Local government and business leaders gathered Thursday to celebrate the renaming of the world’s first fully industrial airport.
Fort Worth’s Alliance Airport was officially renamed Perot Field Fort Worth Alliance Airport in honor of businessman and philanthropist H. Ross Perot Sr.. The airport also unveiled its new, highly amenitized fixed-based operation facility.
Perot founded the airport in the late 1980s in partnership with the city of Fort Worth and the Federal Aviation Administration. It was an unprecedented public-private partnership that became the foundation for today’s 27,000-acre master-planned community AllianceTexas.
The Fort Worth City Council voted unanimously to change the airport’s name back in June, and the FAA went on to approve the change in the months that followed. “Mr. Perot predicted a destination for the jobs of tomorrow and an economic engine for generations to come,” said Hillwood President Michael Berry at the event. Hillwood is a Perot company that develops and manages AllianceTexas.
The new FBO attached to 68,000 square feet of hangar space includes 20,000 square feet of lounges and meeting facilities. The airport will also recognize Perot’s legacy with an upgraded green space outside the airport. Perot Plaza will feature a bronze statue of Perot to be completed over the next year, Berry said.
“At the time we began construction of the airport, Mr. Perot said the following: ‘Go back in history. Many of the great cities grew up around ports. The great cities of the 21st century will be built around airports,’” Berry said. “For a young development team, he encouraged us to think boldly, reach out to potential customers to sell the idea and vision and to not be afraid to make a mistake.”
Building an industrial airport in the middle of an upper prairie was a bold idea for its time, Berry said. Perot’s gamble paid off throughout the next three decades. Today, AllianceTexas is home to over 560 companies employing more than 66,000 people, Berry said.
Since 1989, the North Fort Worth community has brought nearly $3.4 billion in taxes to the local government and had an economic impact of more than $111 billion dollars, Berry said.
“AllianceTexas has proven to be a modern day, Texas-size success story, encapsulating the pioneering and can-do spirit so often associated with this state,” said Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker. “Hillwood drives innovative economic growth, with a focus on sustainability, its commitment to communities and a belief that we should all leave the world better than we found it.”
Meanwhile, through public partnership, the FAA has helped construct and extend the airport’s two runways to 11,000 feet with the supply of over $310 million in federal funding, said Ignacio Flores, the FAA’s director of the office of airports for the southwest region.
The increased capacity allowed a significant cargo operator, Amazon, to operate its regional hub. It is the 20th busiest cargo airport in the country, Flores said.
“What an amazing, emotional day,” H. Ross Perot Jr. said. “Think about where we are, where we started, and this amazing team that came together to make this work.”
“I miss Ross Sr.,” former FAA administrator T. Allan McCartor said at the event. “What a fitting tribute to now celebrate Perot Field. It’s a reminder of creativity, precision execution, and incredible business generation. I tell young people that I mentor, “Have the courage to bet on your own ideas, and I tell them the story of Alliance Airport.’”