Dallas/Fort Worth Regional Airport Takes Off (1973)

From the early days of commercial aviation, Dallas’s Love Field and Fort Worth’s Amon Carter Field competed with each other for air traffic, regional dominance, and federal funding. As early as the 1940s, however, efforts were made to consolidate resources and build a joint airport between the two cities. Dallas refused the original plan because the proposed site was marginally closer to Fort Worth’s city center. It was not until the federal government exerted pressure by refusing to grant funds that the two cities settled on a mutually agreeable site. The original proposed site spanned an area larger than Manhattan Island. The success of the new airport, which would soon become Dallas-Fort Worth International (DFW), depended heavily on highway infrastructure to provide a link to the two urban cores.

This advertisement was published in a special insert of the Dallas Morning News on September 23, 1973. The insert is filled with advertisements from local and national entities promoting the airport and a newly crafted regional identity of the “Southwest Megaplex.” The notion of a megaplex reinforced the idea that metropolitan growth, especially in Southern cities, was largely dependent on air infrastructure. A hub-and-spoke route system emerged after deregulation of the airline industry in 1979. This system allows airlines to coordinate incoming flights from small-city (spokes) to a centralized  airport (hub) where passengers would then make connections and fly out to other “spokes.” DFW quickly became connected to cities worldwide because of its status as a hub. The area surrounding the airport became a center for industrial and commercial development, contributing to the shift of the urban core of the region away from the former city centers and towards the airport itself, with arterial highways connecting the two.

 

PRINT

Ehrenberg, Ralph E., “Up in the Air in More Ways Than One: The Emergence of Aeronautical Charts in the United States.” In Cartographies of Travel and Navigation, James R. Akerman, ed. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2006.

Rose, Mark H., et al. The Best Transportation System in the World: Railroads, Trucks, Airlines, and American Public Policy in the Twentieth Century. Columbus: The Ohio State University Press, 2006.

Rust, Daniel L. Flying across America: The Airline Passenger Experience. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2009.

Solberg, Carl. Conquest of the Skies, A History of Commercial Aviation in America. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1979.

Young, David and Neal Callahan. Fill the Heavens with Commerce: Chicago Aviation, 1855-1926. Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 1981.

 

WEB

The U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission. “Born of Dreams, Inspired by Freedom.” http://www.centennialofflight.net/

“Dallas/Fort Worth Regional Airport Takes Off,” from Dallas Morning News, September 23, 1973, p. 46. Reprinted with permission of the Dallas Morning News