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Dallas Fort Worth International Airport
If you fly with one of the American carriers such as Delta, or even with BA, you may find yourself stopping off at one of the largest and busiest airports en route to Orlando – Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. The journey via this airport is rather long as it can take over 10 hours for the first leg, plus the trip to Orlando on a domestic flight, so it is not to be undertaken by the faint hearted. However, we rather enjoy visiting different airports and find them exciting and something to be anticipated rather than dreaded, so, having located an extremely reasonably priced flight to Orlando with BA, we were not put off by the connection via this huge and fascinating airport. Our trip actually took us closer to 11 hours as we had unusually strong headwinds which slowed our aircraft down substantially. However, we enjoyed our sojourn at this airport and found that the time went quickly.
Dallas Fort Worth International Airport is the seventh busiest airport in the world, and nearly 60 million passengers passed through it in 2007. In terms of aircraft movements, it is the third busiest airport in the world, with nearly 685, 000 aircraft movements in 2007. It is the fourth largest airport in the world in terms of land area, as it covers over 18, 000 acres, and with seven runways it holds the record for having the most runways in the world. From Dallas Fort Worth you can travel to 135 domestic destinations and 38 international ones, and it is here that American Airlines has its main hub, with 800 daily departures. It was once the hub for Delta Airlines, but in 2005 they moved their main hub to Los Angeles International Airport in an attempt to save money, and avoid bankruptcy.
Fort Worth built the first municipal airport in 1927 at Meacham Field, whilst Dallas built its own airport at Love Field, having both declined to build a joint airport, wanting to maintain their separate identities. In 1953 Fort Worth built a new airport just 12 miles from Dallas Love Field, but it could not compete with the more successful Dallas Airport, and eventually almost abandoned the site. It was not until 1961 that the proposal for a joint site was reconsidered, and with Dallas Love Field needing to expand and having no room, the two cities finally decided on a site for a new regional airport, which was just north of the old abandoned Fort Worth Greater Southwest International Airport. The site was perfect as it was midway between the two cities. Construction of the new Dallas Fort Worth Airport began in 1969, and in 1973 Concorde landed at the airport to commemorate the airport’s completion. It was named Dallas Fort Worth Regional Airport and finally became Dallas Fort Worth International Airport in 1985.
At this time it was the largest and most expensive airport in the world, and American Airlines moved its HQ from New York to DFW in 1979, beginning flights to London in 1982. Although Delta, too, built up a domestic hub here it had to close it in 2004 when it was threatened with bankruptcy. In 1989 the airport authority announced plans to rebuild the existing terminals and to construct two new runways, and following a battle from environmentalists it continued to expand, opening its seventh runway in 1996. There are plans in place to build a new international terminal and an eighth runway.
Four of the runways are nearly 13, 500 ft long, and DFW maintains its position as the only airport in the world to have 4 paved runways longer than 13, 000 ft. In July 2005, a new International Terminal (D) was opened, and the same year a new passenger transit system was also opened, called ‘Skylink, ’ This is the world’s largest high speed airport train system and is totally automated. Trains run every few minutes at speeds of up to 35-37 mph, running on two tracks, which allows trains to travel in both directions at the same time.
Of course there are shops galore in this huge airport, with accessories and gifts, clothes, books and newspapers, electrical goods, duty free and tax free goods, electronics such as Apple, sports wear, and of course, Texas gifts. There are many eateries and a wide range of tastes are catered for, from American (TGI Friday’s) Asian, Mexican, Italian, or BBQ. Fast food outlets such as McDonalds, Burger King, Pizza Hut Express can also be found if time is short, and there are Delis and Bakeries selling desserts and snacks as well.
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