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