Tulsa International Airport
Tulsa International Airport was first established as the Tulsa Municipal Airport near the end of the 1920s. A local aviation enthusiast and businessman named William G. Skelly organized the Tulsa Airport Corporation in 1928 along with a handful of other prominent, local businessmen. This group was joined by 42 wealthy Tulsans in supplying the capital to purchase land and construct a modern, metropolitan airport. The group purchased 390 acres of land, and it built a makeshift terminal facility that contained administrative offices, as well as a passenger waiting area. Official dedication of the airport occurred on July 3, 1928. Later that day, the city’s first air mail route was initiated when a man by the name of Earl Rockwood flew from the facility with 185 pounds of mail.
History of the Airport
The airport was purchased by the city of Tulsa in 1929, at which point it was named Tulsa Municipal Airport. Although the terminal was little more than a temporary warehouse, and the airport’s runways consisted of paths cut through grass, the burgeoning airport was able to claim with accuracy that it was the busiest airport in the world in 1930. This claim was backed up by the fact that the facility was able to handle more than 7,300 passengers during the month of February, thus outpacing passenger levels at some of the world’s most notable airports.
A new, Art Deco-style terminal was constructed in 1932. The terminal was designed to be futuristic-looking in order to embody the exciting spirit of flight. Its interior was decorated with stunning photographs depicting images associated with early aviation. The terminal also featured a control tower that occupied its upper levels. This terminal served the airport for 30 years. In 1958, construction began on the current terminal building. This new building was finally completed in November of 1961. Two years later, the facility incorporated international operations. As a result, the airport was renamed Tulsa International Airport.
The terminal facilities at Tulsa International Airport underwent major renovations beginning in 2010. Most of the improvements focused on Concourse B. From September, 2010, until January, 2012, workers replaced HVAC components, installed skylights, raised ceilings and improved waiting areas for passengers. Additionally, crews were able to incorporate redesigns of gate areas for an improved passenger experience.
Tulsa International Airport uses three paved runways. The main runway is situated at an orientation of 18L/36R, and it is 9,999 feet long. It is also 200 feet wide. A 6,101-foot runway is situated alongside the 18L/36R runway, but it is oriented in the opposite direction at 18R/36L. This runway is 150 feet long. The third runway is 7,376 feet long and 150 feet wide. This runway is oriented at a direction of 8/26. Runways 18L/36R and 8/26 are paved with concrete, while runway 18R/36L is paved with asphalt. All runways are served by a modern Instrument Landing System, or ILS.
During the calendar year of 2011, Tulsa International Airport handled more than 106,000 total aircraft operations. On average, the airport handled 292 operations each day. 30% of operations were undertaken by commercial flights. Air taxi flights, general aviation operations, and military flights were responsible for the remaining operations.
Parking at Tulsa Airport
A number of parking options are available at Tulsa International Airport. Hourly and reserved parking are available in the facility’s parking garage, which is located near the terminal building. Economy parking is offered in a large lot adjacent to Highway 11. A cell phone waiting lot is also offered for motorists arriving at the facility to pick up arriving passengers. The airport also features a curbside valet service.
Airlines Serving Tulsa Airport
Southwest Airlines is the busiest passenger carrier at Tulsa International Airport (TUL), transporting 968,000 passengers each year for 36.32 percent of the airport’s passenger market share. The airline offers non-stop flights to six of TUL’s 10 most popular destinations: Dallas’ Love Field Airport, Denver, Houston’s Hobby Airport, Las Vegas, Phoenix and St. Louis. Increasing its presence at TUL, the airline adds service to Chicago’s Midway Airport in 2013. The airline uses Concourse B for its departing flights.
As the second most popular TUL airline, American Airlines serves more than 600,000 TUL passengers annually, giving it more than 22 percent of the airport’s market share. The airline is the only carrier to offer non-stop flights to TUL’s most popular destination of Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW). Each year, the airline transports nearly 300,000 passengers to DFW. American also offers non-stop service to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport and, seasonally, to Miami. The carrier uses TUL’s Concourse A for its departing flights.
Serving passengers isn’t American’s only presence at TUL, however. The company also operates its 3.3-million-square-foot Maintenance and Engineering Center at TUL to perform maintenance and overhauls on its worldwide fleet of aircraft. The state-of-the-art facility employs more than 6,000 aircraft and jet engine mechanics and associated technicians.
ExpressJet is the third largest passenger carrier at TUL, serving 338,000 passengers, or 12.69 percent, each year. It operates at TUL’s Concourse A as Delta Connection to Atlanta, Detroit, and Memphis, Tenn. As United Express it serves Chicago-O’Hare; Houston-Intercontinental; Newark, N.J.; and Washington-Dulles from Concourse B.
Pinnacle Airlines and SkyWest are tied for fourth place, each serving 115,000 passengers annually. Pinnacle flies as Delta Connection to Atlanta, Detroit, Memphis and Minneapolis/St. Paul out of Concourse A. SkyWest operates as Delta Connection at Concourse A, flying to Salt Lake City. SkyWest also provides flights to Chicago-O’Hare, Denver, and Los Angeles as United Express.
Nearly 20 percent of TUL’s passengers choose other airlines, such as American Eagle and United Airlines. American Eagle flies to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport and United Airlines offers routes to Denver and Houston-Intercontinental.
While Dallas/Fort Worth is the most popular flight destination from TUL with 285,000 passengers each year, flights to Denver are enjoyed by about 165,000 people annually. Other top destinations from TUL include Dallas Love Field Airport, Houston-Intercontinental, Houston-Hobby, Chicago, Atlanta, Phoenix, St. Louis, and Las Vegas.