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Dallas Fort Worth celebrates 50th anniversary – Business Traveller

Dallas Fort Worth International airport celebrates 50 years of operation this month.

A United Airlines flight was the first commercial service to land at the airport on 13 January, 1974 – although a dedication ceremony in September 1973 included the landing of an Air France Concorde aircraft.

The airport was the largest in the world when it opened as DFW Regional Airport, initially serving nine airlines across four terminals, three runways and 66 gates.

A total of 28 airlines now operate out of the airport, the largest being American Airlines which has its headquarters in Fort Worth.

Last year the carrier opened a $100 million catering facility at Dallas Fort Worth, the largest of its kind in the US at some 20,000 sqm.

American Airlines unveils catering facility at Dallas Fort Worth International

The airport welcomed an estimated 80 million passengers in 2023, with flights operating to 256 destinations worldwide.

It remains the world’s third largest airport by land area, and now has a total of seven runways and 171 gates, and a sixth terminal is set to break ground later this year.

A potted history of the airport’s key milestones over its 50 years of operation can be seen below.

Commenting on the news Mattie Parker, Mayor of Fort Worth, said:

“DFW Airport is key to what makes Fort Worth and North Texas excel among its peers. For the past 50 years, DFW has driven much of our economic growth and has ushered in a new generation of successful businesses that can easily reach across not only the country, but the entire world in hours.

“Many successful Fort Worth businesses chose to relocate to Fort Worth thanks to DFW, including our hometown airline, American Airlines. We look forward to welcoming every new business, resident, and visitor that DFW brings to Fort Worth with open arms and to what the next 50 years of connection brings.”

Dallas Fort Worth’s milestones

  • 1965 – Cities of Dallas and Fort Worth formed interim Board to plan and develop what would become DFW Regional Airport
  • 1973 – Concorde made first landing in U.S. at DFW Airport prior to opening
  • 1974 – Opened as DFW Regional Airport – four terminals, three runways, 66 gates
  • 1977 – Ranked as world’s third busiest airport
  • 1979 – American Airlines moved headquarters from New York to Fort Worth, TX
  • 1981 – American Airlines established DFW Airport as its first hub
  • 1983 – Opened fourth and fifth runways
  • 1985 – Renamed to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport
  • 1986 – Opened sixth runway and served more than 43 million passengers
  • 1989 – First commercial airport to host a space shuttle landing
  • 1992 – Initiated first environmental impact statement
  • 1994 – Two new control towers completed and Fire Training and Research Center opened
  • 1996 – Opened seventh runway; only airport in the world with seven runways at the time
  • 2000 – International cargo center and international perishable treatment facility opened
  • 2000 – New consolidated rent-a-car facility opened
  • 2005 – Terminal D, Skylink and Grand Hyatt opened
  • 2016 – Named Airports Council International’s “Best Large Airport in North America”
  • 2019 – Named Air Transport World’s “Airport of the Year”
  • 2020 – Earned U.N. Global Climate Action Award
  • 2021 – Terminal D South extension opened
  • 2022 – Terminal C “High C Gates” opened and DFW is again named Airports Council International’s “Best Large Airport in North America”
  • 2023 – Established new Use and Lease Agreement pre-approving capital projects, including rebuilding Terminal C and constructing new Terminal F

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