Filling D/FW's Terminal D With Int'l Passengers Considered Top Priority

North Texas' low international profile is one of many challenges officials face as they labor to attract new flights to foreign destinations.

Europe and Asia are also closer than ever, thanks to new aircraft technology. The latest generation of planes can fly much longer trips, making destinations across the Atlantic and Pacific more feasible.

American officials have hinted that D/FW could be the starting point for a nonstop flight to China sometime in the next few years. The airline is lobbying for permission to launch new service under a new aviation treaty, and have named D/FW as a potential city.

Consultant Boyd even envisioned a time when D/FW could be a stopping point between Asia and Latin America.

"American Airlines has huge ambitions in Asia, and it already is a major player in Latin America," he said. "D/FW is the logical point for American to connect travelers between them."

A passenger could board in Shanghai, he said, fly nonstop to D/FW, then connect to a flight to Sao Paulo, Brazil.

D/FW has also seen growth in international cargo service, with nonstop cargo flights to China, Hong Kong and Amsterdam, Netherlands. Since 1993, the airport's international cargo service has more than tripled.

That can help boost international passenger service, Lopano said, because the cargo runs foster business ties between the cities and spur demand for new commercial flights.

One of those success stories? China Eastern, the airline whose chief didn't realize that D/FW was in Texas. After three years of lobbying, the airline agreed to begin nonstop cargo service to Shanghai.

"They figured us out and realized this was a good place for them to be," Lopano said. "And we're confident others will make the same decision."

In the Know

The top 10 airports, ranked by number of passengers flying to international destinations in January 2005.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press

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