900 departures annually. The airport is the fifth busiest in the nation, behind O’Hare, Atlanta, Dallas/Ft. Worth and LAX.

The airport is a major hub for America West Airlines and Southwest Airlines.

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