This North Texas duo proves Love isn’t all you need

Business Traveler (USA) - - TAKE OFFS & LANDINGS - By Jerome Greer Chan­dler

As this piece gets set to go to press, the Amer­i­can Air­lines/ US Air­ways merger has just hit a ma­jor road­block with the US Jus­tice Depart­ment. The $11 bil­lion deal is not dead, but it is hardly the slam dunk it ap­peared to be in the days lead­ing up to the DOJ move.

If the deal does go through, doubt­less the epi­cen­ter of what would be the world’s largest air­line would be Dal­las/Fort Worth In­ter­na­tional Air­port.“The only ques­tion I have for DFW is how much up­side there will be,”says avi­a­tion con­sul­tant Mike Boyd, of Boyd Group In­ter­na­tional. Were the merger to be com­pleted,“there’s a good chance DFW will grow mon­strously.”

“We are con­fi­dent of our fu­ture path,” says David Ma­gaña, Dal­las/Fort Worth In­ter­na­tional’s se­nior man­ager of pub­lic af­fairs. He has rea­son to be.

Girth is Good

As big as the is­land of Man­hat­tan, DFW is a seven-run­way be­he­moth, in terms of take­offs and land­ings the third-busiest aero­drome on the con­ti­nent ac­cord­ing to Air­ports Coun­cil In­ter­na­tional - North Amer­ica. Amer­i­can and Amer­i­can Ea­gle dom­i­nate this 26.9-square-mile swath of prairie. It’s a place lots of fliers are fa­mil­iar with, even if they aren’t bound for Big D or nearby Fort Worth. That’s be­cause 58 per­cent of pas­sen­gers are con­nect­ing, just pass­ing through. While most of them con­nect on Amer­i­can, there’s a new kid on the block that’s been low­er­ing fares of late.

Self-pro­claimed“ul­tra-low fare”Spirit Air­lines is a bona fide player in the Metro­plex mix these days.“Peo­ple have missed the im­pli­ca­tion”of Spirit’s rapid growth at DFW, in­sists Boyd. Spirit flies to more than 20 des­ti­na­tions non­stop from Dal­las/Fort Worth – this as the na­tion’s de­fin­i­tive un­bun­dled (i.e., you pay for perks à la carte) air­line adds such busi­ness spots as Bal­ti­more/ Wash­ing­ton and Los An­ge­les to the list out of DFW.

In­ter­na­tion­ally, DFW is boom­ing. Amer­i­can just in­au­gu­rated non­stop Bo­gotá ser­vice. The move came atop the car­rier’s ini­ti­a­tion of non­stop Lima flights ear­lier in the year. DFW is but one of seven air­ports on the planet with 200plus di­rectly-ac­ces­si­ble des­ti­na­tions. A sig­nif­i­cant slice of those are in­ter­na­tional, and, says DFW ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent Phil Rit­ter,“We project we will add an­other 24 in­ter­na­tional routes over the next five years.”One of Amer­i­can’s spe­cial­ties is con­nect­ing Asian mar­kets with Latin Amer­ica. In no small fash­ion they’re do­ing it over Dal­las/Fort Worth.

Pleas­ing the more than 58 mil­lion who used DFW in 2012 are a le­gion of new places to eat, rest and re­lax. Lots of them re­side in Ter­mi­nal A, one of Amer­i­can’s prime launch pads. Phase One of a $2.3-bil­lion re­vamp of the mega­port’s four orig­i­nal ter­mi­nals is un­der way just now. The first fruits of that ef­fort is Ter­mi­nal A, where gates A8 through A16 have al­ready been ren­o­vated. Look for quintessen­tially Texas eater­ies such as The Salt Lick BBQ and Qdoba Mex­i­can Grill. The days of bland, ho­moge­nous cui­sine is all but ban­ished at this air­port.

Love It, Never Leave It

Mean­while, 19 miles dis­tant as the traf­fic crawls, at com­par­a­tively com­pact Dal­las Love Field, they’re close to putting the fin­ish­ing touches on the first ma­jor up­grade of the ter­mi­nal since the place was

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