Historically, one of D/FW's chief problems in attracting flights to Europe and Asia has been geography. Flights from either coast are shorter, making service to cities like New York and San Francisco easier.
Even today, of the top 10 airports for international service, only three -- Chicago, Houston and D/FW -- are in the nation's center.
D/FW does have one geographic advantage, and that's on flights to Latin America. But the airport's largest tenant, American Airlines, already operates a Latin American hub in Miami.
"Miami is a special case, it's the capital of Latin America," Sbarra said. "American can tap into an enormous business and leisure market by flying out of that city."
So there is little advantage for American to connect passengers to Latin America through D/FW, he said.
Miami, in fact, is American's No. 1 international airport. The airline flew more than twice as many passengers to foreign destinations from Miami than D/FW in January 2005, the most recent statistics available, according to the Transportation Department.
Houston, meanwhile, has become the primary Texas gateway to the region, largely because Continental Airlines flies most of its Latin American routes from its hub at Bush.
"Both Houston and Miami have become the major Latin American gateways," said Mike Boyd, an airline consultant with the Boyd Group of Evergreen, Colo. Both of those cities also have larger Hispanic populations, Boyd noted, which provides strong local demand for travel as well.
In Houston, 12 foreign carriers offer service, and 34 fly out of Miami. Seven serve D/FW.
Chicago, meanwhile, was chosen by American for its first nonstop flight to China, which will debut next year. American chose that city in part because it can fly the route north, over the polar region, into Asia. From D/FW, the same flight would be much longer.
American also recently added service to Delhi, India, from Chicago.
The airline continues to fly more international flights from D/FW than Chicago, where it operates a smaller hub. But Chicago overall is a much larger international airport compared with D/FW, ranked fourth in the nation according to the Transportation Department, with overseas service by numerous foreign and domestic carriers.
D/FW officials are determined to change that. They point to a 10 percent increase in international service over the past five years.
A host of new cities have been added during the past year. They are largely in Mexico but include Osaka, the second-largest city in Japan. Mexicana Airlines began service from two cities this summer.
Much of the growth to Mexico has been driven by the growing Hispanic population, said Lisa Bailey, a spokeswoman for American Eagle, American Airlines' regional affiliate.
Eagle operates many of the new flights to smaller Mexican cities.
"The Hispanic community has an ever-increasing economic influence, and they're an important customer base," she said. "There is a lot of support locally to expand service to Mexico."
Some routes, such as Torreón and San Luis Potosi, are also getting a lot of business traffic, she said.
Mexico isn't the only growth region. German carrier Lufthansa is the largest foreign carrier at D/FW, and it has seen strong growth locally, said Karl Lehman, the airline's sales manager for the southern United States.
"The last few years are the best we've ever had in this market," said Lehman, who is based in Dallas. He said growth has been pushed by business demand for flights to India, Asia and the Middle East by such area companies as Texas Instruments, Perot Systems and Exxon Mobil.
Lufthansa has a daily flight to its hub in Frankfurt, Germany, and can connect passengers to cities worldwide from there.
The strength of the hub also works for D/FW, officials here say.
The airport's status as American's largest U.S. hub is a major selling point to foreign carriers that partner with American in the eight-airline Oneworld alliance.
For example, the much-coveted Iberia, which is an alliance member, could fly passengers from Madrid to D/FW, then connect them to American flights to cities across the nation. The same seamless connection could work with Irish carrier Aer Lingus, Chilean airline Lan, Hong Kong carrier Cathay Pacific and others.
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Yangtze River Express will land at DFW International Airport four times weekly beginning May 22.
AeroMexico, which has one daily flight to Mexico City from D/FW's new Terminal D, will stop service Feb. 5. Mexicana will exit the D/FW market Tuesday.
Overall, 16.3 million passengers have flown through DFW since Memorial Day, buoyed by lower fares, new destinations and new airlines.