‘Raised The Bar:' Will Rogers World Airport Pushes Closer Toward International Flights

Will Rogers World Airport is all systems go with plans for new destinations for travelers, as a new facility sets up Oklahoma City for international travel.

Thursday, February 22nd 2024, 10:21 pm

By: News 9, Jordan Fremstad


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Will Rogers World Airport is all systems go with plans for new destinations for travelers. 

It's all possible due to forward-thinking by airport leaders. A new facility sets up Oklahoma City for international travel. 

This has been in the works since 2021. They built a customs space a few years ago with the idea that international flights would eventually come to Oklahoma City. 

Public documents can tell a story of careful planning. News 9 obtained documents that show a project for a federal inspection center at Will Rogers World Airport. “We haven’t had this service before,” said Jeff Mulder, director of Airports for Oklahoma City. “It just doesn’t happen overnight.  

WRWA leaders built a space as part of an expansion in 2021 with the idea of turning it into a federal inspection services facility or an FIS. “We wanted to have this kind of service in Oklahoma City,” Mulder said. 

Mulder said, that once final construction on the interior is complete, travelers from other countries will be able to check in to the U.S. from Oklahoma City. Potential destination conversations have already taken off. “Our target is going to be Mexico and the Caribbean, and Central America,” Mulder said. 

In a 2022 city memo – airport leaders tracked more than 150,000 passengers annually traveling to these places “There’s already a pretty good market there,” Mulder said. 

Hispanic Chamber of Commerce CEO David Castillo said Oklahoma City’s Hispanic population continues to grow. He said international flights could make it easier for people to visit family in Mexico. “It’s incredible,” Castillo said. “It’s exciting. We’re happy about it.” 

As the city grows, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber CEO Christy Gillenwater said economic opportunities could elevate to new heights.  “We’re tracking solid growth here,” Gillenwater said. “Direct flights are critical as we look at expanding our economy.” 

A past vision helped point toward a real future of welcoming people from abroad. “Kind of raised the bar for the community,” Mulder said. “We’re just taking advantage of that good planning and taking the next step.” 

Mulder said the customs facility should be finished this year. He hopes to have international flights in 2025. 

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