Jeff Fegan considers 2005 the most significant in his 21 years at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.
The president and chief executive of the world's third-busiest airport found himself in the middle of a political battle to fight off attempts to repeal the Wright Amendment, which limits commercial flights from Dallas Love Field to nearby states. D/FW lost when Missouri was exempted but won by keeping the rest of the law intact.
D/FW saw its second-largest tenant, Delta Air Lines, close its hub in 2005 because of tough financial times.
And after five years, the airport completed a $2.1 billion construction project and opened its new international terminal, an automated light-rail system that connects all five terminals and an upscale Grand Hyatt hotel.
"I would say this year was probably the most incredible year we've had from a performance standpoint and at the same time the most challenging year primarily because of the energy and effort required to educate everyone in terms of the Wright Amendment," Fegan said.
Fort Worth-based American Airlines, the airport's largest tenant, boosted service much of the year before cutting back later in the year because of rising fuel costs and the change in the Wright Amendment. And despite offering major incentives, D/FW was unable to attract carriers to take over gates abandoned by Delta.
When it's all said and done, D/FW ends 2005 with a relatively flat year for passenger traffic, Fegan said.
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