Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) executives and a delegation of high level Dallas/Fort Worth civic and business leaders are visiting Johannesburg on a business mission to strengthen ties between the regions and promote DFW as the premier mid-continent entry point into the United States. The mission coincides with the delegation's participation in the Airport Cities World Conference & Exhibition, an annual event which is set in Africa for the first time in Ekurhuleni from April 24-26, 2013.
The eight-member DFW delegation, led by Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Tennell Atkins of the City of Dallas, DFW International Airport Board of Directors Vice Chair Lillie Biggins and Ken Buchanan, DFW Airport Executive Vice President, will meet with various South African government, business and civic representatives.
"It is my privilege to be here as a follow-up to my visit in 2008 and to re-engage with business and government leaders in South Africa," said Atkins. "This mission serves to further networks with influential leaders as we also work to establish new relationships in the Johannesburg region, which will help support the strong business connections and growing South African population in the North Texas region."
DFW International Airport is in the midst of the most successful period for international air service development in its 39-year history reaching 200 total destinations in March 2013. DFW joins a select group of airports worldwide with that distinction, including Frankfurt, Amsterdam Schiphol, Paris Charles De Gaulle, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta, Chicago O'Hare, and Munich.
"With 200 destinations, DFW has attained a tremendous achievement. Yet, our Airport still has plenty of room to grow and add more capacity," said Ken Buchanan, DFW Airport Executive Vice President. "Over the next few years, DFW is projected to continue to grow and attract even more air service, particularly new international service from important regions of the world, like South Africa, as we build on our vision to connect the Dallas/Fort Worth area to the world."
The unprecedented expansion of air service at DFW over the past three years included the addition of seven new passenger airlines, three new cargo carriers, 14 new international destinations and 10 new domestic destinations. In addition to new flights from its hub carriers American Airlines and American Eagle, DFW also welcomed new service from Virgin America, Qantas, Emirates, JetBlue, Cayman Airways and Aeromexico, and will see the start of new service from WestJet serving Calgary in Alberta, Canada, April 29.
DFW Airport has also become one of the world's most highly regarded airports. Airports Council International ranks DFW as one of the top-five large airports in the world for customer satisfaction based on surveys of thousands of international travelers.
"Being recognized as a top, world-class airport creates a very positive experience for DFW's international passengers," said DFW Airport Board of Directors Vice Chair Lillie Biggins. "We see tremendous opportunities in South Africa with global connections through our airline partners as well as possible new direct routes in the future with airlines."
DFW ranks as the fourth busiest airport in the world in terms of flight operations. The Airport's central location in the southern United States means that travelers are no further than a four-hour flight away from every major city in North America, with connections to Canada, Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean. A total of 18 air cargo carriers also serve DFW, connecting goods from around the world to the Dallas/Fort Worth region, South America and Asia, on such carriers as CargoLux, Air Cargo Germany, FedEx, Lufthansa Cargo, Singapore Airlines Cargo, and more.
South Africa shares common business sectors with Dallas/Fort Worth, such as manufacturing, technology, transport/ trucking, mining and energy. Further, South Africa is the 35th largest trading partner with North Texas. DFW Airport serves the fastest growing region in the U.S. and is a magnet for business to North Texas. Texas is home to 52 of the Forbes Global 2000 headquarters, 23 of these in the DFW area, and 18 Fortune 500 company headquarters call DFW home. Several of these firms cite DFW International Airport as a deciding factor in locating their headquarters in North Texas.
"DFW Airport's vast connections through our airline partners coupled with the fast-growing North Texas region make for a very compelling combination," said Buchanan. "We see great potential for the business community to further explore economic opportunities in South Africa and also for South African firms and entrepreneurs to use the North Texas region as a base to expand their business to the U.S. and the Americas."