Fort Worth Alliance Airport
Fort Worth Alliance Airport
|Owner||City of Fort Worth|
|Serves||Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.|
|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, United States. 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 a southern regional hub for FedEx. 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.
Alliance Airport was an occasional source of friction between the cities of Dallas and Fort 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 Fort 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. Fort 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 Fort 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 Fort 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 Fort Worth politicians and civic leaders were seriously concerned that their support for Alliance could give Dallas grounds to countersue Fort 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 Fort 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 Fort Worth, accusing the city of a "double standard" in its simultaneous support for Alliance and opposition to expansion at Love. Lead Fort 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 Fort 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 $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 feet (2,500 m) and 9,600 feet (2,900 m) long, respectively.
Facilities and aircraft
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.
|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:
- Amazon Air (new hub opened on October 2, 2019)
- BNSF Railway (Alliance intermodal facility)
- Bell Helicopter Textron (customer acceptance center)
- Drug Enforcement Administration (aviation operations center)
- DynCorp International (main operations center)
- FedEx (southwest regional sorting hub; FedEx also operates from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport's east cargo facility)
- GDC Technics (aircraft modification company currently occupying the ex-American Airlines facility)
- Tarrant County College – Aviation Learning Center (2014)
Accidents and incidents
- 8 April 1992: A student pilot in a Cessna 150, registration number N67816, became lost during a nighttime solo cross-country flight and initiated an emergency landing at Alliance when the aircraft began losing power; the aircraft struck power lines and a tree on approach, causing substantial aircraft damage and minor injuries. The accident was attributed to fuel exhaustion caused by the pilot's failure to refuel the aircraft during an earlier intermediate stop; a factor was the pilot's inadvertent disorientation.
- 17 February 2001: A Piper PA-32, registration number N8355L, was on approach when propeller RPM suddenly increased and engine instruments indicated zero oil pressure. The aircraft lost power and was substantially damaged during the subsequent off-airport forced landing; one pilot suffered serious injuries, while a second pilot and two passengers suffered minor injuries. The accident was attributed to "the improper installation of the oil filter bypass valve by an unknown person, which resulted in the loss of engine oil and subsequent loss of total power during a normal descent. A contributing factor to the accident was the lack of suitable terrain for the forced landing."
- 29 May 2011: The owner-pilot and a flight instructor in a Eurocopter AS350 Écureuil, registration number N747CH, lost yaw control during low-altitude practice maneuvers with the hydraulic assist for the flight controls switched off. The aircraft crashed, rolled onto its side, and caught fire, and all three occupants suffered minor injuries. Investigators found that the manufacturer advised against attempting low-altitude, low-speed maneuvers without hydraulic assistance, as the aircraft could become very difficult to control. The accident was attributed to "The pilot's loss of control due to his not maintaining adequate airspeed and altitude during a simulated hydraulic flight control failure. Contributing to the accident was the flight instructor's inadequate supervision and delayed remedial response."
- FAA Airport Form 5010 for AFW PDF, effective 2007-12-20
- "Fort Worth Begins Construction of $25 Million Industrial Airport". The Journal Record. Dolan Media. 1988-06-17. ProQuest 259216187.
- Fort Worth opens multimodal airport Railway Age January 1990 page 21
- "Fort Worth Alliance Airport". Retrieved 2007-06-03.
- Cooper, William (10 May 1992). "Love Field controversy should now be shelved forever". The Dallas Morning News. Dallas, Texas.
- Zimmerman, Ann (6 November 1997). "Hypocritic oath - Minutes of a power brokers' meeting show that Fort Worth is guilty of what it accuses Dallas of doing--breaking an agreement over D/FW airport". Dallas Observer. Dallas, Texas.
- Baker, Max B. (2 October 1998). "Legend Airlines sues Fort Worth - City accused of double standard". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Fort Worth, Texas.
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."
- Lunsford, J. Lynn (22 February 1992). "Dallas officials concerned about proposed Alliance expansion - Questions coincide with possible new challenge to law limiting flights from Love Field". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Fort Worth, Texas.
- Lunsford, J. Lynn (26 February 1992). "Dallas backs expansion at Alliance". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Fort Worth, Texas.
- Gammage, Stefani; Camuto, Robert V. (9 April 1992). "Fort Worth sues Dallas over Airport Challenge D/FW pact in jeopardy, council says". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Fort Worth, Texas.
- Reed, Dan (7 May 1993). "Revolutionary idea brings Russians to Cowtown confab - Aeroflot seeks Alliance base, D/FW flights". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Fort Worth, Texas.
- Hunt, Dianna (30 October 1998). "Judge dismisses claims over Alliance Airport Legend can't countersue FW in Love battle". The Dallas Morning News. Dallas, Texas.
- Peppard, Alan (10 September 2004). "Best of weather for lunch". The Dallas Morning News. Dallas, Texas.
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).
- Dickson, Gordon (22 April 2018). "Will a longer runway at this Fort Worth airport help land more jobs?". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Fort Worth, Texas. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
- "Happy Anniversary Alliance". AOPA Pilot: 36. April 2015.
- "NTSB Aviation Accident Final Report FTW92FA107". National Transportation Safety Board. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
- "NTSB Aviation Accident Final Report FTW01LA068". National Transportation Safety Board. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
- "NTSB Aviation Accident Final Report CEN11FA359". National Transportation Safety Board. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
- Fort Worth Alliance Airport, official website
- Alliance Air Services
- FAA Airport Diagram (PDF), effective September 9, 2021
- Resources for this airport: