DFW International Airport Celebrates 40 Years of Service
40th Anniversary flight looks back, and heralds new era of growth and economic impact for Dallas and Fort Worth region
Dallas / Fort Worth International Airport today celebrated the 40th anniversary of the opening of the Airport, with a greeting ceremony for an arriving American Airlines flight from Little Rock, Arkansas. Today’s designated anniversary flight was greeted with a “shower of affection” water cannon salute and passengers were given yellow Texas roses, commemorating the greeting that DFW’s first arriving customers received.
On Sunday, January 13, 1974, the first flight into what was then called “DFW Regional Airport,” American Airlines flight #341, arrived just after midnight from Little Rock, on the final leg of a cross-country trip from New York City. On opening day, DFW Airport was served by 12 airlines and had three runways, three terminals, with 56 gates. The Airport today hosts 23 passenger airlines and has seven runways, five terminals and 155 gates.
“Forty years ago today, the first flight to arrive at DFW Airport launched a new era of economic prosperity and regional cooperation, and opened the Dallas/Fort Worth region to the world,” said Sean Donohue, chief executive officer of DFW Airport. “And although a great deal has changed at DFW and in the region since the Airport opened, what has remained is DFW’s role as an economic driver for the region and our ongoing commitment to providing the best airport experience possible for our customers.”
In its 40-year existence, DFW Airport has grown into one of the world’s preeminent global airport hubs, now serving 60 million passengers annually and consistently ranking among the world’s best large airports for customer service. DFW is now home to the world’s largest airline, American Airlines, and the Airport contributes more than $31 billion annually for the Dallas/Fort Worth region’s economy and supports 143,000 jobs in North Texas, according to a recent study by the University of North Texas Center for Economic Development and Research.
“The founders of DFW Airport had a big dream that it would serve as the foundation of our regional economy for decades,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said. “With that dream realized, the vision of those great Dallas and Fort Worth leaders has now become the basis of our goal to propel DFW into becoming the pre-eminent global hub in the world.”
“Because DFW Airport provides easy access to major global markets, it has helped attract major companies to the Dallas/Fort Worth region over the years, including American Airlines and AT&T,” said Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price. “There’s no question DFW’s impact has helped the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area become the fastest growing region in the United States.”
“American Airlines is proud to have served Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport for the past 40 years,” said Tim Skipworth, American’s Vice President of Airport Affairs & Facilities. “During this time, DFW has grown to become American’s largest hub, serving as a central gateway to our extensive international and domestic network. Today, American operates more than 800 daily flights to nearly 200 destinations worldwide from DFW. We look forward to continuing our partnership with DFW for many more years to come as we work together to provide a great travel experience for our customers.”
The original vision for DFW included acquiring a landmass of roughly 18,000 acres – larger than the island of Manhattan – between the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth, including 12,000 acres set aside for aviation use and 6,000 acres for aviation and logistics-related commercial development. DFW is currently working on the Terminal Renewal and Improvement Program (TRIP), a $2.3 billion dollar project to renew the Airport’s four original terminals.
DFW’s 40th Anniversary year promises more major milestone achievements to come, including the arrival of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) Orange Line, connecting the Airport to Dallas County via commuter light rail.
In 2014, DFW will also see its first scheduled passenger service to China, with American Airlines scheduled to start flights to Shanghai as well as Hong Kong, connecting the fastest growing region in the U.S. with the largest economy in the world. Two new airline carriers, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways, also plan to launch new flights this year to Abu Dhabi and Doha, respectively. In just over the past three years, DFW has added 10 new airlines and 20 new international destinations, marking the most successful period of air service expansion in the Airport’s history.
Today, DFW connects the North Texas region to five continents, and is one of only seven airports in the world with over 200 nonstop destinations. DFW customers can choose from 148 domestic destinations and service to 59 international cities. DFW also hosts 16 cargo carriers that import and export goods from around the globe, with cargo accounting for more than $16 billion of the Airport’s total of $31 billion in regional economic activity every year.
The Airport operates a world-class Fire Training and Research Center that has provided firefighters from 39 states and 31 countries with safety training. DFW is a leader and innovator in airfield operational and safety initiatives, and partners with federal agencies on advanced aviation safety and next generation air traffic control systems.
(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.