August 16, 2022
Today in Aviation: First Commercial Flight at Dallas/Fort Worth
Today in Aviation

Today in Aviation: First Commercial Flight at Dallas/Fort Worth

DALLAS – Today in Aviation, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) welcomed its first commercial flights in 1974, four months after its inauguration. The first flight to use the brand new facility was American Airlines (AA) flight 341 from New York via Memphis and Little Rock.

Dallas has had an airport, Love Field, since 1917 while neighboring Fort Worth opened its Municipal Airport in 1925. In 1927, Dallas officials proposed a joint facility with Fort Worth, constructed somewhere in the middle to serve both cities. However, Fort Worth refused the offer, and both continued to use their own airfields.

American’s First Boeing 777-300ER, N171AN, seen at DFW Gate D-23, the day of departure of the inaugural flight in 2016. It signified the birth of a new airline. Photo: Chris Sloan/Airways

DFW is Born

The joint venture was examined again in 1961 after the FAA refused to invest more money in the individual airports. In 1964, the federal government demanded that the two cities agree on where to place the new airport. If the airports couldn’t agree, it would do it for them.

Construction of DFW Regional Airport began in earnest in 1969. An opening ceremony was held between September 20-23, 1973. This saw the first arrival of the supersonic Concorde in the USA. An Air France (AF) jet, flying from Caracas to Paris, touched down especially for the ceremony.

Concorde would later serve DFW regularly from Washington Dulles (IAD) between January 1979 and June 1980. Braniff International Airways (BN) utilised British Airways (BA) and AF supersonic jets.

The name was changed from DFW ‘Regional’ to DFW ‘International’ in 1985.

AA currently holds approximately 84% of the market share at DFW. Here one of the carriers Boeing 767-300ERs touches down after a flight from Paris (CDG). (Photo: Grant Wickes from Plano, TX (Dallas), USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

American Airlines Hub

American Airlines (AA), the airport’s biggest operator, opened its first hub at the airport on June 11, 1981. Indeed, AA’s DFW operation is the second biggest airline hub globally, just behind Delta Air Line’s (DL) operation in Atlanta (ATL).

Pre-pandemic plans were afoot to build a sixth terminal to serve AA. But these plans have temporarily been put on hold. In 2019, the airport was the fourth-busiest in the world and the second busiest in the United States.

Featured image: DFW covers more than 26.9 square miles. (Photo: Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons)

Writer, aviation fanatic, plant geek and part-time Flight Attendant for a UK based airline. Based in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

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