Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport
history of passenger facilities at FLL.
The original Merle Fogg Field (Ft
Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport) was built over an abandoned
nine-hole golf course and opened on May 1, 1929.
In 1942 the airport was taken
over by the Navy (for pilot training purposes) and was greatly expanded with the
construction of new aprons, barracks, hangars and runways.
On December 5, 1945 the mysterious Flight 19 (comprised of five TBM
Avenger torpedo bombers) took off on a navigational training flight and
disappeared over the Bermuda Triangle. The
aircraft and their 14 crewmembers were never found.
A Martin PBM Mariner with 13 crewmembers was sent out to find Flight 19
and also vanished.
After the cessation of
hostilities the base was returned to Broward County and was transformed into a
general aviation airport. Airline
operations began on June 2, 1953 when Mackey Airlines inaugurated scheduled
service to the Bahamas.
Broward County opened its first permanent passenger terminal in March 1959. The building (situated on the site of todayís Terminal 3)
was a rectangular-shaped, low-rise, concrete and glass structure topped off by a
control tower. The ticket counters
for the five carriers serving FLL were found in the south side of the terminal.
A gift shop, newsstand, lounge and a restaurant were situated within the
north side. A corral along the
terminalís west side served as the departure gate.
The terminalís apron could accommodate four Lockheed L-188 Electra
airliners and all aircraft boarding was done by means of airstairs.
Access to the terminal was via a spur road connected to Federal Highway
Carriers serving FLL at the time included Delta, Eastern, Mackey, National and
Northeast Airlines. A total of
134,773 passengers were transported by the airlines during the terminalís
first year in operation.
An Eastern Airlines Boeing 720 at the 1959 Terminal. Note
the rooftop control tower in the background.
Northeast Airlines introduced the airport to turbojet operations in 1961 when
it placed the Convair 880 on flights to Boston via New York.
Eastern later followed Northeast Airlinesí head start with the Boeing
Traffic at FLL grew by leaps and bounds and by the end of the decade the
airport was handling about one million passengers a year. To manage the rise in
traffic, two ramp-level concourses with 19 gates were completed during the late
1960s and early 1970s. Eastern and Mackey occupied the western concourse while
Delta, National and Northeast Airlines operated from the northern pier.
An evocative late-1960s view of the 1959
During the late 1960s the Civil Aeronautics Board granted Northwest and United
Airlines authority to serve the airport. Northwest
was awarded a route to Minneapolis/St Paul via Chicago and United Airlines
obtained routes to Cleveland and Pittsburgh.
Both carriers shared the ticket counter at the southern end of the
terminal and used the
gates at the western pier.
Wide-body flights were introduced in the early 1970s when Delta, Eastern and
National Airlines started operating airliners like the Lockheed L-1011 and
McDonnell Douglas DC-10 on routes to Atlanta and New York.
Several domestic carriers initiated scheduled service during the decade when
the Civil Aeronautics Board authorized additional service.
Braniff International and Continental were awarded routes from FLL to
Denver; Southern got a route to Orlando, Trans World was granted a route to St
Louis and Western Airlines launched scheduled service to Los Angeles.
In order to handle the escalating traffic, three extensions featuring
upper-level departure lounges and jetways were added to the two concourses.
A new ticketing and baggage claim facility, adjacent to the northern
concourse, was constructed for Delta Airlines.
By the early 1980s the terminal facilities were very congested and rapidly
becoming obsolete. To make matters
even worse deregulation allowed Air Florida, American, North Central, Ozark, Pan
American, Piedmont Airlines and USAir to start serving the airport.
Sometime in the late 1970s or early 1980s, plans were made for a series of Unit
Terminals to be constructed on the site of the 1959 facility.
This was a very difficult undertaking that involved the relocation of
Federal Highway and the adjacent Florida East Coast Railroad tracks.
To make matters even more complicated, all the work had to be carried out
around an active passenger terminal and without disrupting busy airline
Work on the $263-million Project 80s terminals was started in the early 1980s
with the construction of the Palm Garage and Terminal 4 (International
Terminal). This 10-gate facility
opened in 1983 and was visited by the Concorde during its dedication.
Work on the remaining structures began that same year and was slowly completed
in piecemeal phases.
A mid-1990s aerial view of the Project 80s Terminal
When fully finished in 1986 the Project 80s Terminal Complex was comprised of
three modern Unit Terminals, a two-level roadway and a short-term parking
garage. All the terminals were multi-level structures, with arrivals
and departure functions handled on separate levels. The buildings were done in a 1980s straightforward
architectural style similar to the terminals at Orlando International Airport
(1981) and the Southwest Florida Regional Airport (1983).
The facilities were designed to simultaneously handle 39 Boeing 757
airliners with aircraft boarding achieved by means of telescoping-type jetways.
The largest of the three structures was Terminal 3 (Main Terminal), which
was occupied by Eastern Airlines and boasted two concourses with 20 gates. Terminal 2 was exclusively designed for Delta Airlines and
featured 9 gates.
A Braniff International Boeing 727 with Terminal 3 in
For the next 10 years the Project 80ís facilities
were more than sufficient to accommodate the aviation needs of Broward County
and did not require any type of expansion or modification.
In 1986 the terminals handled eight million passengers but by 2000 this
figure had grown to 15.8 million.
Air traffic began to soar in the late 1990s when low-cost carriers began to
choose FLL as a cheaper alternative to Miami International Airport.
In 1996 the celebrated Southwest Airlines began scheduled service with
Boeing 737 flights to Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa.
Spirit Airlines established a hub at Terminal 4 after it moved its
headquarters to FLL in 1999. JetBlue
Airways commenced scheduled service in 2001 with Airbus A-320 flights to John F.
Kennedy International Airport. Proximity
to a thriving cruise ship port (Port Everglades) coupled with impressive growth
in low-cost and international traffic created a need for additional parking and
A 2005 bird's-eye view depicting the
Cypress/Hibiscus Parking Garages and Terminal 1.
In May 2001 Continental, Northwest and Southwest Airlines relocated operations
to Terminal 1 (New Terminal). The
gleaming and spacious building was done in a Postmodern architectural style and
initially added nine gates to the terminal complex.
An accompanying nine-gate concourse was completed in January 2003 and a
third concourse can be added in the future when required.
Two parking garages (Cypress and Hibiscus) were constructed to keep up with the
never-ending demand for parking spaces. The
Hibiscus Parking Garage (located across Terminals 1 and 2) opened in October
1999 with 4,900 parking spaces. The
$247-million Cypress Garage opened in January 2005 and has 4,000 public parking
spaces. The eight-story garage has
four levels dedicated to housing 12 rental car agencies.
Currently Ft Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport is the fastest growing
airport in the United States. During
2012 FLL handled 23.5-million
passengers making the terminal Floridaís third
busiest after Miami and Orlando International Airport.
Twenty-three scheduled carriers serve the
airport with 350 daily flights to 103 worldwide destinations.