Will Rogers World Airport

Last updated

Will Rogers World Airport
Will Rogers World Airport - Oklahoma.jpg
2006 USGS Orthophoto
Airport typePublic
OwnerOklahoma City Airport Trust
OperatorOklahoma City Department of Airports
Serves Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Location Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S.
Elevation  AMSL 1,295 ft / 395 m
Coordinates 35°23′35″N097°36′03″W / 35.39306°N 97.60083°W / 35.39306; -97.60083
Website flyokc.com
USA Oklahoma location map.svg
Airplane silhouette.svg
Location of airport in Oklahoma / United States
Usa edcp relief location map.png
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OKC (the United States)
Direction LengthSurface
Statistics (2018)
Total passengers4,341,159
Aircraft operations118,018
Source: Will Rogers World Airport [1]

Will Rogers World Airport( IATA : OKC, ICAO : KOKC, FAA LID : OKC), a.k.a.Will Rogers Airport or simply Will Rogers, is an American passenger airport in Oklahoma City located about 6 miles (8 km) Southwest of downtown Oklahoma City. It is a civil-military airport on 8,081 acres (3,270 ha) of land. [2] Although the official IATA and ICAO airport codes for Will Rogers World Airport are OKC and KOKC, it is common practice to refer to it as "WRWA" or "Will Rogers".

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 airport is named for comedian and legendary cowboy Will Rogers, an Oklahoma native who died in an airplane crash near Barrow, Alaska in 1935. [3] The city's other major airport, Wiley Post Airport, along with the Wiley Post–Will Rogers Memorial Airport in Barrow, Alaska, are named for Wiley Post, who also died in the same crash. Will Rogers World Airport is the only airport to use the designation "World" in addition to no reference to its city location. Although Will Rogers offers US Customs and Immigration Services, there are currently no scheduled international flights.

Will Rogers American humorist and entertainer

William Penn Adair Rogers was an American stage and motion picture actor, vaudeville performer, cowboy, humorist, newspaper columnist, and social commentator from Oklahoma. He was a Cherokee citizen born in the Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory.

Wiley Post Airport airport in Oklahoma, United States of America

Wiley Post Airport is a city-owned public-use airport located seven nautical miles (13 km) northwest of the central business district of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Wiley Post–Will Rogers Memorial Airport airport in Alaska, United States of America

Wiley Post–Will Rogers Memorial Airport, often referred to as Post/Rogers Memorial is a public airport located in Utqiagvik, the largest city and borough seat of the North Slope Borough of the U.S. state of Alaska. The airport is owned by the state. Situated on the Chukchi Sea at a latitude of 71.29°N, the airport is the farthest north of any in US territory. The airport is named after American humorist Will Rogers and aviator Wiley Post, both of whom died about 9 mi (14 km) away at Point Barrow in a 1935 airplane crash.

Will Rogers World Airport is the busiest commercial airport in the state of Oklahoma. In 2018, the airport handled 4.34 million passengers, marking the busiest year on record two years in a row. [4] Southwest Airlines carries the most passengers at Will Rogers World Airport, with a market share of nearly 38% as of December 2018. [5]

Southwest Airlines Co. is a major American airline headquartered in Dallas, Texas, and is the world's largest low-cost carrier.

History of Rogers World Airport

The airport first opened in 1911 as Oklahoma City Municipal Airfield. It was renamed in Rogers' honor in 1941. [6]

World War II

World War II postcard from Will Rogers Army Airfield Will Rogers Army Airfield - Postcard.jpg
World War II postcard from Will Rogers Army Airfield

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.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

United States Army Air Forces aerial warfare branch of the United States army from 1941 to 1947

The United States Army Air Forces, informally known as the Air Force, or United States Army Air Force, was the aerial warfare service component of the United States Army during and immediately after World War II (1939/41–1945), successor to the previous United States Army Air Corps and the direct predecessor of the United States Air Force of today, one of the five uniformed military services. The AAF was a component of the United States Army, which in 1942 was divided functionally by executive order into three autonomous forces: the Army Ground Forces, the Services of Supply, and the Army Air Forces. Each of these forces had a commanding general who reported directly to the Army Chief of Staff.


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

The April 1957 OAG showed 21 daily non-stop departures on Braniff International Airways, 15 on American Airlines, 5 on Central Airlines, 4 on Continental Airlines and 3 on TWA. A TWA Constellation aircraft flew non-stop from Oklahoma City to Los Angeles but eastward non-stops didn't reach beyond Wichita, Kansas, Tulsa or Dallas, Texas. Oklahoma City began non-stop flights to Chicago starting in 1966.

Braniff International Airways airline

Braniff Airways, Inc., doing business as Braniff International Airways, from 1948 until 1965, and then Braniff International from 1965 until 1983, was an American airline that operated from 1928 until 1982. Its routes were primarily in the midwestern and southwestern United States, Mexico, Central America, and South America. In the late 1970s it expanded to Asia and Europe. The airline ceased operations in May 1982 because high fuel prices and the Airline Deregulation Act of December 1978 rendered it uncompetitive. Two later airlines used the Braniff name: the Hyatt Hotels-backed Braniff, Inc. in 1984–89, and Braniff International Airlines, Inc. in 1991–92. In early 2015, a series of new Braniff companies were incorporated in the State of Oklahoma, for historical purposes and for administration of the Braniff trademarks, copyrights and other intellectual property. These companies included Braniff Air Lines, Inc., Paul R. Braniff, Inc., Braniff Airways, Inc., Braniff International Hotels, Inc., and Braniff International Corporation. During 2017 and 2018, certain of the original Braniff companies were reinstated for historical purposes and for support of Braniff's intellectual property assets.

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.

Central Airlines 1949-1967 airline

Central Airlines was a passenger airline in Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas from 1949 to 1967. It was founded by Keith Kahle in 1944 to operate charter and fixed base services in Oklahoma and did not begin scheduled flights until September 15, 1949, just before its original certification expired. Central was then headquartered at Meacham Field in Fort Worth, Texas. The airline was eventually acquired by and merged into the original Frontier Airlines (1950-1986) which continued and expanded its network.


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, New Mexico, and Colorado Springs, Colorado and direct or connecting flights to Nashville, Tennessee, St. Louis, Chicago, and Washington. The airline had hoped to reach additional East and West coast markets but declared bankruptcy and ceased operations on January 23, 2004.

On May 31, 2013, an EF-1 tornado hit Will Rogers Airport. The 1.4-mile wide tornado traveled 10.4 miles which includes across the northern side of the airport. 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. [7] The Parking Spot location north of the airport on Meridian Ave was also hit by the tornado. The company decided in August 2013 not to re-open the facility and exit the OKC market. [8]

The airport once partnered with Tinker AFB in presenting Aerospace America airshow. [9]


By the late 1990s the Oklahoma City Airport Trust deemed the 1967-built terminal building unsuitable. 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.

WRWA East Concourse, with a United Airlines Boeing 737 aircraft. Boeing 737 at Oklahoma City airport.jpg
WRWA East Concourse, with a United Airlines Boeing 737 aircraft.

A$110 million multi-phase expansion and renovation project, designed by Atkins Benham Inc. and Gensler and built by Oscar J. Boldt Construction Company, [10] began in 2001. [11] 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. [11] 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. [11] Phase-III project calls for the construction of a new concourse to the east, with at least eight more gates as well as expanded retail, restaurant, and baggage areas.

Will Rogers World Airport has a single three-level terminal with 17 departure gates along the West Concourse (Gates 1–12) and Central Concourse (Gates 14–24). Gates on the south side use even numbers while those on the north use odd. Due to the terminal's layout, certain odd numbers are omitted in the succession of Gates 1 through 24. Arriving passengers can access baggage claim in the downstairs level where there are 9 baggage belts. Level 3 contains offices for airline and airport staff.

The architecture of the current terminal uses native stone along with loft-ceilings, plate glass and brushed metal. Compared to the original terminal design of the old Concourses A and B, today's terminal provides a more open feel similar to that found in larger hub airports.

Terminal expansion

In 2008, Will Rogers World Airport officials approved a contract with Frankfurt Short Bruza Associates to begin planning for expansion. [12] However, officials agreed to postpone the expansion plan due to the industry-wide decline in passenger traffic.

During 2012 the Phase III expansion plan was updated to include a new Central Concourse reconfiguration plan. In 2014, the Airport Trust selected Option 2a, which includes only the central terminal improvements. 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. [13]

In 2015 the airport trust agreed to proceed with the full construction of the East Concourse [14] due to increased congestion in the existing West and Central concourses and passenger demand. When completed, the existing terminal building would to the east and include a new passenger concourse initially with four gates, which would increase the number of boarding gates to 21. The new facility will have customs and immigration on the lower level accessed by the two eastern-most gates and would serve international arrivals. The expansion will incorporate a single TSA screening zone in the center of the existing terminal, the food court will be removed and two reconstructed, and arriving passengers would exit at the current TSA zones which will be dramatically downsized into modern "meeter-greeter areas". The East expansion will include onsite USAA military welcoming facilities, expanded concessions and office space, and an updated terminal lobby.

The new Concourse expansion project will also include an innovative view system composed of an elevated platform and lounge that will allow visitors to walk above the newly expanded East Concourse and view down onto the secure gate areas and out to the airside. Visitors would enter the elevated walkway at the terminal lobby non-secured side. This design is intended to provide visitors the experience of airports of old; where one could walk all the way to the gate – albeit today completely separated from the secured concourse space. The expansion is expected to break ground March 2019 [15] .

If necessary, a final expansion of the existing master plan could be accomplished with construction of the Central Concourse, increasing gate capacity by an additional 10 gates. This would give the terminal a final configuration with three concourses, East, West, and Central and would provide the airport with 30+ gates.

Airlines and destinations


Alaska Airlines Seattle/Tacoma [16]
Allegiant Air Destin/Fort Walton Beach, Las Vegas, Orlando/Sanford
Seasonal: Los Angeles
American Airlines Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami (begins December 18, 2019), [18] Philadelphia, Phoenix–Sky Harbor, Washington–National [19]
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Salt Lake City [20]
Frontier Airlines Denver, Orlando
Seasonal: San Antonio
Southwest Airlines Baltimore, Chicago–Midway, Dallas–Love, Denver, Houston–Hobby, Las Vegas, Nashville, Phoenix–Sky Harbor, St. Louis, Washington–National
Seasonal: Orlando
United Airlines Chicago–O'Hare, Denver, Houston–Intercontinental, Newark, San Francisco, Washington–Dulles [23]


Ameriflight Dallas/Fort Worth, Wichita
FedEx Express Memphis, Tulsa, Boise
Martinaire Dallas/Fort Worth, Woodward
UPS Airlines Little Rock, Louisville, Tulsa, Wichita


Top destinations

Top domestic destinations in 2017 [5]
1 Flag of Texas.svg Dallas, TX; Fort Worth, TX Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) 273,810American
2 Flag of Colorado.svg Denver, CO Denver International (DEN) 222,650Southwest, United
3 Flag of Georgia (U.S. state).svg Atlanta, GA Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta (ATL) 206,770Delta
4 Flag of Texas.svg Houston, TX Houston–Intercontinental (IAH) 152,300United
5 Flag of Texas.svg Houston, TX Houston–Hobby (HOU) 120,140Southwest
6 Flag of Texas.svg Dallas, TX Dallas Love Field (DAL) 112,450Southwest
7 Flag of Illinois.svg Chicago, IL Chicago–O'Hare International (ORD) 110,640American, United
8 Flag of Nevada.svg Las Vegas, NV Las Vegas International (LAS) 90,250Allegiant, Southwest
9 Flag of Arizona.svg Phoenix, AZ Phoenix–Sky Harbor (PHX) 75,950Southwest
10 Flag of Missouri.svg St. Louis, MO Lambert-St. Louis International (STL) 66,990Southwest

Annual traffic

Annual passenger traffic at OKC (enplaned + deplaned) [24]

Ground transportation

Rental car

The airport opened a new Consolidated Rental Car Facility in early 2016, moving all rental services away from the Terminal to a grand facility nearby. Advantage, Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National, and Thrifty rental companies [25] offer service at Will Rogers World Airport. Shuttle buses connect passengers from the arrivals plaza just outside the terminal.


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 provide 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:

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. [26]

The airport operates three surface parking lots on the grounds of WRWA. [27]

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 No. 2, near Lot No. 3, and by the flag plaza north of the long-term shuttle Lot No. 2.

Government and military operations

Will Rogers Air National Guard Base

Will Rogers World Airport is used by military flights of the Oklahoma Air National Guard at Will Rogers Air National Guard Base.

Other facilities

The Federal Aviation Administration Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center is located on the west side of the airport. The Center headquarter's the Civil Aerospace Medical Institute, FAA Academy and Logistics Center.

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 6:30 pm on the grounds of the Oklahoma Air National Guard base on the West side of the field.

The City of Oklahoma City Department of Airports manages Will Rogers World Airport and the other city-owned airports: Wiley Post Airport and Clarence E. Page Airport. [28] The Airport Trust is led by Director Mark Kranenburg. [28]

Businesses and other onsite institutions

Corporate, air taxi

Will Rogers World Airport has a separate terminal facility used by air taxi and corporate service, although most of these flights use the Wiley Post Airport, Oklahoma City's FAA-designated reliever facility.

Maintenance, repair, operations and fixed-base operations

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

ARINC has major facilities on the airport premises, including plans to double the size of their current facility. [29]

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.

Other facilities

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

Will Rogers World Airport is home to Metro Technology Center's Aviation Career Campus. [30] 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. [31] 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.

Lariat Landing

Lariat Landing is a new development on the East side of the airport grounds that encompasses 1,000 acres (400 ha). [32] The development is meant to generate increased non-airline revenue for the airport while still growing air service. The development will be mixed use with nearly half of it, west of Portland Avenue, designated to direct aviation support (with runway access) with an additional portion dedicated to aviation support companies. The remaining portion east of Portland Avenue will be zoned for retail, industrial, and commercial office space. [32]

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. [32]

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 (1.2 m) waterline installation has already been completed.


On March 26, 1939, a Douglas DC-2, registration NC13727, crashed while attempting to return to the airport. The aircraft, operated by Braniff Airways, had just departed when a cylinder on the left engine tore loose from its mounting and caused a tear in the engine cowling. Subsequent drag from the torn cowling resulted in a stall on the wing, and the plane cartwheeled on to the airport grounds, just yards from the safety of the runway. The captain cut the fuel switches just before impact, but misted fuel from the tanks spread over the hot engines, causing a fire. The captain, first officer, and three passengers survived. The flight's hostess and seven passengers, however, perished in the disaster. [33]

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

On December 21, 2012, a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Cessna Citation crashed during landing at Will Rogers Airport. Both occupants survived, one had minor injuries. [34]

On November 15, 2016, a Southwest Airlines employee, Michael Winchester was shot and killed in a parking garage; a 45-year-old suspect, Lloyd Dean Buie, was subsequently found dead of an apparently self-inflicted wound. [35] Winchester was the father of Kansas City Chiefs long snapper James Winchester [36] and himself a former punter and member of the Oklahoma Sooners' 1985 national championship college team. [37]

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Spokane International Airport is a commercial airport approximately 5 miles (8 km) west of downtown Spokane, Washington. It is the primary airport serving the Inland Northwest, which consists of 30 counties and includes areas such as Spokane and the Tri-Cities, both in Eastern Washington, and Coeur d'Alene in North Idaho. The airport's code, GEG, is derived from its airfield's namesake, Major Harold Geiger.

Eppley Airfield airport in Omaha, Nebraska, United States

Eppley Airfield is an international airport three miles northeast of downtown Omaha, Nebraska, in Douglas County, Nebraska, United States. It is the largest airport in Nebraska, serving ten times more passengers than all other Nebraska airports combined.


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