Airport expansion brings travelers, economic growth

Published Wednesday, March 20, 2019
by Cathy O'Connor

Passengers and airport visitors recently have begun seeing temporary, protective walls erected around the ticketing and baggage claim levels of Will Rogers World Airport.

The temporary construction zone signals the airport’s growth in air travelers and increased frequency as a destination. When complete, the airport will have a new east concourse, four new airline gates, three of which will be leased to Delta, a consolidated security checkpoint with more capacity and processing efficiency, and meeter and greeter lounges.

Another recent sign of the airport’s growth is the addition of another nonstop flight.

Earlier this year, American Airlines launched nonstop service from Will Rogers to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, joining Southwest Airlines in serving this major airport. In both cases, Oklahoma City’s sustained growth in aviation, bioscience and aerospace, plus the significant presence of state and federal campuses, was cited as the reasons for the increased demand for service to the D.C. area. The new flight to our national’s capital is the 28th nonstop destination from Will Rogers World Airport.

These recent changes also signal economic growth for our city. A recent Harvard study examined air travel’s role in the economic performance of cities and countries. One of the positive contributors to economic development is airports that were more likely to have direct flights. Changing planes affected inter-city investment patterns and direct flights encouraged more business connections. In other words, it is easier and more productive to schedule meetings when people don’t have to change planes or allocate hours to sitting in airports waiting on a layover.

We already know this to be true of convention and meeting planning. One of the top criteria for choosing a meeting location is that the venue is readily accessible with direct flights.

The Will Rogers World Airport expansion project is expected to take two years at a cost $89.8 million. Timberlake Construction Co. is managing the project. An official groundbreaking is set March 29.

The airport expansion and increase in direct flights is yet another mark of our city’s transformation. It brings more travelers to Oklahoma City, giving us the opportunity to show off our city and enhance our competitive edge for businesses that operate on a national and global scale.

Cathy O’Connor is president of the Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City.

Read the story on

Visit our affiliate sites

Shop Oklahoma City Will Rogers World Airport is soaring to new heights every day! For the second year in a row, OKC's Will Rogers World Airport hosted a record breaking number of passengers. ✈️
Shop Oklahoma City Higher broadband internet speeds (up to a gigabit!) are coming to OKC! Story via #VeloCityOKC
Shop Oklahoma City The craft brew scene in OKC is going under an amazing transformation right now, and breweries like Anthem Brewing Company, LLC are leading the way. Oh, the benefits of living in a craft beer town 🍻 Article via #VeloCityOKC
@okcretail ICYMI unemployment in OKC in October remained at 2.8%. This isn't just the lowest unemployment rate in Oklahoma (but unemployment is down statewide in all 77 counties!), but the lowest it's been since 2001.
@okcretail Already the OKC Streetcars are delivering heaps of success across the city. There's more money flowing in, a more navigable downtown area and a better sense of community, to name only a few of the immediate benefits.
@okcretail A big part of keeping a park beautiful is keeping its trees healthy--that's why OKC is investing $600,000 in keeping its trees healthy and beautiful.
Welcome to OKC | Property Search | Success Stories | Districts - Regional | Districts - Neighborhood | News
maps | about us | contact us | sitemap