05:46 AM

DFW International Airport Salutes American Airlines’ Request for Non-Stop Service to Beijing

Historic first passenger flight from Texas to China would bolster strong economic, cultural ties; Flight could bring $120 million in annual economic impact to North Texas

DFW INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (July 20, 2006) - In a historic announcement that could bring two of the world’s most prolific high-tech economies together in a single airplane flight, American Airlines announced today that it will seek permission from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to begin non-stop service from DFW International Airport to Beijing, China.

The flight is estimated to bring more than $120 million to the North Texas economy every year if approved by the DOT this fall. The announcement was made in DFW’s International Terminal D, which celebrates its first anniversary this weekend. Community and chamber leaders from Dallas and Fort Worth as well as international business representatives and airport employees attended the announcement in the terminal’s North Ticket Hall, complete with a stirring performance by the Chin Woo Dance Team and its 75-foot dragon. Airport Ambassadors distributed fortune cookies that read “AA to Beijing From DFW Brings Good Fortune to All,” at the conclusion of the rousing ceremony.

“This flight would be one of the most historic flights and most high-profile routes in the 100-year history of aviation in North Texas,” said Jeff Fegan, CEO of DFW. “This flight would mean a new era in trade and business relationships and an unprecedented new wave of artistic and cultural exchange between Texas and China. It would create thousands of new jobs in our area and bolster the already robust cargo and manufacturing activities we have seen grow at DFW as a direct result of increased business with China. Imagine a Super Bowl, Stanley Cup or World Series in North Texas every year. That’s how big this flight would be to our region and our economy.” 

China is the number one trading partner with the North Texas region, with total trade reaching more than $13 billion in 2005. And China is second only to Mexico as the largest trading partner with the State of Texas, with more than $22 billion in imports and exports last year. 

DFW’s relationship with Asia and China in particular has been one of the highlights of the Airport’s business recovery post 9/11. DFW’s Asian cargo has grown almost 160 percent since 2001, and the Airport was recently named the Best Cargo Airport in the World by Air Cargo World Magazine and Cargo Airport of the Year by Air Cargo News. More than 75,000 metric tonnes of cargo will move between DFW and China this year alone. As a result, DFW has added two new cargo airlines that fly directly to China. China Cargo Airlines serves the Shanghai market and Air China Cargo serves the Beijing market. 

“A non-stop, 777 passenger flight on American Airlines from DFW to Beijing is a natural progression of DFW’s strength, experience and expertise in connecting North Texas to China,” said Kevin Cox, DFW’s Chief Operating Officer. “We believe this new service would also stimulate even more new international service for business and leisure travelers wanting to visit China and for Chinese business and leisure travelers coming here. And of course, the 2008 Olympics are in Beijing.”

DFW currently has more than 60 daily international flights to 36 destinations, with its international traffic growing 29 percent since 2003. In fact, DFW set an all-time record for international passengers in 2005 with 5.6 million travelers, and that record is expected to be surpassed this year. Beijing is among the top global markets currently not served from DFW with non-stop flights.

“North Texas is home to 22 Fortune 500 corporations and this will be a huge boost to their access and business,” said Dan Petty, CEO of the North Texas Commission, which promotes economic growth and regional cooperation. “We are going to urge every major business, every chamber, every citizen out there to demonstrate their support for this incredible opportunity. It’s vital for our region and the entire state.” 

The proposed new route would also make DFW the first gateway from the middle and southern United States to China. Currently, San Francisco International, Chicago O’Hare and Newark Liberty are the only U.S. airports with direct service. DFW’s Air Service Development team has worked closely with American Airlines planners to add the new service to the Airport’s impressive and growing international portfolio.

“This is the kind of global connectivity the visionaries of Dallas and Fort Worth dreamed of when they conceived DFW almost 40 years ago,” said Jan Collmer, Chairman of the DFW Board of Directors. “Texas needs direct service to China and there is no better place for it than DFW. Our brand new international terminal was built for just this type of flight. And with the strength of our hub, we can connect passengers from around the world and fly our own citizens to this incredible destination.”