Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price will headline the mission to the United Kingdom and Germany, along with Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport Board of Directors Chair Lillie Biggins, Airport Board Member Bernice J. Washington and Dallas/Fort Worth Airport CEO Sean Donohue.
“The most important thing we can do on this trip is to cement relationships with Lufthansa and British Airways and make sure we’re doing everything we can do to fill up those planes,” Rawlings told me in a phone interview on his way to the airport.
Germain airline Deutsche Lufthansa AG, known as Lufthansa, and American Airlines (Nasdaq: AAL) operate nonstop flights to Frankfurt from D/FW Airport. British Airways and American operate nonstop flights to London from D/FW Airport.
“The German market is huge and growing, and so is D/FW,” Rawlings said.
Donohue said priorities include growing demand and support for existing routes, developing nonstop service to new destinations and increasing awareness with key stakeholders in both regions.
Another goal will be to study best practices in Manchester, England, which has aggressively expanded its presence on the global stage, Rawlings said. Part of the solution lies in the way Manchester harmonizes its city, chambers of commerce and tourism initiatives so everyone involved is singing from the same song sheet, Rawlings told me.
“We (in North Texas) are too fragmented, I believe,” Rawlings said. “We’re trying to learn how to speak with one voice.”
German-based global cloud solutions and software firm Comparex USA Inc., which recently opened a U.S. headquarters in downtown Dallas that will employ 200 people, is an example of the type of company North Texas is able to attract when international routes are plentiful, Rawlings said.
“It is the perfect prototype,” he said. “There will be a couple hundred employees, it is downtown, it is a tech company and it is global.”
As mayor, one of Rawlings’ priorities is “ensuring that Dallas-Fort Worth takes its rightful place on the global stage,” he said.
“Our growth as a market is going to be international,” he said. “We as a business community need to get behind it.”
Some more facts from an airport news release:
- One wide-body jet with daily international service to the DFW region generates an economic impact of about $200 million per year.
- Air cargo transport contributes more than $16 billion annually to the DFW economy.
- D/FW International Airport overall contributes more than $31 billion dollars in economic impact per year to North Texas.
- The U.K. tops the list of countries represented by international companies in the DFW region, and Germany is in the top five. More than 140 companies from the United Kingdom and Germany have a presence in North Texas.
- More than 200 companies from 34 countries run their U.S. headquarters or substantial operations from locations within DFW.
- Flights to Europe are among DFW’s most well-established routes.
- Companies that rely heavily on routes between DFW and Europe include Lockheed Martin, Bell Helicopter, Smith & Nephew, DB Schenker, ExxonMobil, ALDI, BBA Aviation, BAE Systems, Balfour Beatty, Daimler, Siemens and ThyssenKrupp.
- Since 2011, D/FW Airport has added 29 new international routes, which includes 21 new international cities as well as nine new airlines.
- D/FW Airport is one of seven airports worldwide serving more than 200 destinations.