Will Rogers World Airport

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Will Rogers World Airport
Will Rogers World Airport - Oklahoma.jpg
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 (2014)
Passengers 3.83 Million
Aircraft operations 130,816
Source: Will Rogers World Airport[1]

Will Rogers World Airport (IATA: OKCICAO: KOKCFAA LID: OKC) (Will Rogers Airport or simply Will Rogers) is in southwestern Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 6 miles (8 km) from downtown on about 8,100 acres of land. It is a civil-military airport and is the main commercial airport of the area. The local airport authority, citizens, and news organizations commonly refer to the airport as "WRWA", but the official codes are OKC and KOKC.

The airport is named for comedian and legendary cowboy Will Rogers, an Oklahoma native who died in an airplane crash. The city's other major airport, Wiley Post Airport, and Wiley Post–Will Rogers Memorial Airport in Barrow, Alaska, are named for Wiley Post, who died in the same crash near Barrow in 1935. Will Rogers World Airport is the only airport to use the designation "World" with no reference to its city location. It offers some customs and immigration services, but has no international flights.

In 2014, the airport handled 3.83 million passengers, an increase of nearly 5 percent from 2013.[2] Southwest Airlines carries the most passengers in and out of Will Rogers World Airport at 33.6%.[3]


World War II[edit]

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.

The April 1957 OAG shows 21 departures a day on Braniff, 15 on American, 5 Central, 4 Continental and 3 TWA. A TWA Constellation flew nonstop to Los Angeles but eastward nonstops didn't reach beyond Wichita, Tulsa and Dallas (OKC didn't get a Chicago nonstop until 1966).

Crash and terminal replacement[edit]

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 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.

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,[4] began in 2001.[5] 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.[5] 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.[5] 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.

During 2012 the Phase III expansion plan was updated to include a new Central Concourse reconfiguration plan. As of 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.[6]


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. Customs and Border Patrol Cessna Citation crashed during landing at Will Rogers Airport.[7]

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.[8] 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.[9]

The airport used to partner with Tinker AFB in presenting the Aerospace America airshow.[10]

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 use the Wiley Post Airport, Oklahoma City's FAA-designated reliever facility.

Lariat Landing[edit]

Lariat Landing is a new development on the east side of the airport grounds that encompasses 1,000 acres.[11] 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, 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.[11]

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.[11]

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]


Will Rogers World Airport has one terminal with 17 gates on 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.

The architecture uses native stone along with loft-ceilings, plate glass and brushed metal. Compared to the old concourses, the improvements provide a more open feel to the terminal waiting areas that is like that of larger hub airports.

In 2008, Will Rogers World Airport officials approved a contract with Frankfurt Short Bruza Associates to begin planning for expansion.[12] Officials postponed the expansion plan because of the industry-wide decline in passenger traffic. If completed, the existing terminal building would expand to the east and include a new passenger concourse with nine gates (the "International Concourse"), which would increase the number of boarding gates to 26. The new facility would have immigration and customs on the lower level and would serve international flights.


Store Type Location
Café Oklahoma Restaurant Ticket Lobby
CNBC News Express OKC News/Retail Ticket Lobby
Pop's (East) Retail Central Concourse
Sonic Restaurant Central Concourse Food Court
Moe's Southwest Grill Restaurant Central Concourse Food Court
The Salt Lick Bar-B-Que Restaurant Central Concourse Food Court
Schlotzsky's Restaurant Central Concourse Food Court
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Coffee/Tea Shop 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]

Airlines Destinations Terminal
Alaska Airlines
operated by SkyWest Airlines
Seattle/Tacoma (begins July 1, 2015) West
Allegiant Air Seasonal: Orlando/Sanford West
American Airlines Dallas/Fort Worth West
American Eagle Chicago–O’Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles West
Delta Air Lines Atlanta
Seasonal Detroit
Delta Connection Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Salt Lake City Central
Southwest Airlines Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago–Midway, Dallas–Love, Denver, Houston–Hobby, Las Vegas, Phoenix, St. Louis Central
United Airlines Chicago–O’Hare (begins May 6, 2015), Denver, Houston–Intercontinental West
United Express Chicago–O’Hare, Denver, Houston–Intercontinental, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington–Dulles
Seasonal: Newark
US Airways Express Charlotte West

Busiest routes[edit]

Top domestic destinations (November 2013-October 2014 vs. November 2012-October 2013)[3]
Rank Airport Passengers
(ending Oct 2014)
(ending Oct 2013)
Change Carriers
1 Dallas, Texas (DFW) 295,000 280,000 +15,000 American
2 Denver, Colorado 265,000 252,000 +13,000 Frontier, Southwest, United
3 Atlanta, Georgia 242,000 154,000 +88,000 Delta, Southwest
4 Houston, Texas (IAH) 161,000 154,000 +7,000 United
5 Houston, Texas (HOU) 122,000 119,000 +3,000 Southwest
6 Chicago, Illinois (ORD) 111,000 120,000 -9,000 American, United
7 Dallas, Texas (DAL) 81,000 87,000 -6,000 Southwest
8 Las Vegas, Nevada 80,000 76,000 +4,000 Southwest
9 Phoenix, Arizona 69,000 64,000 +5,000 Southwest
10 Los Angeles, California 49,000 60,000 -11,000 American, United

Cargo and other civil operations[edit]

Cargo airlines[edit]

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]

Ground transportation[edit]

A number of companies offer taxi and shuttle service 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]

As for public transit, Embark (405-235-7433), the City of Oklahoma City's public bus system, currently does not serve the airport.


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]

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]

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]


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

  1. ^ WRWA Statistics
  2. ^ Monies, Paul (January 15, 2015). "Will Rogers World Airport posts record passenger year". newsok.com. Retrieved January 17, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "Oklahoma City, OK: Oklahoma City Will Rogers World Airport (OKC)". Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Retrieved January 17, 2015. 
  4. ^ Gensler Annual Report 2006
  5. ^ a b c Will Rogers World Airport Expansion Project, Oklahoma, United States of America - Airport Technology
  6. ^ Will Rogers World Airport Phase III Terminal and Concourse Expansion Study
  7. ^ Wells, Jesse. Small plane crashes at Will Rogers World Airport, KFOR.com, December 21, 2012 (accessed October 8, 2013)
  8. ^ http://www.srh.noaa.gov/oun/?n=events-20130531
  9. ^ http://www.okctalk.com/transportation/24320-parking-spot-coming-will-rogers-airport-3.html#post673478
  10. ^ Aerospace America (October 8, 2013)
  11. ^ a b c WRWA Land Development Program, Flyokc.com. (accessed October 7, 2013)
  12. ^ Brickman, Stefanie (July 23, 2008). "Airport Trust Votes to Approve Contract to Expand Oklahoma City’s Will Rogers World Airport". OKC Biz. Retrieved August 10, 2008. 
  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. ^ 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. ^ a b Airports, City of Oklahoma City. (accessed October 8, 2013)

External links[edit]