Tulsa International Airport

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Tulsa International Airport
TUL airport logo.gif
Airport typePublic/Military
OwnerCity of Tulsa
OperatorTulsa Airport Authority
ServesTulsa and the surrounding areas
Location Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.
Hub for Omni Air International
Elevation  AMSL 677 ft / 206 m
Coordinates 36°11′54″N095°53′17″W / 36.19833°N 95.88806°W / 36.19833; -95.88806 Coordinates: 36°11′54″N095°53′17″W / 36.19833°N 95.88806°W / 36.19833; -95.88806
Website www.TulsaAirports.com
TUL FAA diagram.png
FAA diagram
USA Oklahoma location map.svg
Airplane silhouette.svg
Usa edcp relief location map.png
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TUL (the United States)
Direction LengthSurface
18L/36R9,9993,048 Concrete
18R/36L6,1011,860 Asphalt
8/267,3762,248 Concrete
Statistics (2018)
Aircraft operations93,760
Based aircraft180

Tulsa International Airport( IATA : TUL, ICAO : KTUL, FAA LID : TUL) is a civil-military airport five miles (8 km) northeast of downtown Tulsa, in Tulsa County, Oklahoma. It was named Tulsa Municipal Airport when the city acquired it in 1929; [3] it got its present name in 1963. [4]

An IATA airport code, also known as an IATA location identifier, IATA station code or simply a location identifier, is a three-letter code designating many airports and metropolitan areas around the world, defined by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The characters prominently displayed on baggage tags attached at airport check-in desks are an example of a way these codes are used.

ICAO airport code four-letter code designating many airports around the world

The ICAOairport code or location indicator is a four-letter code designating aerodromes around the world. These codes, as defined by the International Civil Aviation Organization and published in ICAO Document 7910: Location Indicators, are used by air traffic control and airline operations such as flight planning.

Federal Aviation Administration United States Government agency dedicated to civil aviation matters

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is a governmental body of the United States with powers to regulate all aspects of civil aviation in that nation as well as over its surrounding international waters. Its powers include the construction and operation of airports, air traffic management, the certification of personnel and aircraft, and the protection of U.S. assets during the launch or re-entry of commercial space vehicles. Powers over neighboring international waters were delegated to the FAA by authority of the International Civil Aviation Organization.


The 138th Fighter Wing of the Oklahoma Air National Guard is based at the co-located Tulsa Air National Guard Base. [5]

138th Fighter Wing

The 138th Fighter Wing is a unit of the Oklahoma Air National Guard, stationed at the Tulsa Air National Guard Base at Tulsa International Airport in Tulsa, Oklahoma. If activated to federal service as a United States Air Force unit, the 138 FW is gained by the Air Combat Command (ACC).

Oklahoma Air National Guard

The Oklahoma Air National Guard is the air force militia of the State of Oklahoma, United States of America. It is, along with the Oklahoma Army National Guard, an element of the Oklahoma National Guard.

The airport is the global maintenance headquarters for American Airlines. [6]

American Airlines, Inc. (AA) is a major American airline headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, within the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. It is the world's largest airline when measured by fleet size, revenue, scheduled passengers carried, scheduled passenger-kilometers flown, and number of destinations served. American, together with its regional partners, operates an extensive international and domestic network with almost 6,700 flights per day to nearly 350 destinations in more than 50 countries. American Airlines is a founding member of Oneworld alliance, the third largest airline alliance in the world. Regional service is operated by independent and subsidiary carriers under the brand name American Eagle.

The Council Oak Senior Squadron and Starbase Composite Squadron of Civil Air Patrol meet on the field, with Council Oak at FBO Sparks Aviation and the Starbase squadron meeting at the Oklahoma Air National Guard Base on the Northeast side of the field. Additionally, two Civil Air Patrol aircraft are based at TUL, a Cessna 172 and Cessna 182.

Civil Air Patrol Civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force

The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is a congressionally chartered, federally supported non-profit corporation that serves as the official civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force (USAF). CAP is a volunteer organization with an aviation-minded membership that includes people from all backgrounds, lifestyles, and occupations. It performs three congressionally assigned key missions: emergency services, which includes search and rescue and disaster relief operations; aerospace education for youth and the general public; and cadet programs for teenage youth. In addition, CAP has recently been tasked with homeland security and courier service missions. CAP also performs non-auxiliary missions for various governmental and private agencies, such as local law enforcement and the American Red Cross. The program is established as an organization by Title 10 of the United States Code and its purposes defined by Title 36.

Cessna 172 Light, single engine aircraft, most numerous production aircraft in history

The Cessna 172 Skyhawk is an American four-seat, single-engine, high wing, fixed-wing aircraft made by the Cessna Aircraft Company. First flown in 1955, more 172s have been built than any other aircraft.

During World War II Air Force Plant No. 3 was built on the southeast side of the airport, and Douglas Aircraft manufactured several types of aircraft there. After the war this facility was used by Douglas (later McDonnell Douglas) and Rockwell International (later Boeing) for aircraft manufacturing, modification, repair, and research. [7] Spirit AeroSystems currently builds Commercial Airline parts for Boeing aircraft [8] in part of the building and IC Bus Corporation assembles school buses in the other part. [9]

McDonnell Douglas was a major American aerospace manufacturing corporation and defense contractor formed by the merger of McDonnell Aircraft and the Douglas Aircraft Company in 1967. Between then and its own merger with Boeing in 1997, it produced a number of well-known commercial and military aircraft such as the DC-10 airliner and F-15 Eagle air-superiority fighter.

Rockwell International 1973-2001 aerospace manufacturer

Rockwell International was a major American manufacturing conglomerate in the latter half of the 20th century, involved in aircraft, the space industry, both defense-oriented and commercial electronics, automotive and truck components, printing presses, power tools, valves and meters, and industrial automation. Rockwell ultimately became a group of companies founded by Colonel Willard Rockwell. At its peak in the 1990s, Rockwell International was No. 27 on the Fortune 500 list, with assets of over $8 billion, sales of $27 billion and 115,000 employees.

Boeing Aerospace and defense manufacturer in the United States

The Boeing Company is an American multinational corporation that designs, manufactures, and sells airplanes, rotorcraft, rockets, satellites, and missiles worldwide. The company also provides leasing and product support services. Boeing is among the largest global aerospace manufacturers; it is the fifth-largest defense contractor in the world based on 2017 revenue, and is the largest exporter in the United States by dollar value. Boeing stock is included in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Spirit AeroSystems builds Boeing Wing and floor beam parts and Gulfstream Wing parts in a facility on the east side of the airport, just north of runway 26. [8]

Spirit AeroSystems

Spirit AeroSystems, Inc. ("Spirit"), based in Wichita, Kansas, is the world's largest first-tier aerostructures manufacturer. The company builds several important pieces of Boeing aircraft, including the fuselage of the 737, portions of the 787 fuselage, and the cockpit section of the fuselage of nearly all of its airliners. Spirit also produces fuselage sections and front wing spars for the Airbus A350. Spirit's main competition comes from Triumph Aerostructures - Vought Aircraft Division, UTC Aerospace Systems, Leonardo, and Kawasaki Heavy Industries.

The Tulsa Air and Space Museum is on the northwest side of the airport.

Richard Lloyd Jones Jr. Airport serves as a reliever airport.


Duncan A. McIntyre, an early aviator and native of New Zealand, moved to Tulsa in 1919. His first airport was located at Apache and Memorial and opened August 22, 1919. [10] He moved and established a private airport on an 80-acre tract at the corner of Admiral Place and Sheridan Avenue. McIntyre Field had three hangars to house 40 aircraft and a beacon for landings after sundown. [11]

McIntyre evidently closed his airport during the 1930s and merged it with R. F. Garland, a Tulsa oil man and owner of the Garland Airport at 51st and Sheridan Road for $350,000.[36] He ran the airport and became the president of the new venture. [12] This airport would later become the Brown Airport (after a number of owners and names including the commercial airport before it moved to 61st and Yale). In 1940, McIntyre accepted a position with Lockheed Corporation and moved to California. [13]

Charles Lindbergh landed at McIntyre Field on September 30, 1927. He had been persuaded to visit Tulsa by William G. Skelly, who was then president of the local Chamber of Commerce, as well as a booster of the young aviation industry. In addition to being a wealthy oilman and founder of Skelly Oil Company, Skelly founded Spartan Aircraft Company. Lindbergh had already landed at Oklahoma City Municipal Airport, Bartlesville Municipal Airport and Muskogee's Hatbox Field. All of these were superior to the privately owned McIntyre Field. Lindbergh pointed this out at a banquet given that night in his honor. [14]


The initial municipal airport was financed with a so-called "stud horse note", a promissory note like those used by groups of farmers or horse breeders who would collectively underwrite the purchase of a promising stud horse. The note would be retired with the stud fees paid for use of the horse. In the case of the Tulsa airport, the note would be paid from airport fees. [14] Using this vehicle, Skelly obtained signatures from several prominent Tulsa businessmen put up $172,000 to buy 390 acres (160 hectares) for a municipal airport. [14] It opened July 3, 1928. The city of Tulsa purchased the airport, then named Tulsa Municipal Airport, in 1929, and put its supervision under the Tulsa Park Board. [3] Charles W. Short was appointed Airport Director in 1929, and remained in this position until 1955. [15]

The first terminal building was a one-story wood and tar paper structure that looked like a warehouse. The landing strips and taxiways were mown grass. Still, it handled enough passengers in 1930 for Tulsa to claim that it had the busiest airport in the world. The Tulsa Municipal Airport handled 7,373 passengers in February 1930 and 9,264 in April. This outpaced Croydon Field (London), Tempelhof (Berlin), and LeBourget (Paris) for those months. [16] Braniff Airways stopped at Tulsa on its original route between Chicago and Wichita Falls, [17] and TWA stopped at Tulsa on its original route between Columbus and Los Angeles. [18] Later in the 1930s, Tulsa became a stop on the American Airlines Chicago-Dallas route. [19]

Tulsa International Airport entrance, 2007 Courtesy Luis Tamayo Tulsa International Airport entrance.jpg
Tulsa International Airport entrance, 2007 Courtesy Luis Tamayo

In 1932 the city opened a more elegant Art Deco terminal topped with a control tower. Charles Short decorated the inside walls with a collection of early aviation photographs. This building served until Tulsa broke ground on a new terminal, designed by the firm Murray Jones Murray, in November 1958 and opened on November 16, 1961; [4] [20] on August 28, 1963, the facility was renamed Tulsa International Airport. [4] [11]

In January 1928 Skelly bought the Mid-Continent Aircraft Company of Tulsa and renamed it the Spartan Aircraft Company. It first built a two-seat biplane, the Spartan C3 at its facility near the new airport. Later it would also build a low-wing cabin monoplane as a corporate aircraft, and the NP-1, a naval training plane used in World War II. In 1929 Spartan established the Spartan School of Aeronautics across Apache street from the new Tulsa airport to train fliers and support personnel. The Spartan School was activated by the U. S. Army Air Corps (USAAC) on August 1, 1939, as an advanced civilian pilot training school to supplement the Air Corps' few flying training schools. The Air Corps supplied students with training aircraft, flying clothes, textbooks, and equipment. The Air Corps also put a detachment at each school to supervise training. Spartan furnished instructors, training sites and facilities, aircraft maintenance, quarters, and mess halls. [21]

World War II

The 138th Fighter Wing of the Air National Guard was organized at the Tulsa Airport in 1940 as the 125th Observation Squadron, then renamed when it deployed overseas during World War II. It is still based at TUL. [5]

On January 4, 1941, the War Department announced that Tulsa would be the site of a $15 million plant. [22] The Federal Government built Air Force Plant No. 3 on the east side of the airport. The plant was operated by Douglas Aircraft Corporation to manufacture, assemble and modify bombers for the USAAF from 1942 to 1945; production was suspended when World War II ended. The plant was reactivated in 1950 to produce the Boeing B-47 Stratojet and later the Douglas B-66 Destroyer. In 1960 McDonnell Douglas, the successor to Douglas Aircraft Corporation, continued to use the facility for aircraft maintenance. Rockwell International leased part of the plant to manufacture aerospace products. McDonnell Douglas terminated its lease in 1996. [23] Boeing bought Rockwell International's aerospace business in 1996, and took over much of the facility for aerospace manufacturing. [11]


In 1946 American Airlines acquired two former Air Force hangars to start a maintenance and engineering base at Tulsa Municipal Airport. [24]

The April 1957 OAG shows 20 weekday departures on American, 18 Braniff, 6 Continental, 6 Central and 4 TWA. American had a DC-7 nonstop to New York, but westward nonstops didn't get past Oklahoma City, Wichita and Dallas. (In 1947, when transcon flights made at least one stop, American had nonstops from Tulsa to San Francisco and Los Angeles.)[ citation needed ] In 1979 the airport was also served by Frontier Airlines, Scheduled Skyways and Texas International Airlines. [25]

The Tulsa Air and Space Museum (TASM) was established in 1998 on the northwest side of the airport. [26] The museum added the James E. Bertelsmeyer Tulsa planetarium in 2006.

Allegiant Air began service in 2013 to Orlando. In 2015 Allegiant Air started flights to Las Vegas, Tampa Bay, and Los Angeles and in 2016 to Baltimore. Low cost carrier Frontier Airlines began service March 2018 to Denver. In April 2018, the airline began service to Orlando, San Diego, Washington D.C., and San Jose (CA). The San Diego flight ended on August 9, 2018.


The airport covers 4,360 acres (1,764 ha) and has three paved runways: [1]

In 2010 a renovation of the 1960s era terminal began. The renovations were designed by Gensler and Benham Companies. [27] Concourse B (home to Southwest and United) underwent a US$17.9 million renovation between September 7, 2010 [28] and January 18, 2012, [29] including major HVAC replacement along with the more noticeable design changes. These changes include sky lights and raising the somewhat low ceilings in the concourse area, improved passenger waiting areas and gate redesigns. The upgrades to Concourse B have been completed. Concourse A is currently in the process of renovations and upgrades (home to Allegiant, Delta, American and US Airways before its merger with American). [30]

In the year ending January 1, 2018 the airport had 108,503 aircraft operations, average 297 per day: 31% general aviation, 14% air taxi, 29% airline and 26% military. 180 aircraft are based at the airport: 30% single-engine, 13% multi-engine, 44% jet, <1% helicopter and 12% military. [1]


The airport has a smaller regional terminal with newly renovated concourses. Concourse A; which houses Allegiant, American and Delta; has 11 departure gates; A1 through A11. Currently, seven of those are in use. Concourse B; opened in 2012, has 10 gates, but only 7 have jet bridges; Southwest and United serve Concourse B.

Departures / Arrivals

Although generally single-level, the entry section of the airport has separate departure and arrival curbs; the inner Arapahoe Drive for departures and outer Airport Drive for arrivals. Baggage claim carousels are located between these two driveways. TIA has 5 baggage carousels in service.

Public Transportation

The airport is served by Tulsa Transit bus 203, west toward downtown and south toward Memorial and 31st.

American Airlines Maintenance Facility

TUL is the headquarters for all Maintenance and Engineering activities at American Airlines worldwide, [lower-alpha 1] and is the maintenance base for the airline's fleet of Airbus A320, MD-80, Boeing 757, and Boeing 737 and some Boeing 767 aircraft – a combined total of nearly 600 airplanes. It employs over 5,000 people, with the majority as licensed aircraft and jet engine mechanics. According to the company, it is one of the largest private employers in Oklahoma. [6]

While many other major domestic airlines (e.g., United, Northwest and US Air) were closing their maintenance facilities and outsourcing the work to major contractors in the early 2000s, American consolidated these activities at the MRO. The airline vowed to make the center as cost-effective as private centers and attract some of this work from other airlines as well. AA won major cost concessions from its own employees, pledged to relocate all its Boeing 737 heavy maintenance work to Tulsa, along with its work on the GE CFM-56 engine work. It also contains a wheel-and-brake overhaul facility and composite repair center. [31] AA received $22 million in funding from Tulsa's Vision 2025 program that helped it buy machines, tooling and test equipment that only original-equipment manufacturers previously had. This funding helped it get contracts for maintenance work from Synergy Aerospace for F100 aircraft; Aeroserve, for JT8 engine work; GE Aviation Materials, for work on CF6-80 engines; Omni Air International and Vulcan Flight Management for work on Boeing 757 aircraft; and Aero Union for work on A300 landing gear. [31]

The MRO occupies about 260 acres (1.1 km2) and 3,300,000 square feet (310,000 m2) of maintenance "plant" at the Tulsa Airport. Each year, the base performs major overhaul work on about 80% of American's fleet. It also does aircraft maintenance for other carriers on a contract basis. [6]

Lufthansa Technik Component Services

Lufthansa Technik Component Services LLC (LTCS), a subsidiary of Lufthansa Technik AG, is headquartered at Tulsa Airport. LTCS provides maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services to airlines. The Tulsa location includes the departments of Production and Product Development Engineering, the department of Finance and Controlling as well as Human Resources Management, Strategic Purchasing and a Customer Service team. The workshops and various department occupy an area of 72,000 square feet (6,700 m2). [32]

Airlines and destinations


Allegiant Air Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orlando/Sanford
Seasonal: Destin/Fort Walton Beach, St. Petersburg/Clearwater
American Airlines Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Salt Lake City
Frontier Airlines Denver
Seasonal: Orlando
Southwest Airlines Dallas–Love, Denver, Houston–Hobby, Las Vegas, Phoenix–Sky Harbor, St. Louis
Seasonal: Orlando
United Airlines Chicago–O'Hare, Denver, Houston–Intercontinental


Ameriflight Dallas/Fort Worth
DHL Aviation Austin, Cincinnati
FedEx Express Fort Worth/Alliance, Memphis, Oklahoma City
UPS Airlines Louisville, Oklahoma City, Ontario


Top 10 Destination Airports

Busiest domestic routes from TUL
(March 2018 – February 2019)
1 Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas 289,000American
2 Denver, Colorado 193,000Southwest, United, Frontier
3 Atlanta, Georgia 149,000Delta
4 Houston–Intercontinental, Texas 127,000United
5 Dallas–Love, Texas 126,000Southwest
6 Houston–Hobby, Texas 98,000Southwest
7 Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois 98,000American, United
8 St. Louis, Missouri 71,000Southwest
9 Charlotte, North Carolina 67,000American
10 Phoenix–Sky Harbor, Arizona 62,000Southwest

Annual traffic

Annual passenger traffic (enplaned + deplaned) at Tulsa International Airport
(2007 thru 2019)
2019544,041 (end of March 2019)

Airport management

The Tulsa Airports Improvement Trust (TAIT) is tasked with financing, developing and maintaining Tulsa International Airport and R.L. Jones, Jr. Airport. TAIT also manages the Okmulgee Regional Airport in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, further to the south of Tulsa. [35] [36] TAIT is independent of the city, but all board members are appointed by the Mayor of Tulsa and confirmed by the City Council.

Industrial Land Development

Tulsa Airport Authority, in 2008, has begun a new Industrial Land Development project. Aerospace is one of the Oklahoma's largest industry clusters with 400 companies that directly or indirectly employ more than 143,000 people with a payroll of $4.7 billion and an industrial output of $11.7 billion. Tulsa is ranked 8th nationally for the size of its aerospace engines manufacturing cluster and 20th for its defense-related cluster.

TUL's central location in the south is easily accessible by a multi-modal transportation network. With a total of 4,000 acres (16 km2) and 14,000 on-airport employees, Tulsa is a large center of aviation activity. Six sites totaling over 700 acres (2.8 km2) of real estate will be developed. Each of the sites can be divided into smaller lots to meet any organization's individual needs. [37]

HP Enterprise Services Building

This is HP's Penguin at the Tulsa Airport HP Tulsa Penguin.jpg
This is HP's Penguin at the Tulsa Airport

The HP Enterprise Services (formerly EDS) Building hosting some of Sabre's datacenter servers is located at the Tulsa Airport. The company applied a reflective material on the roof to reduce heat gain, thereby reducing the air conditioning power consumption. [38] In front of this building is a 6-foot sculptured penguin, given to the company as part of a local art campaign by the Tulsa Zoo.


  1. American Airlines uses the acronym MRO to designate this facility. [31]

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The Indian Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) industry was worth USD 800 million in 2011 and is expected to grow to over USD 1.5 billion by 2020. However, currently India constitutes 1 percent of the global MRO market worth USD 45 billion. The measured steps that the Indian government has taken in moving towards the open sky policy, increase in military, civil and business aircraft fleet in the country, the growing preference for air travel by India’s largely underserved middle class, and the focus by industry to optimise cost of aircraft operations, provides a strong foundation for the Indian MRO industry to strengthen its capability to meet global standards of excellence. Setting up an MRO is highly capital intensive with a long break-even time. Operating a credible MRO is highly dependent on investing in the right manpower which is regularly trained and optimally utilised with a strong focus on quality and turnaround time. It also requires continuous investment in tooling, certification from safety regulators such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and global OEMs such as Airbus, Bell Helicopter, Boeing, Bombardier Aerospace, Dassault Aviation, Gulfstream Aerospace, Honeywell and others, in addition to certification from the local regulator in order to stay relevant in today’s competitive global environment.

Delta TechOps

Delta TechOps is the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) division of Delta Air Lines, and is headquartered at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL) in Atlanta, Georgia. With more than 9,600 Technical Operations employees and 51 maintenance stations worldwide, Delta TechOps is a full-service maintenance provider for the more than 750 aircraft that make up the Delta Air Lines fleet. In addition to maintaining the Delta Air Lines fleet, Delta TechOps also provides MRO solutions and support to more than 150 third-party operators around the world, making it the largest airline MRO provider in North America and the third largest worldwide.


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  2. [ dead link ]
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  4. 1 2 3 Cantrell, Charles (July 14, 2008). "City and Airport Long Time Partnership Continues". GTR Newspapers. Retrieved July 14, 2008.
  5. 1 2 138th Fighter Wing, Oklahoma Air National Guard – History. Accessed January 27, 2011. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 19, 2011. Retrieved January 27, 2011.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  6. 1 2 3 "American Airlines Group Website. April 2014. Accessed July 27, 2014". Archived from the original on April 24, 2014.
  7. John Pike. "Air Force Plant 3 - Tulsa, OK".
  8. 1 2 Spirit AeroSystems
  9. "ICBus - IC Bus - Leading School Bus Manufacturer". Archived from the original on January 31, 2011. Retrieved January 27, 2011.
  10. Thoburn, Joseph & Wright, Muriel. Oklahoma A History of The State and Its People, Vol. 4, Page 461
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PD-icon.svg This article incorporates  public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/ .