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ROUTES: DFW taking a 'rifle' approach to new routes

Dallas/Fort Worth International airport has adopted a "rifle" approach to attracting a select number of routes, as opposed to the "shotgun" strategy it previously pursued.

Speaking to FlightGlobal at World Routes today, the US airport's executive vice-president of global strategy and development John Ackerman said it was being "very selective in [the] new routes that we are targeting" and seeking services that "make sense quantitatively".

In 2010, Ackerman recalls, "there were dozens of different opportunities so you can use a shotgun approach". But in 2017, "I can probably count the opportunities that we think make sense, definitely on two hands, maybe on one hand, over the next couple of years".

Ackerman says DFW now organises quarterly meetings with airlines to review each route's performance. "By doing that we can identify routes that are beginning to suffer and then we devote marketing resources to help those routes."

He admits: "We have been guilty of this in the past –of chasing new service, [but] once you get that service you're on to the next airline. We've really changed our mindset."

That said, the Texan airport sees new opportunities to grow its network, especially to Europe with cities such as Barcelona, Dublin, Dusseldorf and Munich.

DFW's largest airline is American Airlines. Ackerman says the network carrier accounts for 80% of operations at the gateway. He sees further opportunities for the airline to leverage the airport's position as a gateway between Latin America and Asia and to further develop US domestic routes.

Commenting on the presence of both Wow Air and Icelandair on the route to Reykjavik, Ackerman says competition will be "tough" and "whether there is enough stimulation to satisfy two carriers is an open question". But he points out that they have managed to stimulate other US markets in the past.

American Airlines has added Rome and Amsterdam this year, and Ackerman believes the carrier is "very pleased with" the performance of both.

Seasonal services to Rio de Janeiro are to resume with American later this year following a two-year hiatus.

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