Fort Worth Alliance Airport
FAA airport diagram
|Owner||City of Fort Worth|
|Serves||Fort Worth, Texas|
|Hub for||FedEx Express|
|Elevation AMSL||723 ft / 220.4 m|
Fort Worth Alliance Airport (IATA: AFW, ICAO: KAFW, FAA LID: AFW) is a public airport 14 miles (23 km) north of the central business district of Fort Worth, Texas. The airport is owned by the City of Fort Worth and managed by Alliance Air Services, a subsidiary of Hillwood Development, and is the second largest airport facility in North Texas, behind only Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW).
Besides general aviation services, the airport serves as the southwest regional hub for FedEx Express. It formerly served as a maintenance hub for DFW-based American Airlines, until the bankruptcy filing and subsequent restructuring of its parent AMR Corporation.
Billed as the world's first purely industrial airport, it was developed in a joint venture between the City of Fort Worth, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the Hillwood Development Company, a real estate development company owned by Ross Perot, Jr.
The official groundbreaking ceremonies were held in July 1988, and the airport officially opened on December 14, 1989.
Alliance Airport was an occasional source of friction between the cities of Dallas and Ft. Worth prior to the repeal of Wright Amendment, which imposed long-distance flight restrictions at Dallas Love Field after non-compete clauses in the 1968 DFW Concurrent Bond Ordinance signed by Dallas and Ft. Worth failed to stop Southwest Airlines from beginning service from Love. The bond agreement prohibited both cities from offering municipal airport services that are "potentially competitive" with DFW. Ft. Worth officials long asserted that Alliance is not a direct competitor to DFW, as no attempt was ever made to initiate passenger service there, and the FedEx and American Airlines bases would never have been located at DFW instead.
In the early 1990s, factions in Dallas were calling for Wright Amendment restrictions to be lifted to enhance local airline service. On 21 February 1992, Dallas city leaders threatened to block a proposed $120 million expansion of Alliance, accusing Ft. Worth leaders of undermining support for other local airport projects; Dallas councilman Jerry Bartos, an influential repeal proponent, was accused of trying to make Alliance a negotiating point in his campaign to repeal the Wright Amendment. On 25 February, Dallas leaders dropped their objections when it became clear that the planned expansion would not jeopardize federal funding for other local airport projects. On 8 April, the city of Ft. Worth sued the City of Dallas, accusing Dallas leaders of violating the non-compete clause by scheduling a City Council vote on the Wright Amendment. The 1992 repeal proposal and lawsuit were later dropped after negotiations between the cities, but it was revealed in 1997 that, during a private meeting held on 11 May 1992, influential Ft. Worth politicians and civic leaders were seriously concerned that their support for Alliance could give Dallas grounds to countersue Ft. Worth for also violating the bond agreement.
In 1993, Russian flag carrier Aeroflot proposed opening a cargo base at Alliance as part of a proposed joint venture with the Perots to expand cargo operations at three airports in Russia. On 6 May 1993, a group of Russian officials negotiating for the proposal arrived at Alliance in an Ilyushin Il-96, the first U.S. visit by the new passenger jet.
In 1998, the Wright Amendment issue resurfaced when Ft. Worth and American Airlines sued Dallas, Continental Airlines, Continental Express, and Legend Airlines for supporting the Shelby Amendment, which lifted Wright Amendment restrictions on flights to Alabama, Kansas, and Mississippi. On 1 October 1998, Legend countersued Ft. Worth, accusing the city of a "double standard" in its simultaneous support for Alliance and opposition to expansion at Love. Lead Ft. Worth attorney Lee Kelly contested the accusations, saying that "neither passenger service, nor any other service, believed to be competitive with the services or interests of [DFW] currently exists [at Alliance]," while Ft. Worth mayor Kenneth Barr dismissed attacks on the all-cargo airport as "a bunch of nonsense." On 29 October 1998, State District Judge Bob McCoy dismissed the lawsuit on the grounds that Legend was not a party to the 1968 DFW bond agreement and thus lacked standing to sue.
A US $260 million runway and taxiway extension project was completed in April of 2018 to allow heavily loaded cargo aircraft to take off from either runway in hot and high Texas summer weather conditions and reach Europe unrefueled. The project had been under construction since 2003 and required the relocation of nearby sections of Farm to Market Road 156 and a BNSF Railway line. Runways 16R/34L and 16L/34R were previously 8,200 ft (2,499 m) and 9,600 ft (2,926 m) long respectively.
Fort Worth Alliance Airport covers an area of 1,198 acres (485 ha) and has two concrete runways: 16L/34R measuring 11,000 x 150 ft (3,353 × 46 m) and 16R/34L measuring 11,010 × 150 ft (3,356 × 46 m).
For the year ending May 31, 2017, the airport had 112,326 aircraft operations, averaging 308 per day: 75% general aviation, 7% air carrier, 13% military, and 5% air taxi. At that time there were 26 aircraft based at this airport: 2 single-engine, 7 multi-engine, 8 jet and 9 helicopter.
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|Cargo destinations map|
American Airlines was previously the largest tenant at the airport, operating a major maintenance base which closed in December 2012 as part of AMR's Chapter 11 reorganization. Current major tenants include:
Fort Worth City Councilman Jim Lane also said Fed Ex and the American Airlines facilities would not have been built at D/FW Airport, even if Alliance didn't exist. "They are completely different matters. We are not trying to fly passengers out of Alliance and we've lived up to all of our obligations," Barr said. "It is a sign of how desperate they [Legend Airlines] are."
Actress Heather Locklear will be on to talk about her new NBC airport drama, LAX, which shot its pilot in the Dallas/Fort Worth area (with Alliance Airport impersonating LAX).