09:55 AM

Delegation Promotes Qantas Route To DFW As Preeminent Entry Point Into the U.S.; Announces New Services To Streamline Customs For Australian Travelers

Fort Worth (Texas) Mayor Betsy Price, New CEO Sean Donohue Lead DFW Air Service Development Mission

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) officials and a delegation of civic and business leaders from Dallas and Fort Worth continued a week-long air service development mission to Australia promoting the Qantas-DFW route and announcing new services for Australians that will streamline the Customs process.

“At DFW we have been working diligently to streamline the Customs and Immigration process for our international customers,” said Sean Donohue, CEO, DFW Airport. “Our goal at DFW is for the vast majority of international arriving customers to clear Customs in less than 30 minutes.”

In October, DFW launched its Automated Passport Control (APC) system for U.S. and Canadian citizens, allowing travelers to interact with one of 30 kiosks for primary immigration screening. Beginning in May 2014, the service will be expanded to visa waiver countries, including Australia, and DFW will also add another 24 kiosks. In addition to this, DFW has established a dedicated APC lane for customers with no checked luggage.

“With 23 new nonstop international services and seven new international airlines beginning service at DFW in the last three years, including Qantas, our aim has been to make the international arrival experience beyond compare,” said Donohue. “DFW is easily the most convenient hub to connect to the rest of the United States, with over 100 natural connections for Qantas customers beyond DFW into U.S. markets, Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean.”

Besides the Automated Passport Control system, DFW is also engaged in a program with U.S. Customs to invest up to $3 million dollars (USD) to increase staffing hours for Customs officers to expedite the Customs process for international visitors.

The 14-member Delegation, led by Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, DFW Board Vice Chair Sam Coats, and new DFW CEO Sean Donohue, arrived in Sydney today, following three days in Western Australia to meet with government and business leaders in Perth and at the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) Conference.

The DFW delegation will conduct meetings in Sydney to support Qantas flights to DFW Airport, strengthen ties between the two regions, and promote the strategic attributes of the Airport and the North Texas region.

“The DFW region is the largest and fastest growing region in the United States,” said Mayor Price. “DFW Airport is strategically positioned as the gateway to the U.S., mid-continent, and has been a leading factor in our region’s diverse industry cluster, which includes aviation and aerospace, high technology, petroleum, chemical products and energy. There are endless possibilities for new trade and business ventures in Fort Worth and Dallas thanks to DFW Airport. So, we’re here to talk business with our partners with the goal to create jobs for both North Texas and Sydney.”

Other members of the delegation include representatives from the Dallas Regional Chamber, Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau and World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth, will meet with various government, business and civic leaders in Sydney including the U.S. Consulate, Sydney Airport, the American Chamber of Commerce in Sydney, and Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) leaders, as well as business and trade media.

“Qantas and DFW have responded to significant year-over-year demand and growth in the passenger and cargo traffic between Australia and North Texas with service expansion and route development,” said Donohue. “While in Sydney, the DFW Delegation will meet with key leaders in the travel trade and tourism industry regarding developments at DFW Airport supporting international customers.”

Australia is the sixth largest point of origin for visitors to Texas. With an annual growth of 40 percent, Australian tourism represents a growth market opportunity for Texas tourism businesses. Today, Dallas and Fort Worth receive close to 50,000 visitors a year from Australia spending over one quarter of their visit to the U.S. in the DFW region. Since Qantas service to DFW began in 2011, Australian arrivals to the U.S. have increased 6 percent a year, and are expected to continue at this pace through 2018, according to Travel Market Insights.

The regional economic impact of Qantas air service to DFW is estimated at $200 million annually. Conversely, American travel to Australia and particularly Sydney is expected to grow at a rate of 3.4 percent. Sydney represents more than 90 percent of U.S. travel to Australia. Last year American visitors spent more than $1.3 billion in Australia.

Qantas started its DFW route in 2011 with service four times a week and currently operates daily nonstop service. Additionally, DFW Airport is the home base for Qantas’ oneworld™ Alliance partner American Airlines and offers more connections than any other American hub worldwide.

“We’re extremely proud of DFW Airport and our North Texas region. It’s no wonder why people from Australia and across the globe look to Fort Worth and Dallas for the country’s best travel, cultural, fine arts, culinary, sporting and shopping experiences,” said Mayor Price. “Also, Texans have a growing interest in Sydney, which only adds to the synergies between American and Australian business. It’s a great match.”

The two regions share many similarities both culturally and geographically, including a Western culture of cowboys and stockmen, a love of country music in the 'outback' of each place, a reputation for being down to earth and friendly. Both are well known for their wide open spaces and everything being 'big.' Economically, Australia accounts for $2.9 billion in annual trade with Texas.

“The two regions are world leaders in aviation and aerospace, oil and gas, textile and information technology markets.” said Mayor Price. “As relationships between our regions expand, so does the number of travelers coming to North Texas. Although we’re half a world away, it’s those cultural ties and business relationships that will mean so much for both regions.”

DFW’s central location positions it as the premier mid-continent entry point into the United States and a key global hub, allowing for more efficient travel to both domestic and international destinations. DFW is located within four hours of every major city in the continental United States, Canada and Mexico. Developments and continual updates to the Airport have earned DFW recognition as the most hassle-free airport in the U.S. aided by its ease of entry.

Visitors from Australia can travel to the U.S. and stay visa free for up to 90 days. The same is true for U.S. citizens visiting Australia. As of last July, U.S. citizens can use Australia's SmartGate system – similar to the Automated Passport Control system at DFW Airport. Both systems offer trusted travelers expedient Customs clearance at both ends of their journey. The U.S. also has announced a Global Entry reciprocity agreement with Australia that would allow Australian citizens to participate in the U.S. Global Entry trusted traveler program. When implemented, Australians can enter the U.S. at a port of entry by using Global Entry kiosks in the Airport's arrivals hall.

“Our air service development mission to Australia establishes and expands on the many opportunities to strengthen the synergies between North Texas and Australia, especially in the growing energy and tourism sectors,” said Mayor Price. “North Texas’ economy outpaces the rest of the country, thanks to our excellent infrastructure, broad industry base and superb connectivity. We recognize similar economic growth in Australia and are excited to learn more about how we can best work together for mutual benefit.”

In its 40-year history, DFW Airport has grown into one of the world’s preeminent global hubs, now serving 60 million passengers annually and consistently ranking among the world’s best large airports for customer service. Customer-centric features such as free Wi-Fi, a yoga studio and newly-added lounges, eateries and entertainment choices for customers have kept DFW as a top choice for both business and leisure passengers.

The Airport is home to the world’s largest airline, American Airlines, and DFW contributes more than $31 billion annually for the Dallas/Fort Worth region’s economy, supporting 143,000 jobs in North Texas. This air service development mission marks DFW’s third trip to Australia, fostering relationships in support of the Qantas route between two of the world’s strongest economic regions.

Donohue took the helm at DFW in October, 2013, following a period as chief operating officer at Virgin Australia, and more than two decades as an executive with United Airlines.

(re)defining DFW International Airport
DFW International Airport’s $2.3 billion Terminal Renewal and Improvement Program (TRIP) is (re)defining first class for this global gateway. For the latest details regarding TRIP, log on to www.dfwairport.com/redefine.