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Will Rogers World Airport
2006 USGS Orthophoto
Airport type Public
Owner Oklahoma City Airport Trust
Operator Oklahoma City Department of Airports
Serves Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Location Oklahoma City
Elevation AMSL 1,295 ft / 395 m
Coordinates 35°23′35″N 097°36′03″W / 35.39306°N 97.60083°W / 35.39306; -97.60083
Website www.flyokc.com
KOKC is located in Oklahoma
Location of Will Rogers World Airport
Direction Length Surface
ft m
13/31 7,800 2,377 Asphalt/Concrete
17L/35R 9,802 2,988 Concrete
17R/35L 9,800 2,987 Concrete
18/36 3,078 938 Asphalt
Statistics (2012)
Passengers 3,683,051
Aircraft operations 130,816
Source: Will Rogers World Airport[1]

Will Rogers World Airport (IATA: OKC, ICAO: KOKC, FAA Location identifier: OKC), also known as Will Rogers Airport or simply Will Rogers, is located in southwestern Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 6 miles (8 km) from downtown on approximately 8,100 acres of land. It is a joint civil-military airport and is the principal commercial airport of the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Area. The local airport authority, citizens, and news organizations commonly refer to the airport as "WRWA", yet the official industry designations are "OKC" and "KOKC".

The airport is named in honor of comedian and legendary cowboy Will Rogers, an Oklahoma native, and holds the distinction of being named after a person who died in an airplane crash (as does the city's other major airport, Wiley Post Airport, and Wiley Post–Will Rogers Memorial Airport in Barrow, AK - both men died in the same crash near Barrow in 1935). Will Rogers World Airport is unusual in that it is the only airport to use the designation "World," and that its name makes no reference to its city location. Although it offers some customs and immigration services, it has no international destinations.

In 2012, over 3.68 million passengers passed through Will Rogers World Airport, up 3.4% over 2011.[1] It is Oklahoma's busiest airport in terms of passenger traffic and its busiest cargo airport in terms of pounds of cargo carried, with over 68.5 million pounds of cargo carried in 2010.[1]

History[edit | edit source]

World War II[edit | edit source]

During World War II Will Rogers Field was a major training facility for the United States Army Air Forces; many fighter and bomber units were activated and received initial training there.

Known USAAF groups stationed at Will Rogers Field were:

After completion of their initial training, these units were reassigned to other airfields for secondary training before deployment overseas.

The December 1951 C&GS chart shows 5497-ft runway 3, 3801-ft runway 8, 5652-ft runway 12 and 5100-ft runway 17.

Crash and terminal replacement[edit | edit source]

A Rockwell Sabreliner, registration N5565 crashed on January 15, 1974, after descending below minimums on an ILS approach in low clouds and fog.

By the late 1990s the terminal building built in 1967 was deemed unsuitable by the Oklahoma City Airport Trust. Following the adoption of a three phase master plan, preparations for renovating the airport were launched in 2001. The old twin concourses (visible in the 1995 photograph) were demolished to make way for a larger terminal with integrated concourses, high ceilings, and modern facilities.

A $110 million multi-phase expansion and renovation project, designed by Atkins Benham Inc.disambiguation needed and Gensler and built by Oscar J. Boldt Construction Company,[2] began in 2001.[3] Phase-I involved erection of construction walkways from the five-story parking garage to the terminal building, demolition of the terminal's existing elevator core, construction of new elevator and escalator cores on the tunnel level and on level one, building temporary entrance and exit ramps for vehicles approaching and leaving the terminal, reconstruction of the roofs of the lower level and level one, finishing the elevator and escalator cores to level two, building new permanent entry and exit ramps for vehicles and construction of a new transportation plaza and driving lanes.[3] Phase-II included a new concourse constructed to the west of the central terminal area, which was renovated to match the interior and exterior designs of the new concourse. The 1960s-built concourses were then demolished after the new concourse opened in 2005. The entire phase was completed in November 2006.[3] Phase-III project exists which calls for the construction of a new concourse to the east, with at least eight additional gates as well as expanded retail, restaurant, and baggage areas.

During 2012 the Phase III expansion plan was updated to include a new Central Concourse reconfiguration plan. Option 2a was selected by the Airport Trust which includes only the central terminal improvements at this time. The $3.6M project will create a new central checkpoint in the center of the check-in hall. Two new greeter lobbies will be created where existing check points exist. The expansion will slightly reduce the space utilized by Sonic in the food court. The restrooms in the area will also be relocated to the nearby Osage room. The Southwest ticket counters will be relocated further east.[4]

2000-present[edit | edit source]

Great Plains Airlines, a regional airline based in Tulsa, made Will Rogers World Airport a hub in 2001, with non-stop flights to Tulsa, Albuquerque, and Colorado Springs and direct or connecting flights to Nashville, St. Louis Mid America, Chicago Midway, and Washington Dulles. The airline hoped to reach other east and west coast markets, but it declared bankruptcy and ceased operations January 23, 2004.

On December 21, 2012, a U.S. Customers and Border Patrol Cessna Citation crashed during landing at Will Rogers Airport.[5]

On May 31, 2013, Will Rogers Airport was impacted by an EF-1 tornado. The 1.4 mile wide tornado traveled 10.4 miles which includes across the Northern portion of the airport mainly south of SE 54th Street. The parking spot location on Meridian Avenue was destroyed. The path of the tornado passed over the facilities of MetroTech, FAA, Oklahoma National Guard, AAR, Four Points Hotel, and the passenger terminal and hangars on the North and East side of the airport. Minor damage was reported at AAR and other buildings in this path.[6] The parking spot location north of the airport on Meridian Ave was also hit by the tornado. The company decided in August to not re-open the facility and exit the OKC market.[7]

The airport used to partner with Tinker AFB in presenting the Aerospace America airshow.[8]

Will Rogers World Airport is used by military flights of the Oklahoma Air National Guard as well as air taxi and corporate service, although most of these flights utilize the Wiley Post Airport, Oklahoma City's FAA-designated reliever facility.

Lariat Landing[edit | edit source]

Lariat Landing is a new development on the east side of the airport grounds that encompasses 1,000 acres.[9] The development is meant to generate additional non-airline revenue for the airport while still growing air service. The development will be mixed use with nearly half of it, north of Portland Avenue, designated to direct aviation support (with runway access) with an additional portion dedicated to aviation support companies. The remaining portion south of Portland Avenue will be zoned for retail, industrial, and commercial office space.[9]

The direct aviation parcels of Lariat Landing will be marketed towards aircraft maintenance, aircraft manufacturing, commercial air cargo, and corporate aviation companies. Atlantic Aviation and ARINC are two tenants already located in the new development area. The aviation support district will be targeting companies that provides aviation related goods and services. The target companies include freight forwarders, logistics, cargo, warehousing, distribution operations, and manufacturing companies.

Located between Interstate 44 and Portland Avenue, the office park will have a retail village as the gateway to its campus. It will target offices, hotels/motels, retail, warehouse, distribution, and logistic companies.[9]

Property will only be leased due to FAA requirements and will have a maximum term of 40 years. The realignment of Portland Avenue is currently in process while the new 48-inch waterline installation has already been completed.

Passenger services[edit | edit source]

Terminal[edit | edit source]

Will Rogers World Airport has one terminal with 17 gates via the West Concourse (Gates 1-12) and Central Concourse (Gates 14-24). Gates on the south side of the building use even numbers while those on the north side use odd numbers. Hence, many odd-numbered gates are "left out" due to the terminal layout.

The architecture of the building uses native stone along with loft-ceilings, plate glass and brushed metal. Compared to the old concourses, the improvements provided a more open feel to the terminal waiting areas, similar to larger hub airports without being quite so large in scale.

Will Rogers World Airport officials approved a contract with Frankfurt Short Bruza Associates, P.C. in 2008 to begin planning for expanding the airport.[10] However, officials were forced to postpone the expansion plan because of the industry-wide decline in passenger traffic. If completed, the existing terminal building would be expanded to the east and a new passenger concourse (the "International Concourse") with nine gates would be added, increasing the number of boarding gates to 26. The new facility would have immigration and customs on the lower level, and would serve international flights.

Terminal Features[edit | edit source]

Store Type Location
Café Oklahoma Food/Beverages Ticket Lobby
CNBC News Express OKC News/Retail Ticket Lobby
Pop's (East) Retail Central Concourse
Bar 1907 Pub/Lounge Central Concourse between Gates 18 & 20
CNBC News Oklahoma City News/Retail Central Concourse
EA Sports Retail Central Concourse
Bricktown Square Retail West Concourse
Pop's (West) Retail West Concourse
Brighton Collectibles Retail West Concourse
InMotion Entertainment Retail West Concourse
Redbud Bar Pub/Lounge West Concourse
Route 66 Grille Restaurant West Concourse
Java Dave's Coffee Coffee Shop West Concourse

Airlines and destinations[edit | edit source]

Airlines Destinations Terminal
AirTran Airways operated by Southwest Airlines Atlanta (begins November 3, 2013), Chicago-Midway (begins November 3, 2013; ends March 7, 2014) Central

Allegiant Air Orlando-Sanford (begins November 14, 2013)[11] TBA

American Airlines Dallas/Fort Worth West

American Connection operated by Chautauqua Airlines Chicago-O’Hare West
American Eagle operated by American Eagle Airlines Chicago-O’Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles West

American Eagle operated by ExpressJet Dallas/Fort Worth West

Delta Air Lines Atlanta Central

Delta Connection operated by Compass Airlines Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul Central

Delta Connection operated by Endeavor Air Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Salt Lake City Central

Delta Connection operated by ExpressJet Atlanta, Detroit Central

Delta Connection operated by Shuttle America Detroit Central

Delta Connection operated by SkyWest Airlines Minneapolis/St. Paul, Salt Lake City Central

Frontier Airlines Denver West

Southwest Airlines Baltimore, Chicago–Midway (ends November 2, 2013; resumes March 8, 2014), Dallas-Love, Denver, Houston–Hobby, Las Vegas, Phoenix, St. Louis
Seasonal: Orlando

United Airlines Denver, Houston-Intercontinental West

United Express operated by ExpressJet Chicago–O'Hare, Cleveland, Denver, Houston–Intercontinental, Newark West

United Express operated by GoJet Airlines Chicago–O’Hare, Washington–Dulles West

United Express operated by Mesa Airlines Chicago–O'Hare, Washington–Dulles West

United Express operated by Republic Airlines Denver West

United Express operated by SkyWest Airlines Chicago–O’Hare, Denver, Houston–Intercontinental, Los Angeles, San Francisco West

United Express operated by Trans States Airlines Chicago-O’Hare, Houston–Intercontinental West

Charter Airlines[edit | edit source]

A Delta Air Lines MD-88 at Will Rogers Airport

A 'Shuttle by United Airlines' Boeing 737-500 at Gate 5

Busiest domestic routes from Oklahoma City[edit | edit source]

April 2011 - March 2012 vs. April 2012 - March 2013[12]

Rank Airport Passengers (end 3/12) Passengers (end Mar 3/13) Change Carriers
1 Dallas, Texas (DFW) 289,000 283,000 -6,000 American
2 Denver, Colorado 266,000 272,000 +6,000 Frontier, Southwest, United
3 Atlanta, Georgia 132,000 146,000 +14,000 Delta
4 Houston, Texas (IAH) 134,000 144,000 +10,000 United
5 Chicago, Illinois (ORD) 132,000 130,000 -2,000 American, United
6 Houston, Texas (HOU) 116,000 115,000 -1,000 Southwest
7 Dallas, Texas (DAL) 91,000 91,000 UNCH Southwest
8 Las Vegas, Nevada 79,000 72,000 -7,000 Southwest
9 Phoenix, Arizona 68,000 65,000 -3,000 Southwest
10 Los Angeles, California 45,000 54,000 +9,000 American, United

Cargo and other civilian operations[edit | edit source]

Cargo airlines[edit | edit source]

Airlines Destinations 
Ameriflight Dallas/Fort Worth, Wichita

FedEx Express Memphis, Tulsa

Martinaire Dallas/Fort Worth, Woodward

UPS Airlines Little Rock, Louisville, Tulsa, Wichita

Various FAR Part 135 Operators (Charter, Nonscheduled Service) operate in and out of the airport, such as small cargo feeder airlines operating small propeller aircraft. As well as larger charter companies doing military charters, vacations, etc.

Regular commercial traffic[edit | edit source]

Ground transportation[edit | edit source]

Taxi and shuttle service is offered by a number of companies to downtown Oklahoma City and the surrounding metro area. Hotels have shuttle service to the airport and there are car hire options available, most of which have on-site terminal facilities and business priority (frequent customer) loyalty options.

The airport is served by Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National, and Thrifty car rental companies.[13]

Greyhound and other intercity scheduled and charter bus companies provide service to the airport but may need to be pre-arranged prior to landing. As for public transit, Oklahoma City Metro Transit runs METRO Route 11 to and from the airport. This service operates only three times per day during non-peak times.

Parking[edit | edit source]

The airport began a $3.8 million maintenance project in September 2011 to rehabilitate and repair two of its three parking garages. The project will make improvements to garages A and B, two of the six parking options at the airport. Garage A is the two-story garage that provides hourly parking for the airport’s short-term visitors on the upper level, and “ready-return” spaces for the rental car agencies on the lower level. Parking Garage B, adjacent to A, is the older of the two, five-level parking structures that provides covered parking for air travelers. Garage C, the new parking garage which opened in 2009, will not be impacted. Nearing middle age, (Garage A is 44 years old and Garage B is 31 years old,) the structures will undergo several different types of refurbishments that will extend the long-term use of the facilities. The work will include:

  • Repair of concrete walls and pillars, specifically where there are cracks or spalling (chips of concrete that have broken off) and other deterioration
  • Replacement or repair of exterior stairs
  • Replacement and upgrade of all lighting circuits
  • Replacement and upgrade of all lighting fixtures
  • The top levels of each garage will receive new expansion joints, membrane coating, waterproofing and protectant to prevent leaking

The project will be divided into 12 sequences allowing the airport to keep as much of the garage open as possible. Most of the sequences will only require closing about 300 spaces at a time, leaving approximately 2,500 of the 2,800 total spaces in the two garages available for parking. The project work will start in the five-level Garage B on levels one and two. The entire project is anticipated to take 18 months. The most challenging portion of the project will be when the work commences on the two-story parking garage. During this sequencing, hourly parking and rental car companies will be moved to temporary locations in Garage B and C.[14]

The airport operates three surface parking lots on the grounds of WRWA.[15]

  • Lot #1 is a long term remote shuttle lot located on Amelia Earhart Drive.
  • Lot #2 is a long term shuttle lot located directly adjacent to the parking garages on the north side.
  • Lot #3 is a long term canopy shuttle lot that provides shelter from sun and hail with protective canopies. It is located to the west of the parking garages on 67th Street near the control tower.

The airport provides a short term parking area in the second (top) level of Garage A. The parking is free for the first hour and then $1 per hour after that. There are also two cell phone waiting areas just across the street from the shuttle parking lot #2, near Lot #3, and by the flag plaza north of the long term shuttle Lot #2.

Government and military operations[edit | edit source]

Until 2008, the Oklahoma Air National Guard's 137th Airlift Wing and its C-130 Hercules aircraft were located at the airport's Will Rogers Air National Guard Base. As part of the 2005 round of Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) recommendations, the majority of the maintenance unit (excluding the munitions flight) was relocated to nearby Tinker Air Force Base, where the wing transitioned to the KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft and became the 137th Air Refueling Wing.[16] The unit shares the KC-135 aircraft with the Air Force Reserve Command's 507th Air Refueling Wing in a joint operations and maintenance program. Will Rogers Air National Guard Base continues to be the home of the unit's Expeditionary Support Group headquarters, operations and support, as well as the Oklahoma ANG's 146th Air Support Operations Squadron.[17][18] The base has also seen joint association with the Oklahoma Army National Guard, which maintains a helicopter maintenance program at the location.

The Federal Aviation Administration has major facilities on the airport grounds, including the headquarters for the 'Air Route Traffic Control', the Civil Aerospace Medical Institute, and the FAA Training Academy, all housed at the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center campus on the west part of the Airport.

The U.S. Department of Justice has major Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System (JPATS) facilities at Will Rogers World Airport. The Federal Transfer Center and its principal air hub is built on the west side of the airport grounds, off of Taxiway G.

The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol operate their national training facility on airport grounds. They operate a hangar on the north side of the airport, off of Taxiway N, north of the JPATS Hangar.

The Oklahoma City Composite Squadron of Civil Air Patrol meets on Tuesday evenings at 6:30pm on the grounds of the Oklahoma Air National Guard base on the West side of the field.

Businesses and other onsite institutions[edit | edit source]

AAR Oklahoma has a major maintenance, repair, and overhaul facility and regional headquarters at Will Rogers World Airport; in addition there are other aircraft maintenance and aircraft on ground organizations based there.

Atlantic Aviation has a fixed base operation located on the east side of the airport, off of Taxiway H. This is Atlantic's first Greenfield project.

Southwest Airlines has one of its largest customer service and support centers on the northern grounds of Will Rogers World Airport.

ARINC has major facilities on the airport premises, including plans to double the size of their current facility.[19]

Will Rogers World Airport is home to Metro Technology Center's Aviation Career Campus.[20] The aviation center offers training to prepare aircraft maintenance technicians with Classrooms, practical labs, and separate airframe and powerplant hangars are available for academic and hands-on training. The Aviation Maintenance Technician program is an 18-month course that is certified and approved by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The facility is on the west side of the airport, north of the FAA center. One notable sight on the MetroTech campus includes a donated [[AirTran Airways]] DC-9-30 in the post AirTran Airways / ValuJet merger colors.

Will Rogers World Airport permanently hosts the Ninety Nines Museum of Women Pilots.[21] The facility is located on more than 5,000 square feet (460 m2), occupying the entire second floor of the International Headquarters building. It features a repository for a unique collection of the papers, personal items and other historic artifacts of some of the most significant achievements and adventures of the international community of women pilots. Its library and exhibit areas will provide new insights into the role women pilots played in the development of aviation.

The City of Oklahoma City Department of Airports is in charge of the three city-owned airports: Will Rogers World Airport, Wiley Post Airport, and Clarence E. Page Airport.[22] The organization is led by Director Mark Kranenburg.[22]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 WRWA Statistics
  2. Gensler Annual Report 2006
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Will Rogers World Airport Expansion Project, Oklahoma, United States of America - Airport Technology
  4. Will Rogers World Airport Phase III Terminal and Concourse Expansion Study
  5. Wells, Jesse. Small plane crashes at Will Rogers World Airport, KFOR.com, December 21, 2012 (accessed October 8, 2013)
  6. http://www.srh.noaa.gov/oun/?n=events-20130531
  7. http://www.okctalk.com/transportation/24320-parking-spot-coming-will-rogers-airport-3.html#post673478
  8. Aerospace America (October 8, 2013)
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 WRWA Land Development Program, Flyokc.com. (accessed October 7, 2013)
  10. Brickman, Stefanie (July 23, 2008). "Airport Trust Votes to Approve Contract to Expand Oklahoma City’s Will Rogers World Airport". http://okc.biz/oklahoma/article-3582-airport-trust-votes-to-approve-contract-to-expand-oklahoma-city%5Cs-will-rogers-world-airport.html. Retrieved August 10, 2008. 
  11. http://www.oklahoman.com/article/3873604?embargo=1
  12. "Oklahoma City, OK: Oklahoma City Will Rogers World Airport (OKC)". Bureau of Transportation Statistics. January 14, 2012. http://www.transtats.bts.gov/airports.asp?pn=1&Airport=OKC&Airport_Name=Oklahoma. Retrieved January 26, 2012. 
  13. Rental Cars, Flyokc.com. (accessed October 8, 2013)
  14. Parking Garage Construction Release
  15. http://www.flyokc.com/Rates.aspx
  16. "Air National Guard Units Listing." Retrieved on March 11, 2012.
  17. http://ebird.osd.mil/ebfiles/e20130522923067.html
  18. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/137th_Air_Refueling_Wing#Current_status
  19. ARINC Will Double Its Aircraft Service Center at OKC With a Second Commercial Hangar
  20. Aviation Career Campus, Metrotech.org. (accessed October 8, 2013)
  21. Ninety Nines Museum of Women Pilots (accessed October 8, 2013)
  22. 22.0 22.1 Airports, City of Oklahoma City. (accessed October 8, 2013)

External links[edit | edit source]

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