06:26 AM

Open Skies is Here – DFW International Airport Celebrates New International Service, Showers Airplanes, Fetes Passengers

“Super Sunday” event marks new international service from British Airways, American Airlines and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

(DFW INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, TX – March 30, 2008) The Countdown Clock at www.dfwairport.com/openskies finally ticked down to zero, and the much-anticipated first flights under the international Open Skies agreement landed at DFW today. Arriving flights from London Heathrow and Amsterdam Schiphol were honored with a "shower of affection" by the Airport's Fire Department as they rolled to the gates, and arriving passengers enjoyed Dutch coffee, English tea, a giant windmill-shaped cake and entertainment from authentic Dutch klompendansers and British bagpipers.  

The day-long celebration commemorated the historic Open Skies Agreement between the United States and European Union, which begins this weekend. DFW hailed the historic event “Super Sunday,” inaugurating new international service to London Heathrow via American Airlines and British Airways and Amsterdam Schiphol via KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. The day also marks the single largest one-day expansion in international air service since the Airport opened in 1974.  

"For our international business and leisure travelers, it means more choices, more flights, more competitive fares," said Jeff Fegan, CEO of DFW International Airport. "As our international travel market continues to grow, we see even more growth and expansion as Open Skies truly opens up even more air travel for our local and connecting passengers. And for those who do not travel, there’s good news for you too. These new flights will mean hundreds of millions of new dollars for the North Texas economy that will create new opportunities for many businesses."  

First-flight arriving and departing passengers on American Airlines, British Airways and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines were treated to an international celebration of food and entertainment to mark the historic day. Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert, Fegan, DFW employees and community leaders greeted passengers as International Terminal D added two global destinations to its growing portfolio. Passengers also received Texas cowboy hats and travel mementos to commemorate the milestone day.  

“Our next steps as a community will involve turning these first connections into more and more avenues of growth," said Tom Leppert, Mayor of Dallas. "These flights present new opportunities for us to explore in a long and ongoing path of economic development, implementing new ideas and making old ones better. We now see that the North Texas region can and will be more heavily involved in international cooperation on medicine, on science, on business investments, and of course commerce, trade and tourism. And it all flows through DFW, one of the world’s great transportation centers, the hub that brings our area international investment and cooperation."  

"British Airways, American Airlines and KLM are making quite an investment and commitment to our region with these new flights and our Airport will do everything it can to make these new destinations a success," said Mike Moncrief, Mayor of Fort Worth. "Not only do we anticipate increased tourism from North Texas to Europe and beyond, we think new international tourists will be headed to Texas as a result of these great flights."  

After greeting arriving passengers, CEO Fegan presented airline representatives from American, British Airways and KLM with Texas flags that had been flown in their honor over the State Capitol in Austin.  

“Moving our DFW flight to focus our efforts in London at Heathrow will open up a world of connecting opportunities for our local customers on our Oneworld partners, including British Airways,” said Marilyn DeVoe, American Airlines vice president of the DFW hub. “We are pleased that the new Open Skies agreement has given us the opportunity to better serve our customers.”  

“We are proud to add DFW International Airport to our prestigious list of business partners,” said Peter Hartmann, CEO of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. “We look forward to providing the people of Dallas and Fort Worth a connection to Europe that gives them great service and freedom of choice.”  

“I am delighted this restriction has been removed, and look forward to seeing many customers from Dallas – Fort Worth flying with us and taking advantage of the global network of 100 onward connections we can offer from Heathrow and our new Terminal 5, “ Willie Walsh, CEO of British Airways. “Terminal 5 is a truly outstanding building, which will set standards for customer comfort and convenience far superior to anything else in Europe.” 

KLM travelers enjoyed authentic Dutch klompendansers, Dutch coffee, chocolates, a giant windmill cake and entertainment by a Dutch maid and Rembrandt characters. KLM’s new international service is estimated to add $125 million to the North Texas economy every year.  

The first departing Heathrow passengers on American Airlines and British Airways also received the royal treatment. English bagpipers and countryside dancers entertained throughout International Terminal D, and English teas and snacks were served. Departing first flights were bid goodbye by a Beatles cover band and characters dressed as Queen Elizabeth II and a Royal Guardsman.  

The Airport has designated 2008 as “The Year of the International Traveler” as DFW’s global destinations continue to grow. DFW was the first airport in the world to win a Open Skies flight - British Airways to London Heathrow - after the agreement awas signed last summer.  

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