Will Rogers World Airport

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Will Rogers World Airport
Will Rogers World Airport - Oklahoma.jpg
2006 USGS Orthophoto
Airport typePublic
OwnerOklahoma City Airport Trust
OperatorOklahoma City Department of Airports
ServesOklahoma City, Oklahoma
LocationOklahoma City
Elevation AMSL1,295 ft / 395 m
Coordinates35°23′35″N 097°36′03″W / 35.39306°N 97.60083°W / 35.39306; -97.60083
KOKC is located in Oklahoma
Location of Will Rogers World Airport
Statistics (2012)
Aircraft operations130,816
Source: Will Rogers World Airport[1]
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Will Rogers World Airport
Will Rogers World Airport - Oklahoma.jpg
2006 USGS Orthophoto
Airport typePublic
OwnerOklahoma City Airport Trust
OperatorOklahoma City Department of Airports
ServesOklahoma City, Oklahoma
LocationOklahoma City
Elevation AMSL1,295 ft / 395 m
Coordinates35°23′35″N 097°36′03″W / 35.39306°N 97.60083°W / 35.39306; -97.60083
KOKC is located in Oklahoma
Location of Will Rogers World Airport
Statistics (2012)
Aircraft operations130,816
Source: Will Rogers World Airport[1]

Will Rogers World Airport (IATA: OKCICAO: KOKCFAA LID: 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 busiest cargo airport in terms of pounds of cargo carried, with over 68.5 million pounds of cargo carried in 2010.[1]


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.

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 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]


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]

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]


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]

Café OklahomaFood/BeveragesTicket Lobby
CNBC News Express OKCNews/RetailTicket Lobby
Pop's (East)RetailCentral Concourse
SonicRestaurantCentral Concourse Food Court
Moe's Southwest GrillRestaurantCentral Concourse Food Court
The Salt Lick Bar-B-QueRestaurantCentral Concourse Food Court
Schlotzsky'sRestaurantCentral Concourse Food Court
The Coffee Bean & Tea LeafCoffee/Tea ShopCentral Concourse
Bar 1907Pub/LoungeCentral Concourse between Gates 18 & 20
CNBC News Oklahoma CityNews/RetailCentral Concourse
EA SportsRetailCentral Concourse
Bricktown SquareRetailWest Concourse
Pop's (West)RetailWest Concourse
Brighton CollectiblesRetailWest Concourse
InMotion EntertainmentRetailWest Concourse
Redbud BarPub/LoungeWest Concourse
Route 66 GrilleRestaurantWest Concourse
Java Dave's CoffeeCoffee ShopWest Concourse

Airlines and destinations[edit]

AirTran Airways operated by Southwest AirlinesAtlanta, Chicago-Midway (ends March 7, 2014)Central
Allegiant AirOrlando-SanfordWest
American AirlinesDallas/Fort WorthWest
American Connection operated by Chautauqua AirlinesChicago-O’HareWest
American Eagle operated by EnvoyChicago-O’Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los AngelesWest
American Eagle operated by ExpressJetDallas/Fort WorthWest
Delta Air LinesAtlantaCentral
Delta Connection operated by Compass AirlinesDetroit, Minneapolis/St. PaulCentral
Delta Connection operated by Endeavor AirAtlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Salt Lake CityCentral
Delta Connection operated by ExpressJetAtlanta, DetroitCentral
Delta Connection operated by Shuttle AmericaDetroitCentral
Delta Connection operated by SkyWest AirlinesMinneapolis/St. Paul, Salt Lake CityCentral
Frontier AirlinesDenverWest
Southwest AirlinesBaltimore, Chicago–Midway (resumes March 8, 2014), Dallas-Love, Denver, Houston–Hobby, Las Vegas, Phoenix, St. LouisCentral
United AirlinesDenver, Houston-IntercontinentalWest
United Express operated by ExpressJetChicago–O'Hare, Cleveland, Denver, Houston–Intercontinental, NewarkWest
United Express operated by GoJet AirlinesChicago–O’Hare, Washington–DullesWest
United Express operated by Mesa AirlinesChicago–O'Hare, Washington–DullesWest
United Express operated by Republic AirlinesDenverWest
United Express operated by SkyWest AirlinesChicago–O’Hare, Denver, Houston–Intercontinental, Los Angeles, San FranciscoWest
United Express operated by Trans States AirlinesChicago-O’Hare, Houston–IntercontinentalWest

Charter Airlines[edit]

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]

Top domestic destinations (November 2012-October 2013 vs. November 2011-October 2012)[11]
(ending Oct 2013)
(ending Oct 2012)
1Dallas, Texas (DFW)280,000285,000-5,000American
2Denver, Colorado252,000271,000-19,000Frontier, Southwest, United
3Atlanta, Georgia154,000145,000+9,000Delta
4Houston, Texas (IAH)154,000139,000+15,000United
5Chicago, Illinois (ORD)120,000134,000-14,000American, United
6Houston, Texas (HOU)119,000117,000+2,000Southwest
7Dallas, Texas (DAL)87,00093,000-6,000Southwest
8Las Vegas, Nevada76,00075,000+1,000Southwest
9Phoenix, Arizona64,00067,000-3,000Southwest
10Los Angeles, California60,00051,000+9,000American, United

Cargo and other civilian operations[edit]

Cargo airlines[edit]

AmeriflightDallas/Fort Worth, Wichita
FedEx ExpressMemphis, Tulsa
MartinaireDallas/Fort Worth, Woodward
UPS AirlinesLittle 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]

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.[12]

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.


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:

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.[13]

The airport operates three surface parking lots on the grounds of WRWA.[14]

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.[15] 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.[16][17] 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.[18]

Will Rogers World Airport is home to Metro Technology Center's Aviation Career Campus.[19] 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.[20] 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.[21] The organization is led by Director Mark Kranenburg.[21]

See also[edit]


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

  1. ^ a b c WRWA Statistics
  2. ^ Gensler Annual Report 2006
  3. ^ a b c 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. ^ a b c 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". OKC Biz. Retrieved August 10, 2008. 
  11. ^ "Oklahoma City, OK: Oklahoma City Will Rogers World Airport (OKC)". Bureau of Transportation Statistics. January 14, 2012. Retrieved January 26, 2012. 
  12. ^ Rental Cars, Flyokc.com. (accessed October 8, 2013)
  13. ^ Parking Garage Construction Release
  14. ^ http://www.flyokc.com/Rates.aspx
  15. ^ "Air National Guard Units Listing." Retrieved on March 11, 2012.
  16. ^ http://ebird.osd.mil/ebfiles/e20130522923067.html
  17. ^ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/137th_Air_Refueling_Wing#Current_status
  18. ^ ARINC Will Double Its Aircraft Service Center at OKC With a Second Commercial Hangar
  19. ^ Aviation Career Campus, Metrotech.org. (accessed October 8, 2013)
  20. ^ Ninety Nines Museum of Women Pilots (accessed October 8, 2013)
  21. ^ a b Airports, City of Oklahoma City. (accessed October 8, 2013)

External links[edit]