OKC VeloCity | Will Rogers World Airport continues to soar

Will Rogers World Airport continues to soar

By Chamber Staff / Development / July 17, 2018

Oklahoma City’s Will Rogers World Airport is continuing its growth as it provides increased travel options for Oklahoma City residents. In 2018, Oklahoma City launched several new nonstop flights, including four nonstop flights to new destinations. Most recently, Southwest Airlines announced that it will be expanding its Oklahoma City service with a new nonstop flight to Ronald Reagan Washington National (DCA) from Will Rogers World Airport beginning Nov. 4, 2018.

 “Attracting business or visitors to our market requires excellent air service,” said Roy Williams, president and CEO of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. “With our growing aerospace defense sector in particular, nonstop service to Washington Reagan has long been a demand we hear from our companies. And with the new convention center underway, shoring up our nonstop routes will make us even more successful in attracting meetings. Our service to major markets continues to improve and I anticipate this route being heavily supported by business travelers.”

American Airlines also recently launched two new nonstop flights to Philadelphia, which will increase Oklahoma City’s connecting options to the northeast and for transatlantic travel. Philadelphia is the second destination American has added to the Oklahoma City market in the last three months; in April, the carrier began nonstop service to Phoenix.

Low-fare carrier Frontier Airlines, which began service in Oklahoma City in November 2017, launched a nonstop flight to San Diego in April. Frontier also offers nonstop service to Denver and Orlando, and they will add seasonal nonstop service to San Antonio in August 2018. Frontier is one of the youngest fleets of commercial aircraft in the industry, and with nearly 200 new planes on order, the company is looking to expand. Will Rogers World Airport also welcomed a new carrier, Via Air, and its nonstop flight to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in January. The airport now serves 30 nonstop airports with an average of 72 daily departures.

Will Rogers World Airport is also investing in its amenities, with recent parking upgrades that allow customers to pay at kiosks or in credit-card-only exit lanes. The airport’s terminal expansion project, which will add four new airline gates, a centralized security checkpoint and more circulation space—is expected to go out for bid in September or October 2018.

“There is a dynamic relationship between the airport and the Oklahoma City community,” says Mark Kranenburg, director of airports. “As our community grows, so does air service. Air service then becomes a catalyst for developing business, attracting conventions, developing tourism, basically, growing our economy. The stronger our airport, the stronger our community.”

In addition to new flights and locations, a designated 1,000 acres located at Will Rogers World Airport is growing as a multi-use, multi-industry business development. Known as Lariat Landing, the development complements the airport’s core mission of operating a first-class transportation facility.

Two major projects at Lariat Landing are nearing completion. A grand opening of the new SkyWest maintenance hangar is being planned for late September. The 135,000-square-foot facility will serve as a regional maintenance facility for the airline’s Bombardier CRJ and Embraer 175 (E175) aircraft. The company plans to hire approximately 100 mechanics.

 Construction is nearly complete on FedEx’s 96,000-square-foot ground distribution and customer service facility. The facility includes customer service and sort operations, parking for vans and tractor-trailers and areas to perform minor repairs to its fleet of vehicles.

And most recently, Amazon.com announced plans to open its first fulfillment center in Oklahoma in Lariat Landing. The 600,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art center will create more than 1,500 jobs.

“There is a dynamic relationship between the airport and the Oklahoma City community,” says Mark Kranenburg, director of airports. “As our community grows, so does air service. Air service then becomes a catalyst for developing business, attracting conventions, developing tourism, basically, growing our economy. The stronger our airport, the stronger our community.”

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